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Auss-pitality: Duty-Free Bailey’s & A Free Shot Of Wi-Fi

June 1st, 2011 · Tags:Airports · Cities · Wi-Fi

Ah Sydney …

As much as I love New Zealand, it seems the Aussies may have a leg up when it comes to Wi-Fi.

Not only did the Australians greet us at the gate with duty-free, free shots of delicious Bailey’s cream (if you are into that sort of thing), there were about a half dozen Wi-Fi hotspots ready for a test drive in the Sydney airport. Most importantly, the airport itself, SYD, provided a free, hassle-free hotspot from the get go — none of that “crack dealer” marketing where you get 30 minutes free and then pay through the nose if you want to get down to business on the network.

How can they do it?

It seems simple. SYD has sold a sponsorship to their Wi-Fi hotspot, rather than pass the costs along to the traveler. Accordingly, a travel-oriented player has picked up the tab — Expedia. This mates, is the way it should be, as we all try to remain social and in contact as we circumnavigate the “cloud.”

The progressive Wi-Fi business model is not alone. There is also forward thinking throughout the airport. SYD has built a little retail city in the airport.  There’s a miniature Apple store, Bailey’s, retailers ranging from Godiva to Coach to Bally, Bailey’s, Ha! a Victoria’s Secret for the last minute Valentines travel shopper, Bailey’s, and several coffee counters.

“If you have seen this British comedy, you know why I am fixating if not hyperventilating over Bailey’s.  If you haven’t seen it … subject matter warnings are in full effect …)

Scaly Man Fish Craves Bailey’s

I digress …

And don’t you worry, excellent people watching can always drive up one of my “scientific” Wi-Fi ratings.  In the Sydney terminal, for example, there are Thai and Singapore airline attendants everywhere, adding to the international mystique of this great destination. (Sidebar: I once provided public relations services to Thai Airways on the West Coast, and I really dig their Royal Orchid program, service and culture …)

Did I mention I had a six-hour layover in Sydney?  If ever there were a day when I needed Wi-Fi, this was it.  Not to mention the excellent people watching.  So, I hung out, worked, people watched and chatted with a lady from my flight … a traveler from South Africa, who was btw, a big fan of the free Wi-Fi too.

I am typing this as I prepare to upload another blog on the SYD Wi-Fi system, and not once have I been kicked off or had some provider “pass the hat” for more coin. This is sweet. Welcome to Australia!

And yet, this layover would be my only glimpse of Australia, as our team headed back to the United States, after a month in the land down under The Land Down Under.  Lucky for me, In the last month (May 16) Qantas had begun flying direct from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. So, although we had a long, long flight ahead of us, at least we wouldn’t have to exit the plane in California or wherever this time.

Like any traveler, or travel writer, I have the normal appreciation for new travel options.  But, I also have an appreciation for some of the the planning that goes into such an endeavor like launching a new flight.  Three or four years ago, I represented Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in some of its public relations matters — including the promotion of a new direct flight between London’s Heathrow and DFW during the early days of the Open Skies Agreement.  Good stuff … Great for the traveler!

I know, I know … (say it with me) I digress …

SYD gets my vote for the best Aussie Wi-Fi I have ever sampled. It’s got great speed/bandwidth, Bailey’s and more. For their score, I kept one “pingaroo” in my pocket — a one-point deduction for the lack of sufficient electrical outlets in the relaxing mall atmosphere at SYD — So, it’s 6 of 7 pings … near perfect.

And speaking of roo … YES! In addition to boomerangs I did see what I think must be the two most popular Australian souvenirs. Ha … some of you on my Christmas list may be getting a didgeridoo next year.

You Too Can Didgeridoo

And the other item? I won’t send these for Christmas, but I am sure that if I did they would become an instant hit as your coworkers trade gifts for that annual swap-presents-thing in the office. Yes jackeroo, it is a roo sack, a tidy and secure place for your valuables.

Marsupial Gear

Know what I sayin?