As airlines try to persuade passengers to pay for Internet access at cruising altitudes, more airports and hotels are offering it free on the ground.
Countless studies have shown that wifi has become as important a consideration for hotel guests in recent years as access to a pool or complimentary breakfast.
According to a survey by iPass, nearly three-quarters of respondents said they have chosen a hotel property based on its wifi capability, with one in five claiming they make purchase decisions this way for every hotel stay.
Interestingly, an airline’s ability to provide wifi on-board is also an important consideration.
Half of the busiest airports in the United States now have free Wi-Fi, including Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Phoenix and Houston. Dallas/Fort Worth plans to join that list in September, teaming with AT&T in a service that will give travelers 40 minutes of free Wi-Fi in exchange for viewing a 30-second advertisement.
Some 35% said they would now choose a carrier based on such functionality being made available to passengers.