While I usually don’t post based on rumors and almost always take them with a grain of salt (Ted is going away, mergers, etc.), this time it’s different. There was a thread started on FlyerTalk in which the OP said that an agent told him wifi would be free in the RCC’s starting March 31, and a few other members have said they’ve heard the same from other agents.
Of course everyone’s first reaction is “well it’s about time!” I’m definitely excited about it, although I’m really wondering what United’s incentive is to do this. You might say “well most lounges like CO’s Presidents Club already have it,” but at the same time United charges some of the highest membership fees and the clubs are still consistently packed to the gills despite the relatively crappy product, not offering anything even remotely comparable to the Presidents Clubs. One could argue that it’s to make their C/F product better, although I’m betting that they’ll follow AA’s lead and only give the free wifi day cards to RCC members and maybe C passengers, and not Star Gold passengers.
So what do I fear? Packed club + more benefits +higher costs (they must be paying for free wifi, right?) = higher dues, right? Seems like a pretty basic application of supply & demand, but at the same time I’m not sure how much higher they could go. Maybe they’ll get rid of the options to redeem miles for membership? I definitely wouldn’t be willing to pay a lot more for my membership, but at the same time if the clubs get any fuller I wouldn’t renew either. On an unrelated note I’m wondering if UA would even be paying for free wifi? With T-Mobile’s recent woes with Starbucks, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was basically free.
This is a toughie, and ultimately I predict if it happens we’ll only hear on the 31st, but it really wouldn’t surprise me. Only time will tell…