Searching For An Electrical Outlet

As I settle in for an hour wait before my plane at the San Jose Airport (the United Terminal really needs a paint job and a good vacuuming), I’ve been pondering the complete lack of electrical outlets.  I can open up my laptop and immediately connect to the Internet (via my Verizon EVDO card – bypassing the nonsense of dealing with airport paid-WiFi).  However, I’ve got to scrounge around find an electrical outlet.

Of course, I could just run off my batteries, but since I’m on a two hour flight to Denver, I’d rather make sure I have a full charge.  Am I the only person that thinks it’s odd to be sitting in an airport full of an incredible amount of infrastructure, yet not be able to get electric juice?

I did find one – I’m the guy hunched over in the very corner next to the wall near the door at Gate C3B.

  • Erik

    I always travel with a 3-way plug adapter.

    It can make one very popular with your fellow travelers

  • Fred Kauber

    I encounter this all the time as well, and suspect this is the bane of frequent fliers these days at many major airports; even when an outlet can be found on a column or tucked away under a seat or along a heating vent, there are a host of laptops or cellphone rechargers vying for them. My solution to this is to carry a 10 hour battery slice that can power my laptop and cellphone; I use the N-charge from Valence (

  • they have to plug in a vacuum somewhere. look near carpet.

  • What _really_ pisses me off is when you find someone sitting next to the only outlet at the gate with both his laptop AND his phone plugged in.

    “Look dude,” I want to say. “They’re not going to let you use your phone on the plane anyway. Charge it at your hotel.”

  • Haha. Sounds familiar. Yesterday, I exchanged knowing glances in the Denver airport with another traveler on the same hunt as I was – making laps around the gate area, hunched over, searching for juice.

  • Mark

    Even worse, some airports are starting to either turn off the outlets in the terminals or consider charging for power…better turn to airline lounges where at least they seem to want your business.

  • ispivey

    Having more and more easily accessible outlets would also drive wi-fi sales, I’d think — and considering the relatively miniscule amount of power today’s laptops draw, one could easily imagine the outlets/wires/labor to install them would be the most expensive part of the service.

    That was one of the differences I noticed traveling through privately-owned Sydney Airport — they’ve got computer desks set up with ethernet jacks and power outlets in the waiting areas.

  • I’m not a techie, but why doesn’t someone just invent a longer lasting and more powerful battery?

  • Dave Jilk

    Airports – but also hotel rooms. Why in the world don’t they put more outlets in hotel rooms? Why isn’t there an outlet near the only place you can put the ironing board? Why is the outlet by the desk behind the TV armoire, or used by a power strip that’s completely full?

    BTW, in Atlanta, Delta has set up little booth work areas in the terminal that have simple power/chair/booth. Great idea – although it was full last time I was there.

    San Jose airport – I remember once in 2000, trying to get a cell signal in the electronics capital of the world, and failing.

  • Erik

    Hey Todd,

    If you can build a light weight, long lasting, fast charging, low temp battery at a reasonable price point I’d bet Brad and every VC in the country would shower you in funding.

    It’s a really hard problem. Solve it and you’ll become a billionaire.

  • Erik,
    I have enough trouble putting my child’s toys together! Living in Boulder County I’d go for the solar power battery that can store energy. Yet again another reason people don’t invest in ideas, but rather ways of creating said ideas. LOL!

  • Cdscurto

    As a road warrior based out of DIA, I travel with a nine foot, grounded extension cord (I am not hunching over by the plugs, nor am I willing to sit on the dirty carpet) and a three way plug adapter. I have made many friends with the three way plug adapter and have never had a problem getting someone to allow me to put it in place and plug them into it.

  • Aditya

    Its the usual hunt at every airport. Except for a few (eg Frankfurt), airports don’t make it easy. I usually turn down the brightness of the screen and the battery lasts up to 5 Hrs. Same should work for you as I too use the X41 tablet.

  • Carry a power strip and share the outlet. Make friends. What a networking opportunity!

  • katie

    i thought i was the only one who hunted for outlets in the airport!

  • I’m also amazed at airports that don’t have clocks. My phone is still off, I have no idea what time zone it is, and I need to know whether I have 15 minutes or 50 minutes to make my connection.

  • in case anyone’s looking for power outlets, i’ve been taking pictures of them, tagging them with poweroutlet in Flickr, and including Gate and wifi information.

    if you want to do the same thing, i know i’d use it:

  • As a longtime flyer I know how you feel, thats why I invented the Powerport.
    Call the airport customer relations and demand a Powerport unit.
    See our website for more details.
    good luck in your travels.

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