Philadelphia is a generally poor airport. Some airline employees even call it Filthadelphia. And the airport can’t seem to even provide basic services to passengers without an upcharge – like outlets?
Dear @PHLAirport and @AmericanAir
This is bull jive.
That's all. Carry on with the cash grab…. pic.twitter.com/F04PAipZ99
— Dr. Americus Reed II (@amreed2) August 1, 2022
In fact the real scourge here is not paying for power – it is OTG self-serve food ordering.
Let’s be clear, at a certain point in time paying for airport wifi made sense. It was far better to have wifi offered for a fee than not to have it offered at all. A decade ago in American Airlines Admirals Clubs only club members got free internet, while those entering on day passes or with a Platinum Amex had to buy wifi.
Now that’s no longer the norm. Available wifi is a basic expectation, almost anywhere that you’re considered a customer or guest and you’ll be staying for some time. Even inflight wifi is moving closer to free. JetBlue has had this for years. Delta is still testing it on some routes, and plans to offer it free on domestic mainline flights next year.
Power is a basic need, both inflight and in airports. When there aren’t enough outlets, it’s possible that charging (hah) for their use could ration them so that they’re used by the passengers who need them most. Except here those outlets are at seats, at crowded gates, and so you’ll likely find someone sitting by the outlet not charging devices. In other words, the power outlet doesn’t even get used.
But what’s going on is that the credit card swipe is to pay for food to be delivered to your seat. There’s an iPad there. OTG is all about the iPads. That cuts down on staffing. And by putting these at the gate, people order more – because they tether themselves to the gate even if it’s 30 minutes before boarding and won’t go spend money at shops. This brings the shops to them.