Just before Thanksgiving, bored holiday travelers at Long Island MacArthur Airport have one more way to kill time while waiting for their flights.

Visitors to the Ronkonkoma airport can now get access to the Internet from laptops and make faster wireless connections on hand-held devices on the new Wi-Fi system Cablevision has installed from one end of the terminal to the other.

MacArthur is the first metropolitan-area airport to offer free wireless services throughout the facility, Town of Islip officials said. The town owns the airport.

The Optimum Wi-Fi system also is available in the airport's courtesy parking lot.

"What we've heard from our customers is that this is the No. 1 amenity they wanted to have," Islip Supervisor Philip Nolan said at a news conference Tuesday at the airport.

Cablevision's Optimum Online customers have unlimited access to the system; non-customers can access it for up to one hour before the service times out, town and Cablevision officials said.

Users will be prompted by their wireless devices to log in at a MacArthur Airport Web page, Cablevision officials said.

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Cablevision installed the system at no cost to taxpayers, Nolan said.

The installation is part of Cablevision's $300-million Wi-Fi project, said Kevin Curran, senior vice president of wireless product development. Newsday is owed by Cablevision.

College students returning to Long Island for Thanksgiving Tuesday said the availability of free Wi-Fi will encourage them to use MacArthur instead of other area airports.

"It's really convenient if you're going to be flying a lot during the school year," said Brooke Katz, 20, of Syosset, a junior at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She flew into MacArthur Tuesday with her sister, Caroline, 18, a freshman at Johns Hopkins. "I wouldn't have to stop working just because I'm flying home for the weekend," Brooke Katz said.

Rabiyah Abdus-Salaam, 20, of Shirley, said she usually takes a bus between her home and Howard University in Washington, D.C. But Tuesday she said flying to and from MacArthur might be more productive. "If I didn't finish my work on my way back to school, I can do it here" at the airport, she said.