After years of gouging--yes, gouging--customers wishing to access internet at Los Angeles International Airport, T-Mobile's reign ends next month and the LA City Council has voted to make internet free for all passengers.
LA City Council’s Trade, Commerce, and Tourism Committee voted 2 to 1 on Monday to approve the idea of offering free wireless Internet for patrons of LAX by Jul. 16...So far, the plan includes providing 45 minutes of free Internet access to passengers in exchange for viewing a 15- to 30-second commercial.
There was some politicking going on this week as Boingo claimed they were unfairly excluded from the bidding contest, but at a cost of $633,333, the City Council decided it was not worth bickering further over the contract.
As a regular patron of LAX, I have been shielded from the hefty internet fees by having access to various lounges when traveling, but I cringe over even thinking about paying $5.95/hour for internet (when I pay $39.95 at home for a whole month...).
I look at complimentary internet at airports as an investment--make the airport experience a good one and people will return. That helps not just airlines but rental car companies and concessionaires as well. One of the reasons I like connecting in Washington Dulles instead of Newark Liberty is because of the free internet at IAD. If I encounter a delay at the gate, I usually prefer not to return to the lounge or use my iPhone.
Complimentary internet and a re-vitalized Tom Bradley International Terminal may finally make Los Angeles a first-world airport. Or at least second-world...