Written: June 7, 2012

Airport WiFi Done Right and Wrong

This week I traveled from Portland to San Francisco on Sunday, then returned last night. In the air travel lingo we call Portland by its airport code of PDX and San Francisco as SFO.

At PDX they have done free WiFi right, because you can access the Internet and show your boarding pass on your smart phone instead of printing it out on paper only to recycle it again.

 

On the return flight from SFO it wasn’t so simple because I received an email confirmation with a link to get my boarding pass which worked when I approached security however when I clicked the link at the gate then the WiFi at SFO wanted me to acknowledge terms and conditions then didn’t continue on to show the board pass. So, in a Catch 22 I had to ask the United check-in person to instead read my driver’s license to authenticate me.

Talking of travel I discovered two new odd TSA facts:

1) TSA first asks to see your boarding pass and ID, then waives you into a line where you place your bags on the belt for screening. Then the second TSA person at the screening asks to see your boarding pass again, even though it was just checked 10 seconds ago by another person. Is asking to see my boarding pass twice really necessary? Are they just making more work for themselves?

2) I was told to take out my laptop, which I did along with my iPad. The TSA person said, “No iPads, keep that in the bag.” I wanted to stop and argue the point that an iPad was a computer, and that it was probably more sophisticated than my laptop and also from a security viewpoint it was just as easy to conceal explosives. I just remained silent because we all know what happens when you argue with the Federal Government.

Summary

Thank you PDX for offering free WiFi that works with paperless boarding passes.

SFO, you need to come visit the friendly people in PDX to use their free WiFi system instead of yours, because what you have is broken.

 

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