Most airports now provide wireless (Wi-Fi) service for a fee. Prices and Wi-Fi services available at major U.S. and International airports are listed below. Frequent travelers will likely save big by purchasing a subscription to widely available Wi-Fi services such as T-Mobile ($29 a month for unlimited access nationwide) or Boingo ($21.95 per month for unlimited access nationwide and international access with roaming fees, $39 per month for unlimited access nationwide and global with no roaming fees).
Mobile (cellular) broadband users can get on-line from any location served by their calling plan; check your plan’s coverage for details.
Hong Kong International Airport
This airport offers free wireless access throughout the entire facility. Additionally, there are two wireless lounges and a “Cyber Zone” located near gates 20, 21, and 61 which offer PowerPhones, which allow travelers to check and send email as well as access the Web without having to break out their own computers. Prices for the PowerPhones are detailed on each kiosk, expect to pay around five dollars for 15 minutes or so of connection time.
Singapore Changi Airport
The airport offers wireless access through Starhub for $9 for one hour’s use. Connect to the network in Terminal 1 and 2 at the Transit Mall Central, Level 2, Departure Hall, Level 2, Arrival Hall and Baggage Claims, Level 1 and all airline lounges at Transit Mall West in Terminal 1 and Transit Mall North, Level 3. Wireless is also available in most of the gate waiting areas in both terminals.
Tokyo Narita International Airport
Narita offers wireless service throughout the passenger terminals. For the best bargain log onto Biz Portal and you’ll get an all day connection for 500 Yen (about $4.30). It’s a particularly excellent deal, as Biz Portal can be accessed elsewhere in Tokyo as well as at the airport.
Chiago O’Hare offers Wi-Fi service from several providers, including Boingo at $6.95 an hour. O’Hare hotspots are located in Terminal 1 Concourses B/C, Terminal 2 Concourses E/F and in the Terminal 2 main areas. In Terminal 3, head to Concourse H or Concourse K. Terminal 5 offers Wi-Fi at all gates. In a move that every airport should emulate, Fly Chicago has posted an excellent brochure with clear and detailed instructions on how to log onto O’Hare (and Midway’s) wireless services.
Los Angeles International Airport
You won’t lack for connectivity here; T-Mobile Wi-Fi service is available throughout the entire airport, from curbside to the gates. Cost is $6 for the first hour and 10 cents per minute thereafter; or you can purchase a 24-hour portable DayPass for $29.99, which allows you to use the service at other T-Mobile hotspots.
San Francisco International
T-Mobile service for $6 an hour is available in all terminals. Boingo ($7.95/$21.95) service is available at United Airlines Gates 76 through 90, and in the International Terminal’s lobby.
T-Mobile offers wireless service throughout the airport, priced at $6 an hour.
Orlando International Airport
Free wireless service is available in all public areas inside the Terminal and in the “Cell Phone” parking lot, which offers free short-term parking for passenger pick-up, where people can wait for their arriving passengers to call, and pick them up at curbside baggage claim.
New York City (JFK)
Concourse Communications provides wireless service at $7.95 an hour in Terminals 1 & 8, near the retail areas. JetBlue has free wireless service in their terminal.
Boingo service is available throughout the Central Terminal Building, priced at $7.95 for an hour or $21.95 for 24 hours.
AT&T wireless is available for $7.95 an hour or $19.95 for 24 hours throughout the terminal. Boingo users should head to the British Airways Terraces Lounge ($.12/min additional fee over Boingo subscription rate).
Washington Dulles (IAD)
The only airport whose web site makes it almost impossible to find any information about wireless services (searching for Wi-Fi or Wireless returns no results). Dulles actually does have some T-mobile hotspots in the American and United Airlines lounges.
The designated Wi-Fi zones in Terminals 1-4 provide a veritable barrage of connectivity from services such as i-Pass, Sprint ($9.95 an hour), and The Cloud at £4.50 ($7) an hour. Best prices are typically offered by CredEcard, which bills 10 pence/minute and offers discounts for prepaid blocks of time, which you can purchase on CredEcard’s web site (UK computer magazines often include a €10 CredEcard as a giveaway, so you may be able to buy your reading material and pay for wireless all in one fell swoop).
U.S.-based Boingo charges a $21.95 monthly subscription fee, with a $0.12/min premium location charge at Gatwick. Service is available throughout the airport. There’s also free Wi-Fi service in Starbucks on the village floor/south terminal (upstairs from security gates. In the North Terminal head for the cafe on the mezzanine level to access service from The Cloud at £4.50 [$7] an hour).
Paris, Charles De Gaulle
ADP Telecom provides wireless service at Terminals 1, 2 and 3 for 10 euros (about $12.50) for one hour or 6 euros (about $8.50) for 30 minutes of connectivity Orange WiFi is also available in the terminals, priced at 10 euros for two hours of service. Boingo charges $21.95 monthly subscription fee, with a $0.18/min premium location charge at De Gaulle.
ADP Telecom service is available in the South and West terminals, 10 euros (about $12.50) for one hour or 6 euros (about $8.50) for 30 minutes of connectivity. Orange WiFi-is also available in the terminals, priced at 10 euros for two hours of service. Boingo charges $21.95 monthly subscription fee, with a $0.12/min premium location charge at Orly.
Rome, Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino
This airport is served by Megabeam, which charges 3 euros ($4.25) an hour for connectivity, or 4.95 euros ($7.00) for five hours — the service is available at the Executive Center (Domestic) near Gate A7, and in British Airways Executive Club Lounge. Boingo charges a $21.95 monthly subscription fee, with a $0.12/min premium location charge at Fiumicino.
Megabeam, which charges 3 euros ($4.25) an hour for connectivity, or 4.95 euros ($7) for five hours, is available in and near the Alitalia Botticelli VIP Lounge. Boingo charges a $21.95 monthly subscription fee, with a $0.12/min premium location charge at Malpensa.