I imagine that most people think of commercial VPN services as a tool used to pirate content—to spoof one’s IP address and avoid nasty emails from HBO lawyers, for example. When, on a whim, I got a deal on a two-year subscription to Private Internet Access little did I know that it would end up coming to my rescue in South Asia.
Here’s how that went down.
My way home consisted of two flights—one reward flight from Colombo to Hong Kong and then a connecting flight that I paid for (a different ticket) back to Canada. When I tried to check-in online from Sri Lanka for that second flight here’s the message I got from Air Canada’s website:
It seems that Air Canada will only let you check in online from a country they actually fly to. Normally this would make perfect sense, but for my specific flight plan it simply wouldn’t do.
I downloaded the Android app and set it up to spoof an IP address in Canada—you can tell that the app is working by that key icon in the status bar. And just like that… it still didn’t work. Then I remembered that I had granted the Android Chrome browser location permissions. So I switched to Firefox, and…
Huzzah! I was able to check in without issue for my Hong Kong-to-Vancouver flight. In retrospect, it might have been Chrome’s location address that stymied me, rather than Air Canada itself. But with a mobile VPN I was covered either way. If you’re interested in that two-year subscription deal, see the link directly below.