You've no doubt heard the good news: The FAA has lifted its ban on the use of portable electronic devices under 10,000 feet. Now, when we're waiting out delays on the tarmac, we can actually use that time productively, reading our e-books, watching movies on our iPads—or, as is too often the case for me, working furiously on our laptops. All of that additional electronics usage raises a problem, though: How do we keep our devices powered up all the way from takeoff to touchdown when there are no power outlets?
Only five percent of domestic economy flights offer A/C or USB outlets, according to flight search Web site Routehappy. Personally, I'm astonished by the number of United transcontinental flights I've flown (between Newark and San Francisco) where there were no power ports in first class! (I'm sometimes lucky enough to get upgraded because of my elite MileagePlus status.) So I thought I'd share the work-arounds I've come up with to keep my devices charged on long flights. I'd love to know what you'd add:
Carry a portable power charger. I carry an Innergie PocketCell rechargeable battery bank to recharge my iPhone.(It weighs 2.5 ounces.) The Mophie Powerstation weighs a little more (4.4 ounces) but offers enough power for effective charging of tablets like the iPad. For my laptop I simply carry an extra battery. Gary Leff once suggested I get this external laptop battery/charger—and I may well ask for one for Christmas!
Pack a small power strip. If you've ever seen the crowds hovering around an airport power outlet, you know why bringing your own mini-power strip or outlet splitter is smart. Mine creates four outlets from one, letting me recharge while sharing power with up to three other travelers.
Schedule more time between connecting flights. I'm not kidding. If a connection is necessary, I'll make sure the layover is long enough to allow me to recharge my devices for the next flight.
What do you do to stay charged in transit? I'd love to hear.
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