Long lines, delayed flights, and the threat of swine flu were enough to make me rethink my Thanksgiving travel plans this year. But Google gave me something to cheer about this holiday season with free WiFi on Virgin America flights and in 47 airports across the US between November 10, 2009 and January 15, 2010.
I first tested out the free WiFi on my recent flight aboard Virgin America from LAX to Boston on the busiest travel day of the year. I was impressed with the high speed connection and uninterrupted service. My only complaint is that the passenger next to me talked to his daughter through skype during the entire flight.
As if free WiFi wasn’t enough, Google is really getting into the spirit of the season by offering to double donations to three chosen charities for all those that log on and donate. Travelers will have the option make a donation to Engineers Without Borders, the One Economy Corporation or the Climate Savers Computing Initiative once they log on to networks in any of the participating airports. Google will match the donations made across all the networks up to $250,000, and the airport network that generates the highest amount per passenger by January 1, 2010 will receive $15,000 to donate to the local nonprofit of their choice.
If you have some extra time in between surfing the free internet, Virgin and Google are also running a photo contest. Just send in your best shot showing how you use technology to “stay connected” to those you care about by December 16th. The lucky winner gets a pack of ten round-trip tickets on Virgin America.
More information about the networks, including a full list of participating airports, is available at www.freeholidaywifi.com.
Thanks Google for all the holiday spirit!