Sunday, December 6, 2009

The hunt for power

As I’m sure many of you frequent travellers know, hitting the airport and being able to (re)charge your mp3 player, laptop, mobile phone, etc. can be an adventure.  If you’re up in the lounge it’s not such a big deal as most seem to have an ample supply of plugs available.  Down with all the plebes in the waiting area, well, it’s a completely different story.

It would seem that airport janitorial services have the longest extension cords ever made.  I rarely have seen an airport with power plugs that are close together.  As a result, there are very few of them to be found, and when you do find one, you’re probably either going to have fight someone to use it or there won’t be anything to sit on within range of your power cord.

All that said, there are a few things that can help you out.  First, see if you can get into the lounge.  Sometimes that’s easier said than done.  Second, look for a ‘workstation’ in the common areas.  They do exist in some airports and usually have a power plug in them.  Third, and I know this is random from airline to airline at this point, use the power supplied on the plane.

I regularly fly Air Canada and in anything bigger than a CRJ you’re going to find that each row of seats will have either a USB jack and/or a standard power plug.  For my non-laptop devices I only pack the USB connector cables.  This means that on most flights I can simply plug them into the USB jack on the seatback and charge away.  I’ve had to do this a number of times recently and it works great.  I’ve even been so bold as to plug in my phone (turned off) to charge while were were still boarding and had no problems letting it remain connected and charging through the entire takeoff process.  Boarding with an almost dead phone and deplaning with it fully charged is truly priceless.

Because I only ever pack the USB connector cables, I also take an AC to USB adaptor (mine has 2 USB connections on it) with me.  When in hotels I can easily plug it into the wall/desk and then charge my devices while sleeping and there’s no need to power up my laptop to do it.

In the end you’re possibly going to be stuck wandering the waiting areas of an airport, looking behind pillars, under window ledges and behind seating.  If you’re luck, and plan a bit, you might not have to do it as often though.

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