Continental wins free lounge surfing debate

Continental Airlines has applauded the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which will allow the airline to continue to offer free Wi-Fi access through Continental’s own selected carrier in its Presidents Club lounges.The decision includes Boston’s Logan International Airport and Massport, operator of Logan Airport, sought to remove Continental’s Wi-Fi antenna and force the airline to use Massport’s exclusive carrier instead. Continental filed a petition for relief with the FCC in July 2005 stating that the FCC’s regulations preempted the lease restrictions that Massport tried to enforce.

Numerous interested parties including other airlines, trade groups, service providers and over 2,000 of Continental’s customers expressed their support for Continental’s position in the docket at the FCC.

In a resounding victory to the airline and to consumers, the FCC has affirmed its rules pertaining to the installation and use of wireless antennae, which prohibit landlords, such as airports, from restricting this service in areas under the control of the airline.

As stated by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps in a written statement attached to the Order, “Today’s decision ensures that Wi-Fi bands remain free and open to travelers, who can make productive use of their time while waiting to catch their next flight in an airport.”

Continental has 27 Presidents Club lounges in airports worldwide, and each provides free internet connection to its members and visitors to the lounges.