Power Outlets in Coach Hard to Find

Few U.S. carriers offer power outlets on short flights in economy seats.  Even on planes flying longer routes, such as Boeing 767s and Airbus 330s, economy travelers will find outlets only infrequently throughout the cabin, perhaps every two or three rows.

Some travel experts believe that power outlets are rarely seen in coach seats because this feature becomes a differentiating factor for business travelers.  It certainly provides businessmen who want to work on computers when they fly motivation to fly business class.

Of the major U.S. airlines, only American Airlines offers coach seat power outlets which are installed in every third row.  The only U.S. airline to offer power outlets in all seats is Virgin America which heavily promotes this feature.  There are 28 planes in Virgin’s fleet.

Virgin has observed that 53 percent of its customers travel with laptops.  It sees power outlets as a key reason why passengers select Virgin as their airline of choice.

Other low priced airlines, including AirTran and Southwest, have no power outlets on their planes even though some of their planes offer in flight Internet service for those travelers willing to pay for the service. When you fly with these airlines, you will need an extra battery or two. The  really difficult part, it the lact of public receptacles around the airport. You need to pay dearly to charge between segments.

Airlines Wi-Fi service drains laptop batteries 30 percent faster than typical Wi-Fi available on land, according to Astronics, which makes electronics for aircraft.


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