Boingo Software is Not an Evil Genie

One of the many advantages of being Boingo’s community manager is that I get to hear a lot of customer feedback — the good, the bad, and yes, every once in awhile, the ugly. Feedback, no matter what the flavor, is important because it allows us to improve. In some cases, customer dialogue also makes us aware of misconceptions that we need to debunk. One of the big ones?  Boingo laptop software is evil and designed to suck up your money. Is this true? Nope. Let the debunking begin.

Once upon a time, Boingo customers told us they needed a tool that would notify them when they were in a Boingo hotspot. We thought this was a good suggestion given the majority of our hotspots are roaming locations and therefore it’s hard to know when and where you could use the service.  So we designed a piece of software that automatically pops up on your laptop to alert you when you’re in a Boingo hotspot. Since the software also stores your username and password, all it takes is one click to get online.  Nice!

We received positive feedback, especially from Boingo Unlimited customers who expressed that the software’s notification feature enabled them to connect more often on other networks they didn’t know were included in their Boingo plan, thus increasing the value of their monthly subscription and saving them the cost of paying those other network providers.

But our work wasn’t done. We next learned that customers wanted to be notified when they were in a premium location that would incur additional charges (for the record, our service descriptions provide specifics on geographic locations included for each plan type, but we do understand it’s easy to overlook details when all you want to do is get online). So we modified the software to include a message about premium charges when it happens to pop up in a hotspot outside of the customer’s service plan.

A similar message appears for AsYouGo customers who don’t have a Boingo subscription: the software notifies these users when they’re in a Boingo hotspot and tells them they will be charged if they choose to connect.

The “evil software” comment most frequently comes from customers on the “As You Go” plan who might be too hurried to notice the fact that they will be charged, and simply hit the login button. Some of them also argue that the software automatically logs you in and charges you without your consent. But no, the software doesn’t log you in automatically – you must press the login button before you get online.  We have gone to great lengths to ensure that a user has to explicitly trigger a charge event by their own action and consent. We never perform auto-logins.

And by the way, we do not require our customers to install the software. We highly recommend it, since it makes 125,000 hotspots from 164 network operators with hundreds of different network names look and act the same with a one-click login.  But logging in through a hotspot’s web page (i.e., walled garden) is also a viable option for both our owned and roaming hotspots.  So it’s up to you.

Hopefully that helps you understand how the software works, and why we believe it’s really the best way to find Boingo hotspots and get online in a snap. Of course, we’re never done improving the software (SPOILER ALERT: we’ll have a MAJOR new release coming this Fall!), so if you have feedback that could help us improve, we’d love to hear it.

About Melody Demel

Melody is Senior Manager, PR for Boingo Wireless, where she is responsible for media relations, brand building and thought leadership initiatives. Melody is a die-hard Nebraska Cornhuskers fan and retired NCAA DI college field hockey player.
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15 Responses to Boingo Software is Not an Evil Genie

  1. Rob Paterson says:

    Been a God send for me – also quickly noticed a warning in a bar that I may be charged and dropped off immediately.

    Question though you appear to have separate plans for laptops and Mobile – Am I right or just ill informed? If you do why – makes no sense to have two Boingo accounts???

  2. Baochi says:

    Hi Rob, thanks for your feedback! To answer your question, we offer a Boingo Combo account for $17.90. It allows you to connect on both your laptop (unlimited in the Americas) and your mobile device (unlimited worldwide). Here is more information:

    Let me know if I can help further.


  3. Leigh Tenkku says:

    I believe there may be a bug in your sending receipts system. I have several charges and have tried three times now to click subsequently on each ‘send receipt’ button, but I only receive one email at at time. I then have to get out of my account, log back in again, to click and send the next receipt on the list.
    That is very time consuming and frustrating at best.

  4. Baochi says:

    Hi Leigh,

    I’m sorry you had such a frustrating experience with our receipt system. I had our team investigate immediately, and they were not able to reproduce the issue. Could it be something unique to your security/browser setting?

    Would you mind contacting me and/or our Customer Care team so we can gather more details from you? If this is a possible bug specific to certain settings, we’d like to identify and troubleshoot immediately.

    Customer Care phone number: 1-800-880-4117
    Customer Care email:
    My email:

    Best regards,

  5. Stu says:

    Yes, but is it secure? Does Boingo really claim to offer a secured Wi-Fi- access/product?

  6. Baochi says:

    Hi Stu, thanks for reaching out to us. As with any public hotspot, we recommend that you connect via a secure VPN for maximum security. Our software does not provide security. It’s designed to help you connect easily to hotspots.

  7. Baochi says:

    Hi R.J. I’m sorry to hear you’re finding the Boingo software intrusive. You can easily un-install via Control Panel >> Add/Remove Programs.

  8. Marilyn says:


    I am interested in Boingo wifi but will you offer trial for me to experiment?
    I live in Montreal for most of the year but goes to Toronto 4 to 5 times a year.

    I have 8-month old laptop and currently using Rogers Hi-Speed Internet.
    Been using this for 8 months and I am not happy with the service till I find something else suitable to replace this.

    What do you recommend?
    Do you offer trial run?

    Let me know.


  9. david says:

    How do I find out what my username is? I signed up for boingo when I was stranded once a month ago, and never received an email stating my username. Is there some way I can find this out?

  10. Baochi says:

    No problem. I can help. Please send the email address associated with your account to Cheers, Baochi

  11. Baochi says:

    Hi Marilyn,

    We don’t offer trial accounts but I encourage you to give us a whirl via an AsYouGo account while at one of our airports: That way, you can try us out for that one-time connect and if you like us, check out our subscription plans. Feel free to contact me directly if you have additional questions:


  12. Sarah says:

    I am not able to download software on my employer’s laptop, and I am therefore unable to access the Internet. It doesn’t make sense to me that I can’t log on with a user name and password through a browser. I’m stuck at the airport unable to work, and there are no options for me.

    You have lost a prospective customer today.

  13. Baochi says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for reaching out to us.

    Sorry if it’s unclear, but our free app is not required to connect to Boingo hotspots on your laptop. If you’re at a Boingo-operated airport, simply launch your laptop browser and sign in. If you happen to be at a partner roaming location, look for the roaming operator drop-down menu, select Boingo, and then enter your account credentials.

    I’m happy to help you further. Please feel free to reach out to me directly:


  14. Frank Scholz says:

    How do I turn off and on the Hotty Spotty Boingo Poppy. I was giving a lecture in Powerpoint and it suddenly popped up on the screen to audience laughter. Can I block the Boingo pop up selectively and then turn it on or do I have to block all pop ups?

  15. Baochi says:

    Yes! You can block notifications by opening the app, going into Settings, and un-checking the notifications option. When you’re ready for the app to send notifications again, just go back into Setting to re-enable. Let us know if that works for you.