Winston Aldworth 's Opinion

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldworth: Forget the food, just pass me the wi-fi

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We seem to be hooked on plugging in. Photo / Thinkstock
We seem to be hooked on plugging in. Photo / Thinkstock

Many people will say they long to escape from the tentacles of electronic gadgets when they're on holiday. In truth, we seem to be hooked on plugging in.

I'm always surprised when travel industry operators - hotels in particular - don't run free wi-fi for customers.

I might want to check my work emails, I might even settle in and do an hour or so of work (my laptop connects to my office computer) or I might just want to check out restaurants in the area or ticket prices for local attractions. Whatever, the advantages of this electronic age are great and it's natural that travellers will want to log on. Oddly, nothing can be as unrelaxing as feeling forced to relax when you know a short, focused spell of online work could clear your mind and kickstart the holiday.

In a non-scientific survey of 1045 passengers who used wi-fi on US airlines in the last year, more people said they would be upset if they didn't have access to wi-fi than those the number who said they would be disappointed if there was no food or drink.

Twenty-two per cent had already paid more to fly with a carrier that provided free wi-fi and 85 per cent said they would use wi-fi if it was available for free.

Of course, it's not really free. The cost is ultimately loaded on to ticket prices. But it should certainly be very affordable for big airlines and hotel chains. Their bulk purchasing power should get a good deal to pass on to passengers.

Hotels in New Zealand rated highly in a recent study on wi-fi access. Back in February, I wrote about a global survey by hotel price-comparison site Trivago, which placed us second (behind the US) for percentage of hotels offering internet.

An impressive 82 per cent of Kiwi hotels had the service; in the States it was 89 per cent.

Gerry's grief

Last week's editorial on Gerry Brownlee's stupid actions in avoiding the security check at Christchurch Airport brought some interesting responses.

A tongue-in-cheek Colin Falconer offered this: "Seriously, I believe that Key told Gerry to take that door so as to take some journalistic flak and divert public opinion away from another large person who's political ideals are entirely selfish."

- NZ Herald

Winston Aldworth

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

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