WiFi has become an essential part of a travel experience, hasn’t it? Be it at our hotel room, or at 34,000 feet or at the airport.
Most legitimate airlines now offer it to all passengers at a reasonable fee. Airlines such as Emirates (EK) offer it for free (though the result is that it’s slow given that an EK A380 houses more than 400 passengers at least) while others such as JetBlue offer different tiers of WiFi speeds – one is free which is reasonably fast (more than enough to check emails, browse apps) and the other is their high tier but well priced option at $12.95 for a 24 hour pass that gives you ultra high speed internet, one fast enough to comfortably stream Netflix. It’s great.
Most airlines segment out their WiFi plans based on time elapsed, such as offering 4 hour, 8 hour, 12 hour and 24 hour passes – this is especially useful if you’re transiting through on the same airline as the plan carries through on to your next flight. Folks such as Etihad, Lufthansa, United, American, Qantas offer this option and we always recommend just biting the bullet and getting the longest option, it’ll represent the best bang for your buck.
Then you have airlines such as Singapore Airlines that charge an arm and a leg for their service and it isn’t even that fast – then on top of that they charge you based on data amount used, which is hard to keep track of so you might end up with a bill that costs more than your ticket if you’re not careful.
We suppose that at least SQ offers the service so you at least have the (rather undesirable) option whereas the other big players in South East Asia don’t even offer it – Thai, Cathay, ANA and JAL come to mind.
Regardless WiFi in the air is in it’s infancy phase – we’re still growing into that market in this regard. Some airlines are better…much…better than others, but we will see this technology develop widely in the coming years. The concept of access to the internet in the air is indeed an exceptional one.
Now access on the ground is a different matter in that airport WiFi is now a must for any airport trying to market itself as an internationally relevant one. Free WiFi all the more so. Some make it easy for you – JFK’s different terminals all have their own WiFi offerings which are decent but at cost, with Boingo the main choice there. Heathrow does the same for WiFi and Tokyo Narita is fantastic with strong signal throughout the terminal and free. Others such as Singapore Changi (SIN) need you register and actually get a chit from a kiosk to log into their system (ah, big brother monitoring at its best). But to be fair they do also offer stations where you can just log in through their computer system. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi is in the middle – you can log into their system and it’s on the slow side – but you do still need to register but can do so on your phone. So for the lazy (read: me) it’s a bit of a pain, but it takes a grand total of a few minutes. Then there’s the airports such as our other home base, Kathmandu that let’s face it – unless you’re in an airline Business Class lounge, you ain’t getting online through WiFi.
Best yet, we have this story from the Business Insider:
Anil Polat, a travel blogger and computer security engineer, is doing the world a solid by creating an interactive map — which he regularly updates — that reveals the Wi-Fi passwords of dozens of airports around the world. Polat, who hopes to visit every country in the world, has a blog called foXoMad, which aims to help people “travel smarter.” His WiFox map is updated regularly, based on verified information submitted by travelers.
He’s already mapped out a ton of airports, with more to surely follow. It’s an extremely useful guide and the fact that it’s dynamic and continuously updated is fantastic – he really indeed is doing us all a solid by providing this service.
And a map that he’s done out showcasing the locations he’s been in and the details of the WiFi service the airport offers:
Overall, we will keep tabs on this service and follow its developments. Thus far he seems to be updating on a regular basis and making good on his promises. It’s a good tool to use before a trip because why would you ever rack up data roaming on your phone if you have free fast WiFi to avail of?
Oh and the last (and best) part – it’s available in app form!
On GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.foxnomad.wifox.wifox
On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LWKMTG6