When will WiFi be free world wide? Should it be?

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I love my GoGo. I loved the free SWAG bag GoGo sent me to giveaway on the blog last month and it was fun to get posts on the blog from readers using the free use coupons! There have been some who have been very critical of the performance of the GoGo service. But if you e-mail them about your experience, most will either get credit for another session or a refund as we should keep in mind this is a new and growing company as I blogged about before.

But on to my question about WiFi in general. Do you expect free WiFi? If so, where? Via Google translate, this Italian town has free WiFi all over the town. How kool! I think most of us expect free WiFi in coffee shops and other restaurants nowadays. What about hotels? There was a good piece on CNN last month talking about just this. Many hotel programs offer free WiFi to their elite guests but this can vary by property.

In the days before everyone living had a cell phone, hotels printed money when you had to use the phone in your room. Now, unless calling the front desk, very few would ever use a room phone for outside calls. Why would you? Most phones today can access the Internet and with outstanding apps like the one I talked about here, there is no need to ever pay for web access for your laptop or tablet. So I see hotels soon being expected to offer free good quality and fast high speed Internet as part of the price as much as sheets and towels or you will find another location to stay.

Back to airlines and our Delta jets. WiFi is free for all sorts of services. Will top level elites like Diamonds or Platinum medallion flyers ever get free access when flying?  I already hear frequent flyers complain that when they are flying other airlines they will not have access to the web. Think of the marketing windfall to offer the top elites free access to the web in the Skyclubs that they get into for free, and seamlessly onto the airplane as well. Work will never need to stop. This will happen one day.

So what do you think. Should Wifi be free everywhere? You tell me what you think about the above for a chance to win (no more gogo swag) some Delta and Deltapoints SWAG today! – Rene

 

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27 comments

  1. I most certainly do think wifi should be free inflight for elite members. As a AA PLT if United offered the same on the routes I fly I would consider switching. In the day of deep discount fares loyalty is only as deep as the services offered to the customer.

  2. The cost of providing wi-fi isn’t that high, and it should be going down even further in the future – so yes.

  3. Seems like elite members are the most likely to pay for wifi in flight — especially to spring for the weekly & monthly passes. And the most likely to be getting the fee reimbursed — or to have it more than worthwhile for them to pay it. I’d be surprised if it’s free anytime soon!

  4. Wifi in flight should not be free, but the price must be much lower than what is out there now.
    Wifi should be free on the ground in every city.

  5. Free for first and elite members. It would make them stand apart. They need to set the bar higher.

  6. In the long run, wifi will likely be treated like utilities such as electricity and plumbing. There is certainly a cost to providing it, but it won’t be itemized. In the meantime, airlines should offer it to elites as it really makes a difference for those working in the air on long flights.

  7. Would love free WiFi but think we won’t see it for awhile. But I say give it to the Elite members now.

  8. WiFi will be free most everywhere such as airports, hotels, etc. very soon. But airplanes and cruise ships are a different story. They have you as a captive consumer. I can see some of the main stream carriers making WiFi free to attract customers (can you say Southwest) while some carriers charging for it to generate revenue on cheaper tickets (Spirit, Ryan, etc.).
    At some point it seems like it will fall into the “Free HBO”, “Air Conditioned Rooms” or “Direct Dial Phones” realm. You might get HBO for free but wish you had something better.

  9. I would say free or very reduced in flight. Each time I fire up my iPad, I see the price and think….can I tolerate 1.5 hours for this price? More often than not, I decide againt the pass.

  10. I think there’s a possibility that DL elite flyers wil get free wifi as a perk someday. However I don’t think it would happen until DL’s fleet is entirely equipped and the build out has paid for itself.

  11. The cost to provide WiFi should be free. Free WiFi could have a bandwidth cap so you can easily send email and read news/articles online. If wanted to use more then there would be a modest fee.

  12. @hubert – Totally agree.

    I also believe that offering “Free” WiFi would actually sell more seats on flights over 1 hour in duration thus fulfilling every airline’s goal of filling flights to capacity.

    As to When “Free” WiFi would be available globally is anybody’s guess. The most logical answer would be to say sometime after internet censorship is lifted in other countries around the world.

  13. I do not care if it ever becomes free. I never have the urge to surf while in-flight. I watch movies/music/sleep.

  14. I think as more places offer free wifi, people will be less willing to pay for wifi where it is still being charged for… so free wifi everywhere, soonish! (Hopefully)

  15. I think it should be free for anyone with status or in First. I don’t see an issue with charging (at a reasonable rate) for everyone else.

  16. I don’t think it should be free. I’ve found that in locations that have free wifi, the amount of people using it makes it unusable for everyone.

  17. I think wifi should be free and it maybe at certain speed. There could be a premium service for faster internet access where one would have to pay. If it is free all around, the service may not be very good due to too many user and there would be people complaining about it and that’s where premium comes into the picture. Coming into airplane, different class could have different Wifi service…

  18. Yes, and I wish it was a choice benefit for Platinums and Diamonds! I do think we are heading in the direction of more universally available FREE WiFi. It’s only a matter of time!

  19. It should be free, but in 75% of hotels I stay in it’s so (edit) slow I use my own HotSpot! If they give it away free it will be even slower…like 1997 dail up speeds!

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