Monday, July 4, 2011

Wifi/Internet access while traveling - why is it so frustrating still?

In the year 2011, I am baffled at how it is still so difficult to get internet/wifi access while traveling internationally.

My experience in the Singapore airport (not exactly the middle of nowhere) was emblematic of my entire 3 week trip through S.E. asia. I arrive at the Singapore airport and see a sign for free wifi. Great. I open up my phone, find the right connection and . . . I need a username and password. I ask the ticket counter for the username and password and am instructed to go to the information desk. I ask at the information desk and am told to go to the "lost and found". No joke. At the lost and found, after waiting for all the poor people who lost their luggage, I am told that I have to give them my passport (my passport?). After writing down some information from my passport I am handed a sheet of paper with a long string of digits and numbers that is my username and an equally long string of digits that is my password. After inputting all of this I finally get access to the painfully slow wifi network.

I head through security and after getting through open my iPhone again to finish reading my email, only to find that I have to log in again!? At this point, I've spent about 30 minutes on this and it's basically time for me to board anyway.