Wi-Fi usage at Boston’s Logan Airport jumps 412% after going free

If there ever was an arguement for the positive effects of free airport Wi-Fi, this is it. The Massachusetts Port Authority Board says the number of passengers using its free wireless service to access the Internet at Boston’s Logan International Airport jumped by 412% last year. More than 1.4 million sessions were logged on its Wi-Fi network in 2010, compared with just over 349,300 in 2009.

That represents more than half of the more than 2.2 million sessions since Wi-Fi was first available at the airport in June 2004.

The free system was unveiled in January 2010 and is supported by advertising that users must view before accessing the Internet.

Having benefitted from Logan’s free Wi-Fi on numerous occassions, we can only hope that this is a movement other airports consider.

The arguement from a traveler’s perspective is simple – free Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere else … so why should we pay for it at airports? Anything that makes our air travel experience more pleasurable is something we’ll continue to champion.

[Flickr via Gurretto]

Airline fee backfires: skycaps win in Massachusetts court

When American Airlines started to charge a $2 fee for curbside baggage check-in, the skycaps lost their tips. Passengers were accustomed to paying $2 or so, it seems, and weren’t going to amp up the cash flow just because the money was going into a different pocket. So, nine Logan Airport skycaps – current and former – just came into $325,000, thanks to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled based on a law intended to protect wages and tips.

American Airlines tried to get by on a technicality, saying eight of the nine skycaps were subcontractors (working for G2 Secure Staff) and thus weren’t protected. The court disagreed, favoring broader protection. But, it isn’t over yet. American Airlines, according to a report in USA Today, is evaluating “all of its legal options.”

Angry rush to cockpit forces Delta flight to land in Boston, not Tel Aviv

When a Delta Airlines flight left New York for Tel Aviv, the passengers didn’t think they’d be stopping in Boston. After all, though it’s on the way, it’s a bit close to warrant needing to stretch your legs. An angry passenger rushing the cockpit, though, tends to make an emergency landing prudent.

Late last night, Delta Flight 86 boasted 206 passengers – 205 of which were perfectly reasonable. A 22-year-old Israeli man ran to the front of the plane and started to pound on the cockpit door. Passengers and crew put the smack down and subdued the nut-job until landing.

Now, the other passengers are stuck in Boston while an investigation is being conducted and luggage is checked.

As if flying weren’t irritating enough these days …

March “lion” slams east coast

From New Hampshire to the Carolinas, March came in, as the saying goes, like a lion. Snow, sleet and wind gusts reaching 30 mph have lead to for motor vehicle deaths, school closings and chaos at airports.

More than 900 flights have been canceled at New York area airports (JFK, Newark and LaGuardia). Hundreds more at Logan International Airport in Boston never left the ground, where the airport closed for more than half an hour to clear a runway. In Philadelphia, more than 40 people were stranded overnight.

Even the bus operators got into the delay and cancellation game. Greyhound and Peter Pan scrapped trips into and out of New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

So, get comfortable. It’s going to take a while to sort this mess out.

Skybus Opens for New Routes: Move Quickly for the $10 Deals

I’m waiting for a Skybus route to upstate New York to open. Stewart Airport in Newburgh would be divine. Not yet, but there are four more routes to start December 5.

If you have any desire or need to head to Chattanooga, Gulfport-Biloxi/New Orleans Area, Milwaukee or Punta Gorda/Ft. Meyers, check out Skybus to see if its schedule and airport locations suits you. Starting December 17 there will be one more flight a day to Jacksonville/Daytona (actually St. Augustine.)

Keep in mind, when you do book a Skybus flight, make sure you have a way from the airport to where ever you are actually going. A friend of a friend of mine was thrilled to pieces over her cheap flight to Boston. She didn’t know that the airport Skybus considers the Boston area is actually about 50 miles away and in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The friend she is visiting in Boston does not have a car. At this moment, she has no idea how she is actually getting to Boston.

Last week I tried to find the route from that same airport into Logan International Airport for a friend of mine. He’s flying from Atlanta to Boston and then wants to come to Columbus. Figuring out the logistics of how to get from Logan to Pease Airport made me tired, so I quit. Sometimes it’s just worth paying the extra money to be able to get to exactly where you need to go–unless you are renting a car anyway. Then, I say, go for the bargain.