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Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Dave!Because Horizon Air is systematically cutting the most critical flights to/from Wenatchee (probably in an effort to shut down the airport and blame it on lack of passengers so they don't have to bother with us anymore), I am stuck in Seattle overnight. My "connecting" flight doesn't leave until 10:10 tomorrow morning. Since this is over 12 hours from when I landed, they couldn't even check my bag through. I had to wait at baggage claim and collect it so I can turn around and check it in again tomorrow.

Flying keeps sucking more and more ass due to the shitty US economy coupled with rising fuel prices, and there's no end in sight. More and more flights will be canceled. More and more routes will be eliminated. And more and more smaller cities will lose their airports. You could blame the airlines, but they're just doing what they can to stay in business. Isn't everybody now-a-days?

But that's not my main gripe tonight.

My rant for the evening will be about internet service at hotels.

I am 100% against having to pay for internet at hotels. It should be included in the cost of your room. The stupid thing is that most hotels contract out the internet service to third parties, which is probably more expensive than if they had just set it up themselves and offered it for free to their guests. Ironically, most of the time it's the cheaper hotels who offer excellent free internet, whereas the more expensive hotels have shitty paid internet.

As an example, my very nice hotel in Maui makes you pay for internet through ClearWire.

This pisses me off but, once I get past my anger, my expectations are running pretty high. If I am paying for the internet, it had better be the best fucking internet access ever, or I'm just going to get enraged.

But, of course, it's not. It never is.

ClearWire provided me with unbelievably shitty internet access which dumped me after only one hour of my twenty-four hour period had elapsed. To make matters worse, ClearWire wouldn't let me back on, telling me my login was invalid and I need to pay for another 24 hours or access.

A call to their technical support department resulted in me being put on hold for 20 minutes.

The problem was never resolved. They say they've credited me for the money they charged me, but I'm not overly optimistic because I never got a credit slip emailed to me.

As a result of such horrendously shitty internet service that I'm forced to fucking PAY for, I don't know if I will ever stay at that hotel again. They're potentially losing a good customer because they're too stupid to understand that internet access should be included in the room charge and have free access so guests don't have to put up with technical problems and other bullshit that comes from having a pay-to-use system.

From now on my hotel choices will be made on whether or not they charge for internet.

Maybe if all travelers boycotted hotels with shitty third-party pay-for-use systems, the hotels would eventually see the light and do the right thing for their customers.

And wouldn't that be a pleasant change for once?

Categories: Travel 2008Click To It: Permalink


  1. Winter says:

    I’ve gotten really cynical about the things in life that will work or be fair. Maybe it’s because when something does go right, the delight feels so good.

  2. martin says:

    Dave, with you all the way. We stay at a budget hotel chain when we travel around France. Free internet included in the €39 charge($57) for two people, and breakfast as well. Safe journey home.

  3. kapgar says:

    What I hate is when hotel information says they have free wifi and, when you show up, they say they’ve changed providers and it’s no longer free but their info hasn’t been upgraded yet. I’ve had that happen.

  4. Avitable says:

    I’ve always thought the same thing about charging for local calls, as well. It’s just greedy.

  5. Arwen says:

    The Hilton chains have just changed their reward program so that people who have a certain status with them can choose to get free breakfast OR free internet while they stay. Since the breakfast often blows chunks, I changed to the free internet. I am with you, internet, wi-fi in particular, should be free.

  6. Nat says:

    The whole internet thing kills me. Why is it that a teenie itty bitty motel it Port aux Basques, Newfoundland pop. 300 has more reliable internet than the very awful Holiay Inn in St. John’s (free but not wireless and slow as hell). I don’t understand.

  7. Poppy says:

    I really don’t think most hotel chains understand that poor wireless access is BAD customer service. They’re providing you access! For a fee! See the value?! YAH!

    When, in the end, it’s horrible customer service to offer something shitty for a fee.

  8. Fogspinner says:

    But be sure to tell them you are not staying. Before your next trip call whoever would be in charge of caring about this and say “I would love to stay at your lovely hotel but since you do not offer free internet I’ll be staying at THIS lovely hotel that does for X amount of days.”

    You need to tell someone higher up than the local motel also or it may never go higher. They need to know why people aren’t staying and how much money they are losing for it to matter.

    We did this with another totally unrelated matter and it worked. After two years of several people saying “we would have come and brought X amount with us if you had changed X,Y or Z”, they changed.

  9. Sorata says:

    A friend of mine came visit me in Hong Kong last year. Being the rich-I-don’t-need-to-work-anymore-because-I-invested-in-the-stock-market kinda guy he is, he stayed at a pretty good hotel. It came down to that he had to pay a ridiculous amount for internet that he couldn’t even enjoy in his own room during the stay. How screwed up is that?

    I say free internet FTW!

  10. awytch says:

    Verizon is offering wireless free internet modems for laptops with a service plan:

    (BroadbandAccess and NationalAccess Compatible

    Rev. A Capable: Typical download speeds of 600–1400 kbps and upload speeds of 500–800 kbps)

    Apparently they say it works anywhere, might be cheaper than trying to find a hotel that actually delivers good internet, you just take it with you all the time!

    Sorry your flight home was distrupted so rudely.

  11. I’m with you! And what Adam said too.

  12. Mr. K says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, Dave. I just paid $202 a night at the Las Vegas Hilton only to be charged $12.95 for 24/h internet. Ridiculous! Every Red Roof Inn has complimentary internet … hrmpf.

  13. sue says:

    Can I just say, “Welcome Home”… and good, god, man! What gorgeous pictures! I’m so jealous.

  14. I share your frustration, but keep in mind that hotels are facing many of the same pressures as the airline industry. All the ticky-tacky fees help keep them profitable. It’s not just internet — I’d bet that your Maui hotel charged you at least $7 a day in “resort fees”, and at least $5 per day for self-parking (more for valet).

    I much prefer staying in condos or vacation rentals. We’ve been renting the same condo in Kihei every time we visit, for 8 years now. And they’ve recently added free wifi.

  15. usedtobeme says:

    I feel the same way about internet and the phone charge. Even if I don’t use the phone it still costs me a buck a day. Irritating at best.

    I’d write the hotel a letter and let them know you won’t be coming back and why. I felt better after I did that once (which had nothing to do with the free upgrades they offered).

  16. RaleighRob says:

    Seriously…they don’t charge for cable, water, linens or power. Then why the heck should internet or local telephone calls cost anything? Should all be included as part of the package.

  17. Kim says:

    I know, the last time I took Horizon Air they were two hours late…which is nothing compared to waiting 12 hours but still pretty annoying.

  18. Stacey says:

    Free wifi is on the “must have” list when I’m picking a hotel, and I don’t hesitate to call a hotel and ask. If they don’t have it, I’ll tell them that’s a dealbreaker, and we’ll be finding another place. Fortunately, it’s getting easier to find hotels that offer it.

  19. diane says:

    My boyfriend always does extensive research into the internet options before we book a hotel. It’s paid off quite well for us.

  20. When I stayed in New York earlier in the year I was in a really nice hotel (thank you my employer) and they wanted to charge $15.00 for 24 hours. No thanks.

    Of course, there were 5 wide open wireless access points in range so I just used those. Yay for people who don’t know that you can secure your wireless routers.

  21. Solidarity, baby! I’m with you!

  22. Jeff says:

    I’m with you 1000% on that one. In fact, on my recent trip around the Great Lakes, I didn’t choose one hotel for that very reason. So count me in on the movement!

  23. Is there a way to use your iPhone as an internet provider so you can avoid those fees and accompanying crappy service? Maybe I’m just dreaming.

  24. ChillyWilly says:

    I only stay at Hilton Hotels when I can because MOST of their hotel brands have free and awesome internet that just works.

    And the few times there’s been problems, they’ve been very accommodating and got me back up in a matter of minutes.

  25. Whitenoise says:

    Don’t hold your breath. The pay-for-phonecalls scheme was supposed to be temporary as hotels transitioned to and paid off “expensive” PBX systems in the early ’90s. As you can see- they’ve been really good about eliminating those charges… Just like cars, electronics and just about everything- the profit’s in the upgrades.

  26. Whitenoise says:

    Oh, and- hey, I just ordered an iPhone… lookit me! I’m an apple guy! 😉

  27. When it’s just free in the lobby it’s really annoying.

    When went to London I called in advance and made sure the free WiFi was in the rooms and not just the lobby; they verified that fact for me. When I got there no free WiFi was available at all.

    Next time I’ll make them type it in the comments so it’s on my confirmation.

    AND I agree. Hotels free internet is the best, the easiest to use and generally faster. Personally, I’ll pick one hotel with free over another.

    On a side note: Conferences and meetings I’ve been attending lately have been negotiating free internet in with the rooms if you register with the conference code (these were mostly education and/or tech conferences). So if anyone reading this plans such things check into it. And then tell the attendees so that they don’t leave the laptop at home 🙂

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