Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 30 2014

Airports making a shift to free Wi-Fi

By Jack Euritt

Over the past few years, Wi-Fi has become one of the most prevalent pieces of technology in the world. With the increase in smart phone and technological devices, Wi-Fi has become almost a necessity. Prior to 2007, only 9 of the major airports in the United States offered Wi-Fi, at a cost. Now in 2014, up to 12 of the 30 major airports in the United States offer free Wi-Fi to their customers.

In an effort to improve customer satisfaction there has been a large push to increase the amount of free Wi-Fi in airports.  

Though free Wi-Fi is just starting to blossom, many of the country’s largest airports have already made it available. Airports located in Dallas, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Orlando are a few of the airports which are offering free Wi-Fi.

Surveys have shown that the absence of free Wi-Fi inside airports is a primary complaint among travelers. Below is a chart of all the airports in the United States that offer Wi-Fi.

SEE ALSO: Airport Wi-Fi access chart

The impacts of a switch to free Wi-Fi airports is beneficial to both customers and the airport. Customers will have availability to internet while they wait for their flights. Also, in these free Wi-Fi airports, a customer will not need to worry about the extra fees and terms involved in purchasing a Wi-Fi package. The upside may seem limited strictly to the consumer as free Wi-Fi spots are reportedly causing a loss of nearly 1.5 million dollars annually. At the same time the free Wi-Fi is bringing more attention to airports and increasing traffic.

The promise of free Wi-Fi is a tactic airports are using to create a move enjoyable travel experience. While issues still remain, like over connectivity and slow networks solutions are being explored and the future is bright.

This is just the beginning of a trend that will strike airports throughout the United States. Free Wi-Fi is a new transition that will soon catch in many airports across the country.

2 Comments

  1. 1 Anne Carey, CMP 01 Jul
    What about security? I just saw a program that mentioned that the city of Chicago is offering free WiFi in various places, including airports, and that it is not secure.
    Carey
  2. 2 Bill Reed 01 Jul
    Free WiFi is easy to say for any facility.  Whenever free WiFi is offered, it should also include the following qualifiers to help one understand how good the free WiFi will be:
    --How many users will it accommodate simultaneously?
    --How many access points are there?
    --Where are they located?
    --What is the total bandwidth dedicated to the free service?
    --If the free WiFi is full, what happens?  I bet there is an option to upgrade to a paid WiFi service!

    #thereisnofreelunch

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