I'm sitting in the Lufthansa lounge at Dortmund's airport.  My flight, which was supposed to depart at 6:05 AM, is delayed to 8:30 AM due to weather in Munich.  Big time problem, since dad's flight will arrive at MUC at 8:20 AM.  Ah well, he has "just in case" instructions... didn't think I'd have to use them.  I probably should have found a way to get there last night.

Dortmund is what my friend Howard once described as an AFA -- amenity-free airport.  Nine gates, with only a small coffee shop and duty free store on this side of security.  Surprised they even have a lounge -- though notably, it's unstaffed.  

Sitting here with this extended delay, I was curious to see if there was a wifi service available.  I turned the wifi on and got an IP rather quickly.  Good sign.  When I launched the browser, I was presented with a "HotSpot-Ticket" login screen from DOKOM, all auf Deutsch..  There was no obvious link anywhere for a way to buy a login.  However, a few links on the right side of the screen were indicated as free sites, including Dokom's own.  There, I learned that HotSpot-Tickets are available for one, two, or 24 hours.  The site informs that DOKOM HotSpot-Tickets are for sale in many places, including Stockholmer Allee 24 in Dortmund.  

For what it's worth, the Steigenberger MAXX hotel here in Dortmund used a similiar system -- I had to buy an access card at the hotel front desk; the card contained a userid/password used to sign onto the wifi.  That's ok in a hotel -- but sitting in an airport?  I should be able to put in a credit card number and go -- or, perhaps, use my T-Mobile sign-on, or perhaps the wifi should be free (he laughs).  But no, a physical card is required.

Well, this is Germany, so I thought that perhaps I could buy the HotSpot-Ticket somewhere in the airport.  I wandered down the concourse to the coffee shop and duty-free shop -- no luck.  Frustrated, I picked up a printed "Dortmund Airport guide", to see if it had any information.  Indeed, it had good news -- WLAN cards are available for sale at the airport information desk.  Hmm, that must be the airport information desk located before entering security.  As an added bonus, there is no obvious way to get from the departure gate area back outside security -- there is simply no exit!

So, Dortmund Airport proprietors, I suggest that it would be to your benefit to find another way to manage this airport's WLAN.  A delayed passenger is one of the likeliest customers for this service, yet has no way to procure it.  Thankfully, I've got Lotus Notes and a bunch of replicated applications to work with locally while I am waiting, but it would have been nice to be able to get online.

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