Free WiFi at foreign airports is a mixed blessing (sometimes a curse)

At a recent flight from SFO to BOM, I had an hour long stop-over at the Hong Kong airport. Like all enlightened airports, HKG offers free WiFi for its travelers – excellent idea! Right?

Well, kinda. Because it’s free, everybody and their favorite smartphone, their kids with their iPads, and all businessmen with their chunky laptops – all of them were connected, and I’m sure half of them were streaming something or the other.

And, of course, people like me, who had some very serious business to attend to (for real) couldn’t get through. No emails downloaded, no websites accessed; in fact, I couldn’t even get on their WiFi – even when I was getting a full signal (according to my MacBook anyway).

This definitely made me yearn for the days when one had to pay to get WiFi. I’d think even a nominal charge would weed out people whose devices are merely syncing email because they happen to be connected, and those that can afford a buck or two (no more, please!) would be able to get to whatever they need to.

Amit

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