May 26, 2005
WiFi at Intercontinental Airport
The good news is that Houston's Intercontinental Airport has joined its rival Hobby in providing WiFi access.
“This service will provide travelers a convenient way to update their laptop communications without having to seek out a special Internet connection,” said Bob White, Bush Intercontinental manager. “There is now an expectation, especially by those with Wi-Fi laptop capabilities, to have Internet access in airports.”
Customers will need a Wi-Fi card or mobile device embedded with Wi-Fi technology in order to take advantage of the service. Users are greeted by the Bush Intercontinental portal page that provides a host of free information, including real-time flight information.
With the Wi-Fi service already available at William P. Hobby Airport, travelers at both of Houston's major airports can use the new high-speed wireless service in most airport public areas, including gates, restaurants, ticketing and baggage claim, at speeds up to 100 times faster than standard dialup.
Cool! So what's the bad news?
Sprint PCS Wi-Fi Access has two available billing options: Pay-As-You-Go access is $9.95 per connection per location for 24 hours of unlimited access; and a new Month-to-Month plan which offers unlimited access for $49.95 per month.
Oof. I'd have to be stuck at the airport for a long time to be willing to fork over ten bucks to surf the web, and I'm a 'net junkie. (I'm also a cheapskate, in case you couldn't tell.) Fifty bucks a month will probably be worth it to the serious road warriors, though. But wake me up when the prices come down. Via blogHOUSTON
Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 26, 2005 to Elsewhere in Houston
For that type of money I'd have to be Tom Hanks' character in "The Terminal". :-)
Don't you think that eventually WiFi will be like televisions in airports? Always free? Like coffee houses that pay a fixed amount per month for music rights. A commodity that brings people into the establishment.
Of course, you could always join the President's Club at Continental Airlines, where the Wifi (and adult beverages) is always free.
Join it? Please. You can just sit outside of it and surf for free.
I think a small charge for Wifi is good (& will keep the network from getting overburdened too quickly) but $10 is highway robbery. It's way out of line with pay services in other locations. Why wouldn't they give the contract to, say, T-Mobile, who charges $30/month, $20 if you're a T-Mobile subscriber?
Plus it is Sprint, the telecom that's known throughout the industry for never having ever created a billing system that works right, so who knows what will actually turn up on your credit card.
I've never paid the $10 charge. It just isn't worth it. But then again, I'm not a traveling business person who can make major changes to their situation by answering e-mail faster or getting information faster. For those people, it may be worth it.
This is like hotel pricing. The serious road warriors never pay for any of this stuff out of their pocket. I know, I used to be one before following my wife here to Texas for her medical residency. You just put it on your travel voucher and forget about it.
Most of the big hotel chains charge the same sort of outrageous prices for wireless, long distance phone calls, the mini-bar, room service. It's because 95% of the people using those services are expense-accounting it. People who travel on their own don't tend to use corporate hotels.
I know that Portland International is supposed to have free wireless. But then Portland is just that much cooler than any other city. I turned my laptop on last week when I was waiting in the Seattle airport and 5 different access points popped up from a couple different providers, but none of them were free. I never thought about hanging out outside the airline lounges. What a great idea! I'll try that next time.
Speaking of free wireless. Just yesterday I stopped at the Schlotsky's Deli here in Waco and they were advertising FREE wireless and I saw three people in there with laptops. I wonder if that was just the one local shop in Waco or if that is everywhere.