Sep
17

Wanted – Free WiFi at airports

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One of the many advantages of smartphones is the growing array of travel apps that help make our journeys easier. Airlines such as British Airways and Lufthansa are among a host of companies that provide apps free of charge. One of the excellent features they offer are boarding passes that are sent to your phone.

There is no waiting around at machines or counters to collect bits of paper as the boarding pass is sent straight to your phone. When you get to the airport, all you have to do is click on the app and the boarding pass appears, nice and easy.

However, there is a hidden cost to this. In the UK, I have an unlimited data plan with my phone so accessing boarding passes isn’t really an issue but when abroad, I need a connection to retrieve the boarding pass. Data roaming charges are usually outrageous and when I’m abroad, I turn off my smartphone’s data. Instead, I use wifi hotspots.

In the UK, wifi is available in airports but it is a paid service. Visitors to the UK either have to pay to connect to the airport wifi or incur expensive roaming charges. I have noticed that many airports around the world offer free wifi. In some cases, it is free for as long as you want, in other cases, it is free for a limited period of time.

Passengers wanting to retrieve boarding passes from their smartphone wouldn’t need much free wifi time so I struggle to understand why UK airports don’t offer this. Many leading hotels have always charged outrageous amounts for wifi but last month, Accor announced it was going to scrap wifi charges at all of its 500 hotels. In the 21st century, this has to be the right thing to do and hopefully, UK airports will soon realise this and do the same.

Picture: Flickr User – Joseph Hunkins

Categories : Big Blue Marble, Britain

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