In-Seat Power Ports
Find an airline/airplane with laptop power before you book
Between laptops, phones, tablets, portable DVD players and handheld gaming devices, many people carry at least one – if not several – electronic items onto planes. These gadgets are great for entertainment and business productivity, but they need power or a well-charged battery to operate. Fortunately, many airlines now offer in-seat power ports.
Use SeatGuru's Comparison Charts to identify the airlines and airplanes that offer in-seat laptop power. Go to the Comparison Charts and choose the one that corresponds to the class of service you'll be flying, The chart, which can be sorted by a variety of attributes, will tell you if laptop power is available at every seat or only select seats, and will also tell you if you need an adapter, and what type you'll need.
Choose a seat with laptop power for your upcoming flight
If your airplane has laptop power, a power port icon will display in the In-flight Amenity description section. There are several power port icons; each one is described below. If no icon is displayed then laptop power is not available on this particular aircraft.
It is important to note that even if the airplane you're flying has power ports, they may not be located at every seat. We illustrate the availability of laptop power at an individual seat with a black dot. An example can be seen at left, where the laptop power ports are only located in rows 25 and 27.
Power Port Type: AC Power
In a seat equipped with AC power, all you'll need is the standard wall power brick that came with your laptop or other electrical device. The power on the plane is typically 110V AC and features a semi-universal receptacle that accepts the following types of plugs:
- US non-polarized 2-blade plug (both blades are the same size)
- US polarized 2-blade plug (one blade is bigger than the other)
- US non-polarized 2-blade plug with ground (aka three-prong)
- European standard 2-cylindrical prong plug (two round prongs)
Power Port Type: Cigarette DC Power
This is the same type of power port available in almost every car. On an airplane, it typically features 15V DC power at up to 75 watts per outlet and if you want to plug in a device, you'll need an adapter. Adapters are usually available from the manufacturer or electronics stores, and are often advertised as "Air/Auto" adapters. Many personal DVD players and cell phones already come with an adapter for the car which you can use right at your seat.
Need to buy a DC power converter? Lind Electronics' converters support most laptop models.
Power Port Type: USB Power
In addition to providing AC or DC power outlets, many airlines are now providing USB ports. These ports can be used to power and charge devices such as cell phones, tablets, eReaders and MP3 players. All you need is a USB cable – no adapter is necessary.
Can you recommend some laptop adapters?
Many people enjoy having an additional power adapter for home or travel. Rather than buying one from your laptop manufacturer that only works with AC power, we recommend you consider a multi-source, multi-device power adapter. These adapters can power your laptop, cell phone, iPod, DVD player and more. Plus, they can plug into AC power and your cigarette lighter. They're not cheap, but they are worth it if you travel often.
Before purchasing an adapter, it is important to verify with the manufacturer if "power tips" exist for your devices. Also, when comparing adapter prices, make sure to factor in all necessary power tips that are not included with the adapter.
Here are some of the most popular multi-device adapters:
- iGo Universal Laptop Power Charger (MSRP $49.99)
- iGo Compact Universal Laptop Power Charger (MSRP $59.99)
- Innergie mCube Universal Power Adapters (MSRP $34.99 to $89.99)
- Kensington AbsolutePower Laptop, Phone, Tablet Charger (MSRP $119.99)
- Targus Laptop AC/DC Travel Charger with USB Fast Charging Port & USB Charging Dongle (MSRP $99.99) buy now
- Apple MagSafe Power Adapters
Inverters: Another option is an inverter. This device converts DC power into a standard AC outlet. These devices do not require any special tips or extra adapters, but they can be bulky. Many users have noted they cannot always get these to work with the airline power systems (though they work great in a car).
- Kensington Auto/Air Power Inverter with USB Ports (MSRP $69.99)
- Targus Auto/Air Power Inverter Slim Line Style (MSRP $79.99)
Will there be enough power for my device? How many watts can it handle?
Most airplane AC and DC power systems are limited to approximately 75 watts of power draw per seat. This means a 17" laptop with a power-hungry processor might not get enough juice to operate.
Sometimes the laptop will know not to charge the battery and will just operate via the power, but other times the laptop won't work at all, or will work for a short period of time before tripping the power circuit. The SeatGuru power converter reviewers recommend removing the laptop battery before plugging in your device. Power ports may be shut off when the plane is flying below 10,000 feet, so make sure to save your work frequently!
Will my laptop battery charge while I'm plugged in?
Don't count on it. Again, because of the limited amount of power draw per seat, it is possible that your laptop won't get enough power to both operate and charge. Some airlines specifically say battery charging is not allowed and ask you to remove your rechargeable battery