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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum? No, Free-Wi-Fi-Fo-Fum!

It may cost you an arm and a leg to buy a ticket for holiday travel, and you may have to pay up to $100 more per trip for baggage check-in, in-flight food and a blanket, but Yes, Virginia, there is a skyward Santa Claus. Instead of riding with Vixen and Dasher, though, he’s Wi-Flying Virgin and Delta, courtesy of EBay and Google.

Right now, EBay is only playing Kris Kringle to fliers on select Delta flights during Thanksgiving week. Still, the free Wi-Fi by EBay means fliers can get an early start on holiday shopping. Meantime, Virgin America is teaming up with Google to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi to all passengers on all of its planes from now through January 15. Ho, ho, ho.

But the Google gift-giving doesn’t stop there. The Internet giant is truly getting into the holiday spirit by providing free Wi-Fi at 47 airports across the country through January 15. While most of the airports on the list are located in medium-sized cities (Baltimore, Nashville, Oklahoma City), travelers venturing through Seattle, Boston, Houston, and San Diego will also be recipients of Google’s magnanimity. However, if you’re traveling through JFK, Newark, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington, DC, there's no Google for the frugal. Still, the airports that Google is covering handle more than a third of all U.S. air travelers.

Travelers can pay the holiday cheer forward by making an optional donation to select non-profits while on line in the airport. Google will match donations up to a maximum of $250,000.

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