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Boing Boing Archive
On every arrival to- and departure from the Austin airport, I’ve wondered why there isn’t free Wi-Fi. Now that I live here and I am traveling more for CC, the question comes up each time I walk from the parking lot to the terminal. I’ve been forced into tethering my cell phone to the laptop to get Internet access (which actually has worked great). Austin claims to be a huge tech center and yet we welcome visitors, conference attendees, business partners, customers and new residents like myself by pushing a paid Wi-Fi service inside the terminals.
Today, via a friend and the Biz Journals site, I’ve learned that the Austin airport now has limited free Wi-Fi service within the terminal. The free Wi-Fi service is available but it’s limited to a 30-minute session. After the thirty minutes are up, you will have to pay $5/hour or $8/day to remain online.
This limitation is certainly disappointing – the limit works great if your plane is on time but if the plane is delayed, thirty minutes isn’t really enough time to update Twitter, Instagram, Yobongo, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace?, PicPlz, YouTube, Color and Path that your plane is delayed and you hate X airline and that you expect at least $1,000 or you will blog about the airline. Perhaps you should pre-prepare for a case like this one and have the messages ready to go so you can post on the 29th minute.
I look forward to the day that every airport and bus/rail station has free Wi-Fi available for all ticketed passengers.
A few years ago I had the chance to fly on Virgin’s Upper Class to Europe. The experience was amazing. From 10 inch tv’s to lie flat beds, the british accents to a full wet-bar and the mood lighting to in-flight beauty (I picked the massage), Virgin made the expereience something I will never forget. (and it was on miles folks, don’t think I can afford a cash fare)
When Virgin America launched here in the U.S., their billboards around NYC looked the same as those from U.K. Virgin. They seem to do everything right. Lower fares, bigger seats, more power, individual seat video, etc. The feeling is on those signs that the U.S. carriers just can’t match. And their most popular route just happens to be "Silicon Alley to Silicon Valley".
Today Virgin America announced a partnership with Boing Boing to bring Boing Boing TV to the seat back video on VA’s planes. Brilliant. From what I can tell it’s a great fit for VA and BB.
So why do I think Virgin America is smart? Easy. What did it really cost for VA to bring BB onto the planes "exclusively"? Probably not much and what happened is a buzz-event. Blogs are writing about the news, bloggers already typically like Branson/Virgin (except Liz who said the lighting sucked). It’s a great way for VA to instantly become relevant in the new media space and with their trans-continental routes that the techies need, its a smart mix.
It’s interesting to note that the only other carrier that has individual video on all flights is JetBlue and on some flights is Delta.
As you launch your startup, think outside the blinders — the best deals lie out there.
(this also makes me wonder if we will see a Boing Boing channel on Dish Network soon – just a hunch since Virgin America uses Dish – you heard it here first :)