San Diego Airport was a Pioneer in offering Free WiFi
We read earlier this summer about a number of airports moving to free WiFi access for travelers, and it made us proud to remember that our hometown San Diego Airport was one of the first to "see the light" and make available wireless internet access in all terminals -- Commuter, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 -- FREE...GRATIS...COMPED...PRO BONO (pick your adjective). This was 7 years ago!
Such gratuity is allowing me to write this post as I await a Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta. (And by the way, we think Delta's WiFi outshines many of the other airlines such as Southwest) Offering free WiFi in airports should be common practice by now, but it is not quite there yet. Some airports are still in the dark ages and charge for WiFi, e.g., Honolulu International Airport.
Last year, I was on a recent flight to Europe with a layover in Chicago. The flight became delayed a few hours (no big surprise there) and to browse the web I had to sign up for an account with their private service provider and pay $7 for unlimited usage -- tarmac robbery! The limitations on internet access in Chicago have motivated posts about "tricks" for getting it free. But who wants to fuss with that? New York is an example of another major city moving to free; but only for 30 minutes.
In addition to San Diego, there are a number of other big city airports that deserve a shout-out for also pioneering the free WiFi movement. They include: Charlotte, NC; Jacksonville, FL; Kansas City, MO; Las Vegas, NV; New Orleans, LA; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Phoenix, AZ; Sacramento, CA; Tucson, AZ; and Tampa, FL. The list keeps growing. We LOVE that you can now simply Google "free airport WiFi" and a list like this pops up. Another resource for airport options is this one by Cheap Flights.
Hotels are moving in this direction too. And when you view the research on what is important to travelers, free WiFi is always at the top of the list. It is what travelers want.