by Cathy Resmer
I was so excited during a recent lay-over in Boston to find a free wifi connection at my Continental terminal. I didn't ask any questions, because I thought maybe it was a mistake that it was free. But no, appearently it's Continental's policy to offer free wifi from their frequent flier lounges.
And Logan Airport doesn't like it. According to this article from the Associated Press, the airport calls the net givewaway a threat to security and public safety. Uh huh. I guess it's just coincidence that the airport charges $7.95 a day for their wifi network.
The Massachusetts Port Authority (which runs the airport) has ordered the airline to remove the network; Continental has filed a claim with the FCC. It's the first case to deal with wifi at airports. The FCC says they're accepting public comments about it until August 29, after which time they'll make a ruling.
I'm not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I want my free wifi. On the other hand, I don't think non-laptop-using passengers should have to subsidize me while I check my email. It would be great if this could bring down the airport's daily fee, which is a little too high to be competitive, in my opinion, though that's hardly a surprise when a simple, cold turkey sub costs — I'm not kidding — $8.
And airport wifi should be priced differently. Or maybe it is and they didn't mention it. When I'm in an airport, unless there's a delay, I'm seldom there for more than 2 hours. It would make more sense to charge an hourly or even a 30 minute rate. And make it cheaper. But maybe problems with micropayment software are making that unprofitable? Are they really trying to gouge me at $7.95?
Sadly, there are no wifi networks of any kind available at Burlington International.