Find an airline/airplane with laptop power before you book
Use our Comparison Charts to identify the airlines and airplanes that offer in-seat laptop power. Select the Comparison Charts section from the left-hand menu system and choose the chart 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 the adapter type that you'll need.
Choose a seat with laptop power for your upcoming flight
Navigate to the airline and airplane type for your upcoming flight using the left-hand menu system. If you aren't sure of your airplane type, read our guide to identifying your aircraft .
If your airplane has laptop power, a power port icon will display in the In-flight Amenity description section. There are three different 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.
Laptop Power Port Type: AC Power
In seats 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)
Laptop 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 your laptop, you'll need an adapter. Adapters are usually available from your laptop manufacturer 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.
Laptop Power Port Type: EmPower® DC Power
EmPower® is the most widely installed in-seat power system in the skies today. More than 40 airlines feature this type of port. EmPower features 15V DC power at up to 75 watts per outlet, and, you'll need an adapter that is compatible with EmPower. If you already have a cigarette style adapter, you can buy a small, inexpensive
device that will allow you to use your cigarette adapter with an EmPower port.
Can you recommend some 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, EmPower, 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 that "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:
Dell Laptop Owners: While other models also work with Dell laptops, Dell provides technical support when you use the Dell Slim Auto/Air/AC Power Adapter .
Inverters: Another option is an inverter. This device converts DC Power (Cigarette or EmPower) 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 has a small inverter that provides higher power in a car and matches the 75W airplane EmPower port.
Plug Converters: If you already have a Cigarette-style DC adapter and want to try to use it with an EmPower port, you can buy an inexpensive adapter.
Will there be enough power for my device (how many watts can it handle)?
Most airplane power systems are limited to approximately 75 Watts of power draw per seat. This means that a new 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. You can try taking your battery out all together, or buy a smaller laptop.
The SeatGuru power converter reviewers recommend removing the laptop battery before plugging the device into the EmPower unit. The laptop should then run on EmPower. Often, about one hour to 30 minutes before the end of a flight, the EmPower system will be as shut-off, and the laptop will abruptly lose power. (Make sure to save your work!)
Will my 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, like Continental Airlines, specifically state that battery charging is not allowed and ask you to remove your rechargeable battery from your device.