Wi-Fi for high fliers as Aer Lingus sets up hotspot

16 Dec 2003

Mobile operator O2 has inked a deal with Aer Lingus whereby the first wireless hotspot will be established at Dublin Airport in Aer Lingus’ Gold Circle and Premier Class Lounge.

The wireless local area network (WLAN) service, also known as Wi-Fi, will be made available to travellers who wish to access the internet or their corporate VPN (virtual private network) through a laptop computer or PDA at speeds of up to 11Mb/s over the wireless service.

Business travellers that wish to access the WLAN can do so in a number of ways: by buying a voucher for €10 (one hours coverage) or €20 (24 hours coverage); by contract with O2 for a fixed monthly subscription of €10 plus €2 for every 20 minutes; or by session charge for occasional users of €3 for every 20 minutes.

It is understood that O2 has invested some €2m in WLAN technology and has some 20 locations live around the country. The operator also received Government funding for rolling out WLAN at two sites in the West of Ireland and two in Dublin.

According to Fintan Lonergan, the head of marketing at Aer Lingus, a number of the airline’s passengers were already using conventional internet access through fixed points within the Gold and Premier Lounges. “Many of these passengers are familiar with wireless LAN as they use it to access the Internet when abroad.

“Wireless LAN is the perfect solution for us as it allows an unlimited number of our passengers to avail of speedy access to the Internet, on demand, right up to the time they leave the lounge to board their flight. We see this as a real benefit as it adds more value to the service we provide for our most frequent passengers,” Lonergan said.

It is understood that O2 is seeing growing demand for wireless LAN public hotspots around Ireland.

O2’s wireless LAN business revenue manager, Kieran Sexton, commented: “The airport is the ideal location to download emails or access the web while waiting for your plane to board. Another factor driving demand is that we can offer multiple payment methods – pre-pay and post-pay options.”

By John Kennedy

Pictured (l-r) Kieran Sexton, Wireless LAN business revenue manager with O2 Ireland; Fintan Lonergan, head of marketing at Aer Lingus and Colm Dunne, Frequent Flyer programme manager, Aer Lingus