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.
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.

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