Wi-Fi: Adults : : Cartoons: Children

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It started in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport then it spread to Las Vegas McCarran Airport. Last week when I was in Detroit Metrpolitan Airport I heard the announcement, “Wi-Fi is now available free throughout the North Terminal.”

There’s a fee for everything now including silly departure taxes, so why do more and more airports provide free Wi-Fi?

The answer: Wi-Fi: Adults : : Cartoons: Children

When we used to take an annual 18 hour trip from Michigan to Florida my parents would dream up innovative ways to keep us busy and more importantly quiet. My sister and I used to write down the license plates of cars that sped by which often got contentious because she wouldn’t share all her recordings, a violation of the Freedom of Information Act. When we upgraded from the Chevy Conversion van to the Toyota Previa, I brought a ‘portable’ TV that had a built in VHS so I could watch recorded episodes of Family Matters and Step by Step. That made the trip slightly more tolerable.

The same strategy applies for passengers waiting in the departure terminal. Back in the day, nobody had cell phones to pass the time making them more sensitive to any delays announced by the airline. Passengers sat at the gate anxiously staring at the departure time (not electronically displayed) and dreaded when the airline attendant changed the placard to read ‘delayed.’ Today, everyone’s heads are pointed down at their phone, undoubtedly leaving us all with a degenerative neck condition in the future, as we pretend to care about the Facebook status of our acquaintances. But even spotty 3G service was not enough to keep us distracted from inclement weather, equipment failures, and other random excuses why our flights would not depart on time.

So, and I’m serious when I say this, the geniuses at the airlines teamed up with the airport and pushed for free Wi-Fi keeping us constantly busy and unaware. Now, besides being able to read the mobile ESPN page, we are able to blog, watch HBO GO cartoons, and catch up on life as we wait to leave. Evidence to support my claim comes from a personal experience when I didn’t even hear that my gate had been changed because I was too fixated on writing a post about how angry I am.

Speaking of which, I need to see if my flight to Helsinki is on time.

Näkemiin everyone!

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