Brits let down by miserly airport Wi-Fi

by Corinne Webb | Aug 30, 2019
man in airport on phone

Feel swizzed by airport Wi-Fi charges? You’re not the only one.

We did a little digging and found that only 36% of UK airports offer free, unlimited Wi-Fi, compared to 80% of international hubs.*

Heathrow, Birmingham, Newcastle and Exeter are the shining beacons of data-generosity in the UK, but the rest are on a sliding scale of convenience.

Where airports don’t offer unlimited, free Wi-Fi, customers are offered 95 minutes of free roaming on average, before being charged up to £5 an hour. Ouch. The stingiest are Liverpool and Durham, where you only get 30 minutes before charges kick-in. Double ouch.

When you’re travelling in a group, fees can rack up fast. A family of four pays £9 on average to use their gadgets for an hour - with East Midlands and Manchester the most expensive overall, charging a wallet-bothering £40 for two hours.

Short free-roaming windows and high charges seem to be the exception rather than the rule outside the UK, and James Brown, director of Protect Your Bubble, feels we’re getting the short end of the stick:

“With most international and European airports now offering unlimited Wi-Fi for free, it does seem a little stingy on the part of many UK airports to limit free access.

“Although it could be argued that most people only need a couple of hours of internet access before they take off, it is not unusual for flights to be delayed, often by several hours.

“Airports aren’t forcing travellers to pay for premium services, but the last line of defence for families with bored kids, is letting them loose on their tablets or mobile phones.

“And with the average family carrying multiple gadgets, costs could quickly mount up if they have to pay for premium services, because the free Wi-Fi period has elapsed or the Wi-Fi is not fast enough to stream videos or download files.”


For more information, check out our full report on airport Wi-Fi costs in the UK (July 2019)

You might also like:

- Gadget insurance with Protect Your Bubble: get award-winning cover in under 3 minutes.**
- How to avoid theft at festivals: tips to help you keep your valuables safe this summer.

- How 5G will change the world: find out why we’re excited about the new era of connectivity.

* According to a survey of 22 airports in the UK, 30 in Europe, and 20 long-haul destinations.
**Underwriter Assurant General Insurance Limited. Gadget age restrictions, T&Cs & excesses apply. Customer UK 18+.

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