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Power to the people … just not in Dallas/Fort Worth

February 22, 2007

I flew out to California for the Podcast and Portable Media Expo last September, and had layovers in Dallas/Fort Worth airport both coming and going.

DFW outlet (Flickr user Gruntzooki)Me and my wife are both PC junkies. We both lugged our laptop PCs and iPods along for the ride and had no problem logging into the airport wireless internet in either Baltimore’s BWI airport (our “home” location) or the Ontario (Calif.) airport.

Both had open power outlets near the terminal’s seating areas which we both could access and plug into to feed our hungry laptops.

But in Dallas/Fort Worth … **shudder** … it was a nightmare to do anything digital. Outlets on the wall gave no power (we thought they weren’t even connected to any power line…), and we could not access the airport’s Wi-fi Internet network, no matter what we tried.

So it’s no surprise to me that Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing today posts a story about Dallas/Fort Worth airport installing “pay for power” outlets around its terminal.

Only $2 for activation. That’s one of the biggest rip-offs I’ve ever heard. But that explains why the wall outlets didn’t work when we visited…

Cory mentions that Chicago’s O’Hare airport is putting in free outlets for flyers. And a update note on his post from Technology Evangelist says that Minneapolis/St. Paul airport is now charging $3 per 30 MINUTES of power, for charging ANY electronic device on a terminal outlet.

Simply crazy! What does that one user’s power cost the airport or the municipal authority? Pennies?

Profiting off of your guests is very unwelcoming, and I hope my next cross-country flight layovers in the Windy City — my next stop at DFW can’t be far enough away.

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