Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) used to have TONS of Verizon dumb-phones, and a few Millenniums. Now they have TONS of COCOTS owned and operated by Kellee Communications
Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) is a pay phone goldmine. There's Verizon dumb-phones, Verizon COCOTS, Phone1 Hybrids, Verizon Millenniums, and Verizon Charge-A-Calls. The only way it could have been better was if I could have found anything cool while using any of these phones. I got the numbers of all of the phones I could. It really upsets me that in this age of terrorism alert levels and heightened airport security, I felt very uncomfortable walking all around the airport, going up to every phone I saw, and writing the number down. Doing something perfectly legal should never feel wrong.
There were a few weird things at BWI. Some of the COCOTS would drop me to an ACTS prompt after about a 15 second delay when I dialed 411. Needless to say, when I deposited a quarter, nothing would happen. When ACTS timed out, I'd be disconnected. The COCOTS still have James Earl Jones' voice, which is always fun for me to hear. 411 was free on Millenniums, but no other phones. In All of BWI, there were only 3 dumb phones. It almost seems like they forgot to switch this little block of 3 phones over.
10-10-2880 can't be used for anything fun from Baltimore. Their operators don't complete calls to toll-free numbers for normal people, but visually-impaired people can complete calls with no hassle.
When completing a call to a long-distance number on a Millennium, I'd get a recording that said "The number you are calling FROM has been temporarily disconnected...." This prevented me from completing any long distance calls on any of the Millenniums I found.
Ft. Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) had a decent amount of COCOTS. They're all owned and operated by Kellee Communications, as they are now in PIT.
San Juan had Intelicall COCOTS EVERYWHERE! They had very reasonable rates to the US (50 cents/3 minutes). Prompts were in Spanish first, then English. I called to the 'States on one of these COCOTS, and the call went through a toll-free access number. Quality was good, respectable carrier-grade.
St. Thomas had a bunch of empty enclosures This was later confirmed. At a hotel 25 miles away from the port, I asked a 28 year old hotel bartender if he could tell me where the nearest payphone was. His response was priceless: "Payphone....I don't think I've seen one of those since the 90's."
Put It Back.JPG 1.93MB 10 downloads
At the ship's port, there were a few circle-shaped phones. They had an antenna sticking out of the top of the phone, not the enclosure. You could only call using a credit card, or collect. These looked similar to phones I saw 5 years ago in the Bahamas. There were 4 buttons on the right side, and the only way you could accomplish anything on this phone was to use one of these 4 buttons to select Credit Card, Collect, or 2 other options. After pressing one of these buttons, you'd be routed to an operator who would complete the call. The rate for a 3 minute call to the states billed via credit card was $24.00!!!!! Unfortunately, I saw a few people using these. I bet these people screw over tons of people who don't ask the operator for the rate before they place the call!
The first thing I saw when I got off the boat in St. Maarten was a large row of the same ripoff phones I saw in St. Thomas. These phones had a cheaper rate (ONLY $14.00 for the first 5 minutes), but it was still a ripoff. Luckily, there was a large row of Millenniums owned by the local telco, TelEm. A 2.5 minute call to the states was 65 cents, and sounded very good. On both sides of the island, there were many more identical Millenniums, as well as COCOTS. I guess the ripoff phones were only in port at St. Maarten.
I was really looking forward to exploring the networks of foreign countries. I also figured that I'd probably find only COCOTS, which I did, and I would be extremely lucky if I found a dumb-phone. Nevertheless, it's always an adventure for me. Numbers and pictures follow:
FLL Terminal B:
FLL Ground Level:
BWI (I don't remember what's what, for the most part):