The best things in life are free (plus shipping and handling)

I’ve spent a lot of time in airports recently. I know airport operators are profit-generating entities with shareholder obligations etc, and for that reason I can deal with departure taxes, wall-to-wall advertising, and even toxic, overpriced food and beverage. One thing that really grinds my gears, however, is the widespread practice of charging for wireless broadband in departure lounges.

It’s not that it’s particularly expensive, or even that I’m a tight-wad (I am, but I don’t mind paying for certain indulgences). It’s more that I hate those stupid ‘welcome to our crumby airport, please click here to subscribe to our lousy wireless network’ pages you invariably get redirected to when trying to connect. They make it seem like it’s such an awesome service they’re providing, whereas those of us who use the Internet every day liken it to nothing more than providing access to water, toilets or electricity. Sure it’s a pain in the ass not to have, but don’t tell me you’re doing me a huge favour just by letting me connect!

A wee suggestion to airport operators. Providing free wireless broadband within your terminals would cost three-fifths of sod-all, and would be really appreciated by your customers. Regular travellers like me would arrive nice and early for our flights because we know we’ll be able to log in and get a little work done (in my case to do some blogging, check some email, play a little Socom on the PSP), and would probably be less likely to go ape-shit when flights are delayed. Hell, I love a tasty beverage while I’m surfing the net – maybe I’d buy a couple of beers to return the favour?

If you’re not going to drop the charges, would you please pare down your registration/payment pages to just advise costs and request payment details? We know you’re just trying to make your service sound flash as you try and justify charging a bomb for an essential service that should be free anyways – please don’t f&*%$ng patronise us in the process!

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