The customer rants that drove MSP Airport to offer free WiFi

Runways at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, which is now offering no-charge wireless internet.
Runways at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, which is now offering no-charge wireless internet.

MSP Airport is the best in the whole country, flyers say

For four to five years, the lack of free wireless access at MSP Airport has been travelers' top complaint. Turns out, they ranted enough that the Metropolitan Airports Commission listened.

On Monday, the commission announced that Advanced Wireless Group will be bringing a no-charge internet connection to MSP. The Miami-based WiFi provider beat out two other companies for the job, one from Minneapolis and one from L.A. By October, travelers will be able to get online after watching a short commercial, no credit card required.

Curious about the internet-deprived flyers who spurred the change, we took a look at some of their complaints. The angry comment-writers call the WiFi charges a "shakedown" and "Minnesota nice," label the airport heads "clowns," rechristen Minnesota the "land of 10,000 taxes," and suggest that MSP "sort your shit out."

Then there's our favorite.

That one, from March, takes the form of a fully thought-out letter, detailing how the writer "contribut[ed] to the local economy in Minneapolis" at the airport, including purchases of a magazine (Sports Illustrated), a book ("John LeCarre's latest... I found it kinda overrated") and food (Quizno's steak sandwich).

Halfway through the paragraph, he takes a sharp turn, writing, "It's nothing but sheer greed" to charge for WiFi. "For that, I say: 'Shame on you.' Actually... let me rephrase that:  'Fuck you. Fuck you hard, you sons of bitches.'"

He concludes, "Next time, I'll fly through Wisconsin."

Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, says, "A major airport is really nothing like a coffee shop when it comes to the WiFi infrastructure needed."

The airport had to determine an affordable plan to make 2 million square-feet of public terminal space wireless, and to accommodate 33 million travelers--potential bandwith-users--per year.

"MSP was one of the early adopters of public WiFi." Hogan says. "At that time, very few airports offered it at all, and I don't know of any major airports that offered it for free."

Now, Advanced Wireless will front the money necessary to install the new system, and then split revenue from the commercials and from a paid, premium service option with the airport.

Check out the best of the complaints on the next page.
In reverse-chronological order:

Friday, May 04, 2012 10:50 AM
Airports that charge for wifi ought to rot in hell. They are to be avoided with reasonable inconvenience. You should be ashamed.

Saturday, March 03, 2012 7:07 PM
Dear MSP- I recently changed planes at your airport. All in all, it was a decent experience. I've always found your airport to be clean, easy to navigate, and full of a decent range of options for food. While I was there, I purchased a magazine (Sports Illustrated, to be specific), a steak sandwich from Quizno's, a book (John LeCarre's latest... I found it kinda overrated, for what it's worth), a bottle of water, and a cup of coffee. For a roughly 2 hour layover, I feel like I spent a decent chunk of change. I was happy to do it. I have no problem whatsoever with contributing to the local economy in Minneapolis. Plus, it's just the cost of traveling. I've gotta eat & have some way to entertain myself on the flight. I do, however, have a problem with the fact that all that wasn't good enough for you. Nope. You still had to gouge me out of $9.95 (with easy recurring monthly charges!!!!) to access WiFi. For that, I say: "Shame on you." Actually... let me rephrase that: "Fuck you. Fuck you hard, you sons of bitches." There are dozens of major airports across North America that provide free Wi-Fi. You really need to stop screwing over people and do the same. It's nothing but sheer greed to do otherwise. You're taking advantage of the fact that we're captive & we don't have any choice. It's shameful. And, again, for that I say: "Fuck you." Next time, I'll fly through Wisconsin.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 11:33 AM
I found myself with a layover at your airport only to discover that, to access my email, I faced a $5 dollar minimum shakedown. As a frequent traveler, I've found free wifi access is a given. Your reluctance to provide it is inhospitable, I guess what's known as Minnesota nice.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:39 PM
Unbelievable that you clowns are trying to charge for wifi access. I am quite certain that the fees you charge airlines as well as the passenger fees more than justify complimentary access. I travel every week and I cannot remember an airport that is still trying to do this. Very passenger unfriendly. I will certainly be commenting about this on travel sites and message boards.

Really?  I have to PAY for wifi at MSP?  Fucking weak.  No one else does that.  Sort your shit out.

Monday, July 16, 2012 9:48 AM
Why in the world does a "major" airport not provide free wi-fi?  You are kidding me with this place right?

Congratulations.  You're one of 2 airports in the U.S. who charges for internet.  No doubt so you can give some deserving crony a big fat corporate welfare check-land of 10,000 taxes.

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