The Ubiquitous Internet

On my recent travels, I found that many hotels are now offering Internet access for free–not the high end hotels, where they charge for everything, but the 2-3 star hotels that need some marketing hook to pack the rooms. I booked two rooms through blind bidding (one through Priceline, the other through HotWire) and both had free Internet access. Bonanza! I felt like I hit the jackpot. We haven’t quite gotten to the point where I am assured of being able to find free Internet on the road, but it seems to be getting closer.

Listen up, hotel operators. Where I have a choice of hotels and your competition is offering free Internet access and a competitive room rate, you will lose my business every time. I’m too cheap to pay for access (or I may have difficulty getting it reimbursed), but it absolutely makes my travel experience better!

In a similar vein, I note that United Airlines has been given the green light to offer Internet access during flights. I’m sure this will be too pricey for me, at least initially, but the die seems cast–in the future, I will have continuous access to the Internet when flying, when staying at my hotel, when waiting in the airport, hanging out at restaurants or coffee shops. Eventually, the Internet will truly be everywhere.

UPDATE: NYT readers vent about wi-fi charges at hotels.