Wireless Access in Detroit Airport

by brian d foy

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I flew out of Detroit's McNamara Terminal yesterday. In the concourse is an "Online Cafe", which is really just a cafe with a couple of computers with flat-screen moniters sitting along the wall. I figured they might have wireless access, so I fired up my PowerBook to check.

The entire terminal has wireless access. Although unlimited access costs $6.95 for 24 hours, I could get airport and flight information for free. I


This access would be great if I could pay for an hour of it (oh gees, did I just suggest micro-payments? $7 / 24 hours is about 30 cents an hour), but for $7 an hour, I will just do the crossword in the paper. Of course, most people will not be in the terminal for 24 hours, so I think the 24 hours of access is just a way to throw off people as they try to figure out if it is worth it. Somewhere in there is a black-market business in limited-time account trading.

Which other airports have concourse wireless?


Jonathan Gennick
2004-04-24 20:48:39
I've never had luck in Detroit
Interesting. I've never had luck finding a wireless signal in Detroit Metro.

I too wish for micropayments. I'm rarely in any given airport for more than three hours, and usually it's less than that. I can buy all-day access, but it's then a safe bet that whatever airport I fly to next will be served by a different wireless provider, neccessitating another purchase.

Only when it's desperately important for me to send an email, which it rarely is, do I bother to pay for wireless.

2004-04-26 23:43:56
micropayment == macrocost
As long as the cost of cashing in on those micropayments is non-trivial there's no way to accept them and still make a profit.

I suspect that if they made access available per hour they'd need to charge $3-$5 an hour to recover the cost of the creditcard transactions involved in the payment processing (or whichever other means of payment are involved), or have a flat fee of say $4 (to cover costs) plus $0.50 an hour.
Offering a flat rate for (effectively) unlimited access is therefore likely the only way they can offer the service.

2004-04-27 05:18:25
micropayment == macrocost
They offer the service regardless of the number of customers they actually get.

As the consumer, I do not care what their costs are. I care what my costs are, and the cost is too much for me.

2006-04-24 15:06:37
They charge you, let you connect to your VPN, then nothing after that. You cannot even locate the phone# to cancel the 24 hour use charge.