I am currently sitting in Houston’s magnificent airport after leg two of my four-leg flight to Sacramento. The things I do for family…
Anyway. A few hours before, I was in Tampa, FL, whose airport not only has a pretty impressive view of the skyscrapers in a gorgeous dawning sun (I have a picture that I can’t share right now for reasons that will become apparently shortly), but they also had wireless. Gorgeous wireless. It was relatively swift, allowed all of my normal functions (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, general searches, etc.), and was all around just good. Before that, I was in Gainesville, FL, whose airport barely deserves the title, but also includes at least usable wireless — it’s not all that quick, but compared to the public wireless at the community college where I am employed, it is like night and day.
Houston, however, has none of these things. Right now, I’m snatching wireless off one of the airline desks nearby; they apparently have never heard of passwords. This service only allows me to access Blogger and general search, but Twitter and all of my apps (even the ones that have nothing to do with social media, but require Internet to function) are blocked. I can’t even search for ebooks on this thing…
The only other public option around here is one run by one of the hotspot companies. It costs $4.95 for an hour, which is the only time I can use anyway (your only other option is $7.95 a month, but since I don’t fly all that much, let alone to or from or around Houston, it’s really not worth it). I think this price is basically extortion. In other words, there is no viable Internet option here.
This is not the first time I’ve been trapped in an airport without free wireless. You’ll forgive me for demonstrating my privilege, but I think all airports should have free wireless by default. There are a lot of good reasons for this, from simple convenience and customer satisfaction to the fact that social networks allow information to move quickly within airport terminals (just in case something has happened inside and you don’t know what’s going on — Tweeting, after all, is quiet; then again, maybe this is a stretch). Ultimately, I think customer satisfaction is the one that will matter most, as giving us access helps us pass the time doing something we apparently enjoy, whether it’s chatting with friends online, reading online newspaper articles, searching for an ebook to read, or something else.
So this is my plea for universal wireless in airports. I’d love it if Internet access were universal in general, but I think this is a good place to start.
Go wireless, go wireless, go, go, go wireless!