Nothing like hanging out at the airport, while your minor flight delay ticks over into its 2nd hour. And for what? A red-eye that plunks you down at Aunt Martha’s table, in front of a plate of dry turkey? Ugh. The indignity of sitting in one of those stiff, immovable multi-seats is only matched by the discomfort. All the while, you’re just waiting there, wondering how you got hoodwinked into yet another extended family get-together.
Well buck up, weary flyer. Google knows. Google cares. And it has something to make your holiday travel a little less annoying: Free Wifi. The search (voice, nav, cell, everything) giant is opening its massive wallet to spring for hotspots in 47 different airports now through January 15, 2010. And if you’re taking Virgin America, it gets even better. Google’s providing free in-flight Wifi between now and January 15, as well.
In the spirit of giving, Wifi users will be asked if they want to donate to one of three charities: Engineers Without Borders, the One Economy Corporation or the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. Google will match all donations up to $250,000 (though I’m pretty sure if you have that much money to give away, you’re probably not sitting around in an airport, but waiting on a heli-pad for your private copter.) The airport that raises the most funds will get an extra $15,000 to give to a local charity.
The only real bummer here is that the list of participating airports doesn’t include such biggies as LAX, JFK, ORD or LGA. To find out if your hub is offering free Wifi, click here.