How To Get Wireless Passwords At Airports When They Don’t Have Free Wifi

shanghai airport

Arriving at an airport without free wireless – or the even more frustrating free-if-you’ve-got-a-local-number and email access (no I don’t, I’m traveling dammit!) – makes it seem like you’re flying around the world in 1999. First, avoid the initial shock of being subjected to a layover without wifi by checking whether or not your connecting airports offer free wireless. Now that you know, for better or for worse, it’s time to prepare yourself digitally and physical to get online on your down time.

foursquare password tipsUse Foursquare Tips

The popular location-based social network foursquare (where you can find me as well) is primarily used through its mobile app, however the web-based version is full of searchable tips from users. To track down a wireless password of an airport, Google something like “foursquare Ataturk Airport.” On the resulting page, scroll down and do a quick search for “wireless” or similar terms. That should give you a list of any wireless passwords in the airport and exactly where to find them.

  • Get Password Tips On Your Phone – Both the free 4sqwifi (iOS) and Venue Spot (Android) apps filter foursquare wifi-related tips automatically based on your location.

Similarly, laptop and tablet users can try WeFi’s hotspot maps to track down any open connections in an airport – or anywhere else for that matter.

Some Airport Wireless And Lounge Passwords Provided By You (Updated Regularly)

When I asked on Facebook and Twitter what passwords have your picked up at airports around the world on your travels, several of you happily emailed me how you recently got online at these locations.

istanbul Bosporus aerial view

  • Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) Airport – To turn 1 hour free wireless into unlimited access, Melvin suggests sitting near the KLM lounge and tweaking this password with the current date: KLM110613 (i.e. KLMDDMMYY).
  • Frankfurt (FRA) Airport – Unless you’re sitting right outside of the Lufthansa lounge near gate B5, you’ll be paying for Internet access. (Thanks Kira!)
  • Istanbul Ataturk (IST) Airport – Sit next to the Turkish Airlines lounge and try the username “thy” password “adana2014″. Also, Kimi can direct you to this cafe and its wireless password near the entrance of the International Departure hall. [UPDATED]

Those of you who happen to come across any other airport or lounge wifi passwords, I would appreciate you leaving them in the comments below or emailing me with the information. I’ll update this list and you’ll be earning Internet karma from all of the other travelers you helped get online.

Some Low-Tech Hacks

bienvenidos

As many of the passwords and tips above suggest, in airports without free wireless for the public, sitting right outside of the airline lounge doors are a good bet for finding an open connection. Lounge signals tend not to extend far beyond the walls so you should increase your wireless range by sitting in the ideal spot for reception.

Although there are more involved ways to hack airport wireless networks, before you get your hands dirty you can attempt to weave your ways around pay-walls like Boingo with a simple URL hack.

Try adding “?.jpg” at the end of any web address you want to access; if it works and you’ll be at that airport again, download the Firefox extension Greasemonkey, load this script, and your web browser will automatically add ?.jpg to the end of all URLs.

Lastly, despite your best efforts, when you’ve landed unprepared, a quick check with previously mentioned NetStumbler may uncover open, but hidden airline or maintenance networks to hop on.

These are just some ways to get online at airports lacking free wireless – have any other creative ways to get wifi at airports around the world? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Stefano says:

    A lot of airports have a limited free wifi: 45 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, whatever. Good news: “limited time” actually means “unlimited time”, because it’s so easy to hack. Most of the times you either need to:

    - Change your IP (just rebook the computer)
    - Change your MAC address (Google it – you need to edit the Windows register but it’s doable)
    - Clear the cookies

    When you try to load a page, the router will automatically redirect you to the login page: look at the URL, because from there you can see which system the airport is using. All of them are easy to hack.

    (5)
  2. JoAnna says:

    This is stellar – though I could have used the Amsterdam one last week! I’ve noticed that some of the pay-by-the-hour services also have a half-hour trial period tied to them, so I take advantage of that one free half hour on my phone and then use it on my laptop to get a full hour.

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  3. Wow these are really handy tips! Thanks!

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  4. Mila says:

    At Frankfurt (FRA) Airport it is just required an email address so you can access free to internet. Whatever you type ([email protected]) it will let you use the net for half an hour, then type another nonsense and continue like this all day.

    (1)
  5. Jessica says:

    This is a really useful post. I can never understand why so many airports require you to enter a phone number first and then receive a text with the password – or something along those lines. Why make people jump through hoops to access supposedly “free” wifi?

    (1)
    • Miki says:

      why it bothers you anyways?
      better then charged ones

      (-2)
      • Anil Polat says:

        Well, if I’m traveling internationally, I usually don’t have a local SIM card to get the text with the code. That also assumes I’m going to get online with a smartphone. It’s much simpler to skip that step altogether, especially considering it is an airport.

        (2)
    • Anil P. says:

      Annoying, right? Often the companies make money through sign-ups and advertising, why “free” isn’t quite “free”.

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  6. purcitron says:

    ​?.jpg …only airports? what if you leave the page by clicking a link? thanks

    (0)
  7. Stacey says:

    I have to admit – I never google wheather I will have wifi and I’ve been caught out so many times. I’m going to bookmark this (as there is no way I will remember the jpg hack or any of the other ideas) and will pull it up should I google an airport and not get wifi there.

    Would rather power through emails when I’m bored at an airport then when I arrive, am tired, have things to do and am disinterested in computers because hey, I’m here!

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  8. Uwe says:

    Frankfurt Airport has now a 24 hors free wifi. To access just type in an email address.

    (0)
  9. Thank you for this post. Will definitely need this the next time I return to Dehli, India, which requires that you have a local number -_-

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  10. Nice work.. Keeping a record of this.. Hate paying for Wi-fi at airports!!

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  11. Megan says:

    Super helpful tips! I’ll have to come back to this post before my next airport adventure.

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  12. J says:

    This is awesome! You should be charging your readers for this :-)

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  13. Vid says:

    Waiting for that ever elusive Wifi signal at any airport is like waiting for Godot :) I’ll keep these tips in mind next time we travel. The best free Wifi we have ever experienced has been at the Dubai international airport.

    Thanks for the tips

    Cheers

    (0)
  14. Julia says:

    Definitely bookmarking this!

    (0)
  15. Super helpful tips! I will definitely try adding that jpg extension to my urls next time I am traveling!

    (0)
  16. Kurt says:

    One of the best posts I have seen on the web! Thanks ;)

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  17. Jonny Blair says:

    REALLY nice tips mate – theres bound to be a post somewhere on the web with a load of these passwords. Kudos to Hong Kong, Singapore and Kilimanjaro airports who all have FREE password-less wifi – great although admittedly unsecure… Safe travels, Jonny

    (-1)
  18. Renan Ferrer says:

    Good tips!

    Thanks for sharing with us!

    Cheers

    Renan Ferrer

    (-1)