Want Free Airport Wi-Fi? LAX Says Yes With a Hitch

Phew! My hometown airport — Los Angeles International Airport — will begin offering free Wi-Fi service beginning as early as this summer.

Los Angeles International Airport
Alan Levenson | Getty Images
Los Angeles International Airport

LAX was ranked the "most social" of all airports worldwide recently based on the number of check-ins to Facebook and other services, but lacked free Internet. On Tuesday, though, it was confirmed via a press release that the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved a $663,333 two-year agreement with Advanced Wireless Group LLC to provide free Wi-Fi service to travelers.

But it comes with a slight catch. Passengers will be able to use basic Wi-Fi services for free on sessions lasting up to 45 minutes. Uninterrupted service after that grace period will still come at a yet undetermined price for a 24 hour session.

I'll take it, though.

Personally, 45 minutes is all I need while I'm in the terminal. I realize not everyone has an airline lounge membership. But after I check in and pass through security, I settle into the lounge which provides free Wi-Fi. When I leave and head to the gate, however, I sometimes feel naked without it. Cell service can be spotty in some areas of LAX from which to access a 3G or 4G network. The free service for a limited time comes as a welcome relief to this tech-addicted road warrior.

Presently, T-Mobile provides Wi-Fi service at LAX at a cost of $9.99 per session. But they told Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) that they will no longer provide Internet services as part of its business model.

Nearby Burbank Bob Hope Airport has offered free (unlimited) Wi-Fi for years. Other airports across the country that offer free Wi-Fi include:

  • Denver International Airport
  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport
  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (coming September 2012)