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Travel tip: where to find AC powerpoints in airports

By David Flynn     Filed under: smartphones, laptops, notebooks, tablets, airports, travel tips, travel tech, travel hacks

With ultrabook laptops' long-life batteries, better power point provision in airport laptops and a welcome increase in the number of business class seats with regular AC power points, business travellers no longer have to hunt quite as hard for somewhere to keep their electronic devices charged.

Some savvy airlines are installing dedicated and clearly signposted recharge stations in terminals and boarding gates, but when there's not an accessible lounge handy, or if there's a delay when you're already at the boarding gate, it's good to know where you can find an AC power socket to top up your laptop or tablet.

Here are our five top tips for a quick recharge at the airport. 

Check the support columns throughout the passenger waiting areas (more often than not you'll already see some laptop users clustered around these anyway). The AC outlets won't be on every column but there's usually enough to go around.

• Sometimes the AC outlets are hidden out of sight under a bank of payphones (especially in US airports).

• If it's outside peak hours, watch for the cleaning crews: any vacuum cleaners and such will have to be plugged in somewhere!

• Most airport cafes will have a few powerpoints, typically on the wall or sometimes on a support column. So grab a coffee, plug in your laptop and relax. You may however need to maneuver your table into the best position and be sure no-one can trip over your AC cord.

• We've even heard of travellers perching themselves at the end of an airport bar and, with the blessing of a friendly bartender (and provisional of course on ordering a 'real' drink or two, not dawdling over a glass of tapwater) plugging into an AC socket on the other side of the bar!

And here's a real-world tip to round things out: if you're going to be travelling through a lot of domestic airports, consider packing a slim-line double adaptor that's compatible with the local AC socket design.

Even if all the available powerpoints are already being used by fellow travellers, they'll be fine to let you share 'their' power point if you BYO adaptor.

Also read: Travel tip – pack an Australian power board when you head overseas.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 17/2/12 by pantone801

When I was flying through PEK regularly; I used to unplug a vending machine in a quiet boarding area.

2 on 21/6/12 by TessCam

Avalon Airport in Victoria has a dedicated laptop bench at the window in the departure terminal, with purpose built sockets for ease of access for passengers. The airport also offers FREE wireless internet.

3 on 19/10/12 by Sara

Some of the airports have got wise to this and the infloor power points (the ones with the little flap on top so they sit flush with the flooring) are locked!  It looks like they need a customised version of an Allen key to open them. This was, I think, in Brisbane Qantas public area.  .


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