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July 27, 2021

How to hunt down free airport Wi-Fi

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

If you’ve ever bummed it in Europe, your Visa takes some incredible hits.

My own recent trip provided some noteworthy examples of misspending, like staying in Venice for more than 45 minutes and splurging for undercooked Santorini swordfish that would later evacuate my entire body faster than a fire drill at Usain Bolt’s house.

But of all the unnecessary charges I levied upon myself, few compared to the bucks I was laying down for airport Wi-Fi.

See, I’m not very smart. I planned my trip on the go, which constituted a lot of surfing for flights and lodging while I waited in the nearest terminal.

And as you might have heard, wireless Internet inside the world’s major airports can cost you as much as $20 an hour to use.

The gang over at Wisebread think they’ve got a fix for this problem, though, and it goes something like this:

A good chunk of international airports offer Wi-Fi through a provider called Boingo, which operates everywhere from Munich and Hong Kong to Cancun and New York.

When you try to log into Boingo, there’s a slot to enter a promotional code. According to Wisebread, you can find the digits to bypass the pricey login fee by doing one of two things.

First – Wisebread says – many gift shops offer coupons for 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi, but if that doesn’t work, apparently any call to the Boingo customer service line (toll-free, 1-800-880-4117) will land you a complimentary code to get you online without charge.

The Boingo plan sounds pretty good, I have to say, yet I did some more digging and it turns out you might be able to get free airport Wi-Fi at a lot more locales without having to dial into a customer service line.

Sites like Wi-Fi Freespot and Travelpost give you a pretty comprehensive list of which areas in what airports you can land a free connection without being an airline VIP.

While you might have to resort to the Boingo trick in some of the bigger international airports, there are some surprising spots to keep an eye out for in, say, Canada.

At Halifax International, for example, you should be able to get online for free in the Air Terminal centre court area and between gates 15-20 on the departures level. At Pearson, in Toronto, the Expedia Restaurant in the Air Canada terminal reportedly gives away the goods, too.

In any case, if you’re bringing a computer with you abroad and have some time to kill, keep those sites in mind, especially Travelpost.

Could save you a good chunk of change in the long run. Or, in my case, several, several litres of bodily fluids.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...