Hans D. Baumeister

Hans D. Baumeister

"Free" Internet at Brussels Airport

Ok, I've seen quite a number of airports in my life - and nowadays, most of them do offer free internet access via Wifi. Yes, there will be the obligatory "check here to agree to our terms" bit, but usually, you don't have to register with personal data in order to use Wifi.

Not so at Brussels BRU airport! They expect you to create an account, filled with lots of personal information, in order to get access:

BRU_Data_Wifi

That doesn't show what is above these fields - you also need to give them your mobile number so that they can text you a registration code… and yes, ALL of these fields are requirements.
I put in a bunch of crap, of course, but the system balked at the entered birthdate (in 2003) calling it "not valid"… what, a 13-year-old can't use this service?

Oh, lets have a look at the Terms of Use:

BRU_Terms_Wifi

Well that is very comprehensive… mind you, it doesn't matter wether you click on "Terms of Use" during registration or any of the links on the login screen:

BRU_Login

To put the icing on the cake, once I had everything entered and corrected, the system came back with:

BRU_Error

So needless to say, I gave up.
This airport rocks! Just like the city does!
And yes, that IS sarcasm…


Comments

What is it about power outlets in airports?

Okay, folks. What is this thing about power outlets at airport gates? Or rather, the lack thereof? I’ve previously blogged about this regarding Schipol airport, but this is the case at most airports I know. This time round, it is Copenhagen.

Occasionally, you’ll find an airport that has retrofitted some unused space to a „business area”, with small stand-up cubicles sporting one or two outlets each. At Frankfurt Airport, you can find „mobile phone charging stations” - but no outlets at the gates.

What are the operating companies afraid of? That power-hungry travelers with starving laptops might double their operating expenses?

Every time I look in vain for an outlet somewhere - anywhere - near a gate, I always wonder how they vacuum the place. Do the cleaning personnel sport rechargeable Dysons? Or have vacuum cleaners also been taken out of the budget; after all, you can usually do a similarly good job with a broom.

Seriously, in my frequent traveling, I’ve plugged into spare outlets behind soda machines as well as received friendly support from bar personnel, by plugging me in at a hidden outlet behind the bar.

There are airports that accommodate travelers with laptops by providing one or two (wow!) outlets per gate. Usually, far enough away from a seat so that the poor bloke has to single him or herself out by sitting on the floor.

My plea to all operators of airports: please give us juice!
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Powerless in Schipol

Okay, I travel quite a bit. And like most people, I use a mobile phone. I tend to use it a lot, which leads to frequent charging. Sometimes, it is even necessary to give it a short boost of energy while waiting for a plane.

Let me state an assumption. It is my belief, that a good chunk of bottom-line profit of most airports in Europe comes from business travel. Would you agree? If I look around me while waiting for my delayed flight from Schipol to Frankfurt, I see a lot of laptops and Blackberrys in action.

So you would think that an airport would be interested in catering to their business customers, no?
No. Not at Schipol (and a lengthy list of other airports around the world). While I’ve seen special “laptop and mobile phone charging stations” at airports in the U.S., I don’t recall coming by one of those in Europe.

I spent a good fifteen minutes at Schipol today, frantically looking for an outlet so that I could keep my mobile phone alive. I did pass a guy that had struck gold in an outlet probably made for cleaning machines. Needless to say, he had to sit on the cold floor to charge and use his laptop.

The ultimate non-business-friendly airport is King Khaled Airport Riyadh. I don’t know how they vacuum or polish the floors there - they apparently have no outlets at all - anywhere! Maybe all the cleaning equipment in use there is battery powered, who knows.

Is my sucking of a couple of watthours of current really going to affect Schipol’s bottom line? I highly doubt it. Please folks, get some access to power outlets set up for us poor folks that depend on our electronic communications equipment to ensure that our employer makes enough profit to buy more airline tickts, a healthy portion of which goes towards the airports those planes fly out of and into.
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