Google is planning to foot the bill for WiFi at 47 of the nation’s airports for the rest of the year, beginning Tuesday.
With some travelers spending more time on the ground in airports than on planes during the busy flying season, now seemed an especially fitting time to offer up the perk, Google said.
The list includes the international airports in Miami and Orlando, which are among the world’s 30 busiest airports, as well as five others in Florida. Travelers through smaller airports, such as Montana’s Billings and Bozeman, will also benefit.
Upon signing in, users will be asked if they want to set Google as their homepage or try the Google Chrome browser.
The company is also running a charity campaign to raise money for three nonprofit groups: Engineers without Borders, One Economy Corporation and Climate Savers Computing Initiative. When Google WiFi users first log on, the landing page will offer them the option of donating to the organizations. Google will match donations of up to $250,000 per airport.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- British police have charged a United Airlines pilot with being over the alcohol limit while on the job at London’s Heathrow Airport. Scotland Yard say they have charged 51-year-old Erwin Vermont Washington with having too much alcohol in his system while working as a member of aviation staff. Police and airline officials say that Washington was pulled from United Airlines Flight 949, due to fly from London’s Heathrow Airport to Chicago around noon on Monday, after a co-worker suspected him of being drunk. The flight was canceled and the plane’s 124 passengers were put on other flights.
- The Air Transport Association said Monday it expects a 4% decline in the number of people traveling over the Thanksgiving Day holiday, reflecting the erosion in demand with the smaller economy. But with seat-capacity cuts and steep airfare discounting across the industry, planes are likely to remain full, the trade group said. The busiest travel days are expected to be Nov. 20, 25, 29 and 30.
- Continental Airlines has started offering wider, lie-flat sleeper seats on long-haul international routes to catch up with some of its top rivals. British Airways and Delta Air Lines, competitors in the New York market, already offer business class lie-flat seats on many routes. The maiden voyage of Continental’s new seats, on a Boeing 777, flew a week ago to Newark Liberty International Airport from Tokyo.
- Air Canada announced it will now automatically notify travelers about canceled trips through e-mail and text messaging, aiming to ease airport lineups and waits for the call center. Canada’s largest carrier will also provide details directly to consumers about rebooked flights. During last winter’s Christmas holidays, Air Canada was flooded with complaints after being forced to cancel or delay flights due to snowstorms.
The Wall Street Journal reports that many airlines may be in violation of federal rules by “limiting reimbursement” when a traveler’s baggage is lost, delayed or damaged on domestic flights, and the federal government is finally cracking down to help consumers.
According to the article, a number of airlines will pay for expenses only after the first 24 hours from a flight’s arrival. Additionally, many airlines also put a limit on what they’ll offer to pay passengers per day for expenses related to the lost luggage – which the DOT says is a violation of its domestic baggage-liability rule. The only limit allowed, the agency says, is that total liability for lost domestic baggage is $3,300 per passenger, including replacement costs and incidental expenses.
‘”Travelers should not have to pay for toiletries or other necessities while they wait for baggage misplaced by airlines,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “We expect airlines to comply with all of our regulations and will take enforcement action if they do not.”‘
The DOT has given airlines 90 days to modify their rules and practices before the agency launches any enforcement actions.
Here’s more travel news you can use:
- Air New Zealand is conducting a “Matchmaking Flight” in which single passengers participate in speed dating and matchmaking games. Many of these traveling singles have already gotten a sneak peek at some of the folks they’ll be meeting along the way via online profiles posted on the airline’s social media website (check them out at thematchmakingflight.com).
- Air Canada now offers both free BlackBerry and iPhone applications for travellers. Travellers with BlackBerry smartphones will be able to get real-time flight information from Air Canada, which claims to be the first North American carrier to offer such a service. The BlackBerry app will also provide information for Jazz flights, the Halifax-based regional carrier. Travellers will be able get electronic boarding passes and other flight details such as delays and itinerary changes. The airline also is planning to offer WiFi services on some flights to the U.S west coast.
- Manchester UK Airport has admitted it might be illegal for children to use its new “nude” security scanner when it comes into operation at the end of the month. ( The full body scanner reveals everything under clothing… in detail.) The airport has now said that no one under 18 will be subject to scanning until it can clarify the law on indecent images of children.