When I got into search marketing I thought I was never going to have to get dressed or even leave the house to get work done. Search Mojo’s runaway growth and the addition of some very high profile clients have NOT made that a possibility.
Gone are the early days of working in a room above the garage, they really weren’t that long ago… We have grown so fast our concerns are now are about expense reimbursements, payroll taxes, interviewing job candidates, office equipment, travel plans, etc.
With high profile clients have come numerous meetings, quarterly reviews and frequent flier miles. I’ve made several trips to places like Los Angeles, New York and Dallas in the past year. It never fails that my flights always end up having long layovers or delays. Which means time waiting at the flight gate lobby.
As I sit here today in LAX on my way to DIA and then Dulles and then Richmond – as the result of flight delays due to mechanical breakdown, I hate to say it, but I’ve gotten way to used to working in these environments. This summer I changed the landing page URLs for about 130 different ads in LAX. This was a little bit physically grueling because I had to stay plugged in to save my laptop battery and the Samsung free plug-in kiosk was no where close to a seat. So I alternated between standing up and resting my laptop on the very small shelf of the kiosk had and sitting cross-legged on the dirty floor.
So I can really appreciate having a good area to work in the airport. The most important things you need to have a good online airport experience are the following.
1. A Free wireless internet connection. More airports are going to this and I applaud them for it. T-mobile hot-spots are usually nice (although a big problem in LAX today) if you have to pay because they are at usually reliable.
2. A place to plug in your laptop. Even if you have a good battery. It’s very nice to have a good place to plug in. Samsung is doing a nice thing with their free plug in kiosks. Otherwise you have to look for the plug-ins the cleaning crews use for vacuum cleaners and floor polishers (look for pillars and floor plugs. These almost always are never close to seating…
3. This brings us to seating. Having the place to plug in is only half the battle. Having access to a comfy chair is vital.
So which airports are the best to get work done in? Here are my choices:
1. JFK in New York. I have to qualify this. The Jet Blue terminal has free WiFi courtesy of Jet Blue and there are ample Samsung plug-in kiosks near comfortable seats.
2. Richmond International. Free WiFi and the occasional place to plug-in for the cleaning staff.
3. Denver International Airport (DIA). This one used to be on my bad list, but they now have very speedy (54 Mbps) free WiFi (you are required to first watch a 30 second commercial). It’s very competitive to find a place to plug-in though.
4. LAX – it’s spotty on whether you can find a plug-in kiosk next to a chair. You have to pay $9.99 to T-mobile for a connection. But, they at least have a lot of places to plug-in at that are out of traffic areas.
I’m not going to rank the rest but I can tell you that I haven’t had super experiences in Cincinnati, Dallas-Fort Worth, John Wayne – Orange County, Chicago – O’Hare and worst of all LaGuardia NYC.
Airport managers should be looking at companies like Panera Bread Company as examples of how to attract business and keep customers happy with free WiFi, comfy seats and good places to plug-in your computer. If I’m going to be stuck in the airport, I at least need to be productive. A great list of airports with free WiFi is here: http://wififreespot.com/airport.html
Cue Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page“. Man I really want to be home…