Free Airport Wi-Fi – The Lack of It

After spending 8 hours of transit in Charles de Gaulle Airport on my way to Toronto, I wondered why most airports seemingly don’t offer free access to Wi-Fi. The ‘want’ for easy and constant access to Wi-Fi at airports is now becoming a need in my opinion – as soon as you step into an airport, you’d want to feel connected to certain information that may be important to your travel experience—especially when you layover prior to reaching your final destination.

This is obviously not to say that accessing Wi-Fi at airports is not an option—it is, but you’d have to pay for it after consuming a certain amount. And this is perhaps due to various reasons—one being that free access to all would slow down the service as thousands of people rush to virtual meetings; stream or download movies; or simply surf the web. Taking the technical perspective into account, I’m sure Wi-Fi operators and airport officials have their reasons for not having Wi-Fi available free of charge. But from a consumer’s point of view, we don’t care. A good travel experience is dependent on many factors, and in today’s digital age the idea of accessing information free of charge, and hassle-free, is progressively becoming a demand.

So why not implement free Wi-Fi that is essentially strong? It would be interesting to hear the views of one of our leading Clients—Ruckus Wireless. In 2011 for instance, KL International Airport (KLIA) standardized on Ruckus’ ZoneFlex™ indoor/outdoor Smart Wi-Fi technology to provide free high-speed hotspot services to the passengers that transit KLIA.

The notion of free and efficient access to Wi-Fi at airports seems quite convenient—most of us crave the consumption of information all the time; whether or not we’re out, travelling, or working; so it only becomes natural for us to expect that this demand be met in today’s fast-paced world. While many airports do provide this (Toronto, Frankfurt, some of the airports in the States, and recently Jeddah), the idea of this being standardized across the world’s busiest airports seems integral.

What’s your take on this?