free wi-fi should be a constitutional right


OK, I know that providing internet service has costs and with every business there is a right to include a profit margin and that applies to Wi-Fi providers. So I’ll back off the constitutional amendment and focus strictly on travelers.

What do you mean this sounds like a selfish post from a business man who travels a lot? OK, maybe it is but just listen cause I think this will benefit you too.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are testing Wi-Fi service on their planes. OK good, please stop testing and let’s do this thing! Internet access on airplanes would be a God-send. Please do it.

And (here’s where I need you to back me up) let’s make it free.

“Zoinks!” (yelled Shaggy from Scooby Doo) you think Wi-Fi should be free? But airlines need new revenue streams, they’re bleeding red ink! They must charge!

No they mustn’t nor should the airports. They should take a page from one of the busiest airports in America – Charlotte Douglas International. Free Wi-Fi.

My logic is this: Wi-Fi is a one time set up fee with minimal maintenance… maintenance that can probably be done in most cases by a current employee who will be trained…many people perform multiple jobs at their work. I voice commercials and clean the toilets…if it needs doing I do it. Simple.

And the fee for getting the Wi-Fi service to the plane is the fee. Eat it.

Airlines nickel and dime travelers for everything. Air travel is about as glamorous as a flying bus. So impart some much needed good will. Make Wi-Fi free.

Airports, you charge fees to travelers and airlines and vendors who have shops but you also have security and upkeep costs. You also have often angry travelers who would like some good news. Stop dinging your customers….that’s for governments to do (and I know some of you are city and county run….but you don’t have to act like it all the time!).

Anyway, free Wi-Fi for travelers is the right thing to do. Can we make this the next trend: do the right thing? What do you think? Am I nuts?

11 Responses to “free wi-fi should be a constitutional right”

  1. I think you’re spot on, Peter. And on my recent trip to Atlanta at the beginning of January, I had that “nothing is free” thing slap me in the face several times. I *know* I’ve been in airports where the wi fi has been free – but not in Atlanta or Toronto. Hotels do it these days. It’s part of the cost of getting a hotel room. Why can’t it be part of the cost of buying an airline ticket – either on the plane itself, or within the airport?

    There are a lot of very bored, impatient people in an airport. Having free wi fi might actually make *everyone’s* wait a little easier. And as you say, the start up costs are pretty minimal. Or, if they feel the cost is so huge, why not go after a corporate sponsor to provide it? That would spread good will to both the airlines *and* that corporate sponsor. You can’t BUY that kind of advertising these days. (Ok … in that case, I guess you could … :D)

    I really think that model would work. An intro page when someone logs on to the free wi fi that has more information on the corporate sponsor who so kindly provided the service? How many thousands of people pass through whatever airport it is each day? That’s what I call, raising awareness! Anyway, just a thought.. Thanks for starting the conversation, Peter. This is *definitely* a pet peeve of mine. All the best, — Jodi

  2. Jodi!

    I really LOVE the sponsorship idea.

    Everyone would love it, the sponsors would get lots of good from it…it make totally sense.

    All of which means it can never happen! Logic can fit into a commerce model. Damn shame 🙂

    BTW I hope to see you at Podcamp Toronto!

    Best always,
    – Peter

  3. Ain’t that just the way? 🙂 Ah well.

    As for Podcamp, it’s unlikely, I’m afraid .. But if you might be a little further north while you’re in Toronto at some point, let me know. Maybe we could meet for a coffee somewhere. 🙂 Feel free to toss me an email if you’d like. Though I’ll *totally* understand if you don’t have time and/or aren’t traveling away from the site of the podcamp.

    All the best, –Jodi

  4. No podcamp….darn shame. Great connections for me up there and wonderful insights into new trends in social media.

    Oh well! Have to catch you on the next trip to TO!

    Best always,
    – Peter

  5. Sorry, Peter. Let me know the next time you’re in town though, hmm? I hope Podcamp was fantastic for you!

    All the best, — Jodi

  6. Oh no Jodi, WILL be. I’ll be up there THIS Sunday (2/22)

    Best always,
    – Peter

  7. Oh! Thought it had already happened. 🙂 My bad. If you find you have some free time on the Sunday, feel free to let me know. I do hope you have a great time. All the best, –Jodi

  8. Free time at Podcamp? Boy I hope not as there will be so much stuff going on. I know life gets in the way but I sure hope you can find time to some down and check it out. Worth your effort.

    Best always,
    – Peter

  9. 🙂 It’s unlikely I’ll be there, Peter. But like I said, I hope you have a great time and learn tons. 🙂 All the best — Jodi

  10. Understood, but like Tom Bodett says in his Motel 6 commercials, we’ll leave the light on on for ya!

  11. Thanks! 🙂