Pay-phone modems were just the begining. Today, airports offer you private offices, T-1 lines, Internet kiosks, even broadband access. And wait until you learn what those pay phones can do now.
Give me your tired, your hungry hunting for dataports, your weary waiting for Internet kiosks, your desperate seeking to download on deadline. And you will find freedom. At least this is the golden promise held aloft by the handful of companies rushing to offer new Internet services at airports.
Their ideal customer? You. The frequent business traveler, a species that makes almost two business trips each month and accounts for more than half of all business trips, often with laptop in tow, as defined by the Travel Industry Association of America.
Their ideal situation? A captive audience of customers with more than an hour to wait, on average, in an airport - and with a burning desire to squeeze productive time from downtime.
"I saw a guy twisted like a pretzel on the floor [of one big airport], plugging the line from his laptop into a pay phone to check his e-mail," says Francie Mendelsohn, president of Summit Research Associates, a Rockville, Maryland, consulting firm devoted to Internet kiosks.
You may have been that guy once or twice. But never fear - help is near. Besides the modem hookups sometimes found on pay phones and the services in airline membership clubs, such as American's Admirals Clubs, you'll find a variety of new or about-to-be-launched methods for getting online in airports. We scoured the globe to bring you this handy guide to where, when, and how you can log on while on the road.