Brendan Nee

Boingo Wi-Fi sucks

August 4th, 2008

Warning: Rant below

I decided to take a last minute trip to Belize with Lisa to meet up with Jed who has been traveling around Mexico for the last few weeks. Lisa found a $360 ticket at 8 PM leaving at 12:30 AM so we packed, hit up a Taqueria for a goodbye burrito and beer and BARTed to SFO.

I had some last minute work I had to get done this morning, and a 3 hour layover at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. I haven’t jailbroken my old-school iphone since I upgraded the firmware, so I didn’t have a good way to tether it to my laptop, nor did I have an SSH application on my phone, so I had to buy the $7.95 airport wifi provided by Boingo.

I opened up firefox and after sitting through a flash intro on the boingo website, I entered my credit card info. After a confirmation screen, I was presented with the data I had entered and asked to download the GoBoingo Utility, an application that could run on my PC and notify me whenever I am within range of a Boingo hotspot. Clicking “Download and Install” was the only way to continue purchasing internet access.

Only after beginning the download was the page redirected to the page announcing that my credit card info was incorrect. I retyped my info and even tried a different credit card with no success. Noticing how quirky the website was, I decided to open Internet Explorer just to see if perhaps this form couldn’t be completed in Firefox.

After downloading the GoBoingo toolbar for the 6th time (this time in IE) I was given a page showing that my credit card details had worked.

Not only did they make me download unwanted software (note: you just had to download the .exe file, it is up to you to install it) but I had to use IE. What if I was using a mac? Would I have been locked out of wifi at George Bush Intercontinental?

I was able to complete the necessary work before getting on my plane to Belize. If you ever run across a boingo hotspot, make sure you are using IE.