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Airports of Call

Few business travelers are happy about having their Internet umbilical cord cut at the airport. Net access can be as important as oxygen, especially during a two-hour layover or an unexpected weather delay. So where can you plug in, log on, and get to work?

If you have a Wi-Fi enabled laptop, you will be able to connect at most airports either through access points in public areas or in airline lounges and clubs. Almost of all the American, Delta, United, and U.S. Airways airport clubs offer Wi-Fi access through T-Mobile. Continental’s Presidents clubs in Cleveland, Houston International, and Newark also offer Wi-Fi. Because a typical wireless network can throw signals over a distance of 300 feet or so — and such signals are not impeded by doors, walls, and windows — you don’t actually have to be in an airport club to use the service. Just perch nearby, just outside the entrance.

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Most major airports also offer Wi-Fi access in public areas. A starter list of airports with Wi-Fi include:

  • Austin-Bergstrom: All terminals and gates (Wayport)
  • Buffalo Niagara: All terminals and gates (Wayport)
  • Baltimore Washington: Piers B, C, D, and E (Boingo)
  • Burbank: All public areas (T-Mobile)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth: All terminals and gates (Wayport)
  • Detroit Metropolitan: McNamara Terminal concourses A, B, and C (Boingo)
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental: Pappadeaux Restaurant (Boingo)
  • Los Angeles: Bradley Terminal, terminals 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 (Boingo)
  • Miami: Concourse E, Barcardi Bar (Boingo)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul: Gates C1-C12; concourses D, E, F and G; all airline lounges; Northstar Crossing concessions area and food court; Grieve Conference Center (Wayport)
  • Newark: Terminal A at concourse areas A1, A2, and A3, as well as the ticketing area; terminal B at concourse areas B1, B2, and B3, as well as the ticketing area; coverage in terminal C gates 70, 75, 81, 92, 101, 109, 134, food court P, and surrounding areas. (Boingo)
  • New York LaGuardia: Concourses A, B, C, and D (Boingo)
  • New York JFK: Terminals 8 and 9 (Boingo)
  • Oakland: Terminal 1, gates 8-17 (Boingo); terminal 2, gates 20-23 (Wayport)
  • Palm Beach: Various locations (Boingo)
  • San Francisco: Ticket counter and baggage claim areas (except were prohibited by customs and immigration), boarding areas and gates in the international terminal, terminal 1, and terminal 3. (T-mobile)
  • San Diego: Various restaurants and bars throughout the airport (Boingo)
  • San Jose All terminals and gates (Wayport)
  • Seattle-Tacoma: All terminals and gates (Wayport)
  • Tampa: Airside C (free service provide by the airport)
  • Oakland: Terminal 1, gates 8-17; terminal 2, gates 20-23 (Wayport)

For more information, the best list of airport WI-Fi hotspots was developed by JiWire.

Hotspot Providers

The three major providers of Wi-Fi hotspots in airports are Boingo, T-Mobile, and Wayport. Each offers a range of service plans. The following summarizes their pay-as-you-go options:

Provider Plan Price
Boingo Pay-As-You-Go $7.95 for two days, $7.95 for each additional day
T-Mobile Day Pass $9.99 for 24 hours
Pay-As-You-Go $6 for 60 minutes plus 10 cents for each minute over an hour
Wayport Pay-As-You-Go $6.95 from time of purchase until midnight
Pre-Paid Connection $25 for the connections; other options are available

Finding Your Center

Suppose you do not have or did not bring your Wi-Fi enabled laptop — or the idea of spending $7 to check your email is a wee bit grating. What and where are your options now?

You can find wired high-speed Internet access at a variety of airport locations, including business centers and kiosks. Neptune Networks offers rental PCs and kiosks that provide high-speed Internet access for 25 cents per minute, with a three-minute minimum.

Airport Locations:

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  • Dallas/Fort Worth: Terminals A, B, C, and E
  • Los Angeles: Terminals 3, 6, 7, and 8; Tom Bradley International Terminal
  • Las Vegas: Terminals C and D
  • San Jose: Terminals A and C
  • George Bush Intercontinental: Terminals A and D
  • San Francisco: Terminal 3

Additionally, Alaska Airline boardrooms at Los Angeles (LAX); Portland, Oregon (PDX); San Francisco (SFO); Seattle (SEA); Vancouver, BC (YVR); and Virgin Atlantic Airways clubhouses at Houston (IAD); Newark (EWR); New York (JFK); and San Francisco (SFO) provide access.

Laptop Lane, a division of Wayport, offers private workstations with high-speed access at 16 airport locations. Workstation rates run $5 for the first five minutes and 65 cents per minute thereafter.

  • Hartsfield Atlanta: Concourse A, atrium level 3, conference room; concourse B, gate B15; concourse T, adjacent to theDelta Crown Room
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport: Terminal 1, gate B6; terminal 1, gate B/C connector tunnel
  • Seattle-Tacoma: North Satellite Terminal adjacent to gate N9
  • New York LaGuardia: Central terminal, lower level marketplace, conference room
  • Salt Lake City:Terminal between concourses C and D, adjacent to the Delta Crown Room
  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport: Terminal A, gates A38-39
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport: Terminal B, near gate 20, full-service center; terminal C, near food court, full-service center; terminal 1, self-service 24-hour notebook station; and terminal 2, full-service center
  • Oakland International Airport: Terminal 1, near gate 9; terminal 2, near gate 20
  • Philadelphia International Airport: Terminal A/B link, upper level

File under: Too Much Information? If the above seems a bit overwhelming, future editions of Transit Authority will feature a handy airport-by-airport Internet access location guide for 27 airports in 15 major cities.

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