View Full Version : Google to offer free wifi at 47 airports, MCO included, til after first of year

11-10-2009, 11:41 AM

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Google is planning to foot the bill for WiFi at 47 of the nation's airports for the rest of the year, beginning Tuesday.

With some travelers spending more time on the ground in airports than on planes during the busy flying season, now seemed an especially fitting time to offer up the perk, Google said.

The list includes the international airports in Miami and Orlando, which are among the world's 30 busiest airports, as well as five others in Florida. Travelers through smaller airports, such as Montana's Billings and Bozeman, will also benefit.

"This is one of our holiday gifts to our users, and when you connect, we also hope you'll take the opportunity to try some of the latest Google products," the company said in a statement.

Upon signing in, users will be asked if they want to set Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) as their homepage or try the Google Chrome browser.

The company is also running a charity campaign to raise money for three nonprofit groups: Engineers without Borders, One Economy Corporation and Climate Savers Computing Initiative. When Google WiFi users first log on, the landing page will offer them the option of donating to the organizations. Google will match donations of up to $250,000 per airport.

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Google has inked other free WiFi deals. It already offers free wireless Internet to its hometown of Mountain View, Calif., and last month it partnered with Virgin America to give the airline's customers free access to Gogo's Inflight Internet.

Both the airport WiFi deal and the Virgin America arrangement will end Jan. 15, after the holiday rush subsides.

While Google's move to offer free wireless in airports is an original twist, several companies are already running similar sponsorship campaigns on domestic flights.

E-commerce giant eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) said it will provide free WiFi through Gogo on more than 250 domestic Delta Airline flights during the busiest travel week of the year, over the Thanksgiving holiday. From Nov. 24-30, flyers who log in will be taken to eBay's holiday-themed homepage and invited to "complete your holiday shopping while still en-route to your Thanksgiving destination."

Car maker Lexus wrapped up one week of complimentary Internet on American Airlines flights on Friday. The promotion coincided with the introduction of the 2010 Lexus LS line

Here is a list of the airports slated.. from http://www.freeholidaywifi.com/

Austin (AUS)
Baltimore (BWI)
Billings (BIL)
Boston (BOS)
Bozeman (BZN)
Buffalo (BUF)
Burbank (BUR)
Central Wisconsin (CWA)
Charlotte (CLT)
Des Moines (DSM)
El Paso (ELP)
Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
Fort Myers/SW (RSW)
Greensboro (GSO)
Houston (HOU)
Houston Bush (IAH)
Indianapolis (IND)
Jacksonville (JIA)
Kalamazoo (AZO)
Las Vegas (LAS)
Louisville (SDF)
Madison (MSN)
Memphis (MEM)
Miami (MIA)
Milwaukee (MKE)
Monterey (MRY)
Nashville (BNA)
Newport News (PHF)
Norfolk (ORF)
Oklahoma City (OKC)
Omaha (OMA)
Orlando (MCO)
Panama City (PFN)
Pittsburgh (PIT)
Portland (PWM)
Sacramento (SMF)
San Antonio (SAT)
San Diego (SAN)
San Jose (SJC)
Seattle (SEA)
South Bend (SBN)
Spokane (GEG)
St. Louis (STL)
State College (SCE)
Toledo (TOL)
Traverse City (TVC)
West Palm Beach (PBI)

11-10-2009, 12:43 PM
Keep in mind that many (if not most/all) of these airports already HAD free wifi available to passengers. Google is just underwriting the cost of the Wifi connection in order to place advertisements on the connection welcome pages when passengers connect.

11-10-2009, 12:47 PM
Is BWI free normally? I guess I've never tried to connect there...

11-10-2009, 01:05 PM
FTR, STL is not normally free. It's $7.95/day via Concourse Communications, or you can use your mobile phone account if you have a modem setup.

Passengers and visitors to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport® can stay connected to home or office after the completion of a new Wi-Fi network. Lambert’s new Wi-Fi system is provided by Concourse Communications. Wi-Fi users can access service across a majority of areas in all terminal and concourses. The cost is $7.95 per day, charged upon connection (with access up to 24 continuous hours) for users who do not have a Wi-Fi subscription. Users who already have a wireless access subscription may access the Internet using their own provider accounts. Concourse Communications currently has Roaming Agreements with AT&T Wi-Fi, Boingo, iPass, T-Mobile, Go Remote and Orange France. The cost to the user will be in accordance with their specific subscription agreement.

11-10-2009, 01:09 PM
MCO and PIT have been free for a long time.

11-10-2009, 01:14 PM
AUS and SEA were not free.

11-10-2009, 08:37 PM
Speaking of the free wi-fi promotion mentioned above that began today... a very pleasant Virgin America station manager handed me a "I hooked up @ 35,000 ft" :lmao: t-shirt as I wandered near one of their gates this afternoon. Apparently passengers traveling today were getting these in addition to free wi-fi onboard.

All in a day's work..

11-11-2009, 06:49 AM
MCO and PIT have been free for a long time.

I was going to post MCO has had free WIFI for awhile. I take my netbook with me and use it easily at MCO, as recently as last month.

11-11-2009, 09:59 AM
CLT has had free wifi normally, too.

For airports not on the list that normally charge, check your ISP or telecom providers. I have a Verizon DSL and my monthly fee includes free wifi at Verizon hotspots (I think ORD was the first paid airport one I used that was covered under this benefit).

11-11-2009, 01:48 PM
Ahh... it figures. We have a trip in January PHL to MCO... PHL is not one of the airports, but with an early morning flight, I didn't mind not having the free WiFi.

The return flight from MCO is mid-afternoon, and since we are doing DME, we will be there a bit early... BUT our return flight is 1/16 and this ends on 1/15.

Oh well.. for everyone else who can take advantage, enjoy the free Google-ish WiFi goodness.