Recharge Your Batteries For Free At Airports

The folks at BoingBoing are rightly angered by the trend in airports to feature pay-per-use electric charging stations. It’s bad enough that you’re stuck in the terminal, waiting for your delayed flight to finally start boarding, only to sit and wait some more while seated in 25B. Now, more and more airports are renting out their power sockets, so you can’t even recharge that laptop, cellphone, or DVD player while you’re killing time.

Jeff Sandquist’s Air Power Wiki to the rescue!

The site details the precise locations of free electric sockets, with sometimes colorful descriptions like:

Oakland: “Great power plug spot (6 outlets) in Terminal 2, across from the Men’s room by the Round Table Pizza”

Philadelphia: “Gates E-1-10 (Southwest/Delta): Look for the green lockers on either side of the main corridor. Under each are a pair of outlets.”

Seattle: “Saw a dude using one on the pilars right behind the security checkpoint. TSA didn’t bitch.”

You already pay $3 or $4.50 to the airport whenever you land. (It’s included in your ticket’s taxes and fees.) At that rate, the least they can do is give you a few pennies worth of juice. MARK ASHLEY

(Photo: Conspiracy of Happiness)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Kornkob says:

    *shrug* I’ve never seen what all the hoopla was about when they started charging for this stuff.

    Then again what it really does is open up an opportunity for a business to put a bunch of plugs in their resturant/bar and use it as a way to drive business in.

  2. Amy Alkon says:

    Is there a single aspect left of going to an airport and getting on a plane that’s pleasurable?

  3. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    It sounds like a strategy guide for finding hidden items in a video game.

  4. hassanchop says:

    I have found that the bathrooms are a good place to find an open outlet. It might not be the best place but there are always open outlets.

  5. Another good place to find outlets is next to those electronic trash cans (the ones that just randomly compact the stuff in them, or at least thats what I think they do) or next to the baggage cart rental/return things by baggage claim. Anytime you can find anything electronic, you can find a plug (and not that I recommend this, but you can unplug said machine if it is an emergency).

  6. Do2 says:

    Thankfully, at least they didn’t claim it was a safety issue.

    You could see it, “Airport outlets turned off in response to idiot who sticks finger in socket while charging cell phone.”

  7. guroth says:

    “It sounds like a strategy guide for finding hidden items in a video game.”

    Just another example of life imitating art.
    Now in 30 years when you find yourself running around looking for a hidden first aid kit just think back to this thread and think to yourself “why didn’t I see this coming?”

  8. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Or you could hope you have an airport as nice (at least in terms of free outlets) as the one we have here in Albuquerque. Throught the terminal there are ‘work stations’ scattered about that are long tables with long (~20 outlet) powerstrips on them that are for people to sit at and plug in their laptops. That you can use with the free wi-fi the airport provides. I haven’t seen anything like it at any other airport, and it’s a very nice feature to have in my opinion.

  9. formergr says:

    At O’Hare there is a whole bank of little cubes in the C terminal (I believe) with free power outlets sponsored by some company (shows how well that’s working for them!). They are always jam-packed with folks on their laptops…

  10. Chris says:

    I don’t see how an airport is going to eliminate free electrical outlets. The cleaning crews need outlets to plug in vacuum cleaners, if nothing else.

  11. Scuba Steve says:

    I would die without free electrical outlets at airports. And that’s saying something, cause I rarely fly.

  12. Craig says:

    They’re either going to charge the people who use the outlets or increase the airport fee for everyone to cover their costs. Personally I’d rather pay when I need it as long as it’s reasonable.

  13. Mark Ashley says:

    Comment sent in via e-mail:

    Ben wrote:
    I would like to comment on the Airport Power outlet story on the but I am not a member. I would just like to point out that based on my cell phone charger that is rated at 70 mA and 120 V, it would only cost roughly
    $0.001092 to charge for one hour. A fraction of a penny. The airport chargers run from 3 to 6 dollars an hour! That’s 2,747 to 5,494 TIMES the actual cost of the electricity!!! That’s a scam…

    (someone may want to check my math, but I think its right based on average consumer electricity rates in Texas, $0.13/kWh)

  14. RandomHookup says:


    Of course the charge for electricity will be reasonable, just like the $12 sandwich and $3 Coke.

  15. DutchFlat says:

    Of course charging for an outlet is a scam. Anything to rape your pocketbook. The assholes who dream this kind of crap up should be shot. Really. Politicians and scam artists all. How much electricity can people use while waiting for an airplane? Pennies.
    In Sacramento, it costs just about exactly ten cents to fully charge a Segway Personal Transporter. That’s good for twenty-five miles. And, you’re looking at about eight hours to charge it. Really, how much juice can a personal computer use? OH! I forgot, it does involve the airport having to have high-tech interfaces available. A socket. Fuck Dallas-Ft. Wroth.

  16. DutchFlat says:

    Earlier comments justifying the charges are idiotic. People who accept this are the same kind of people who get mugged in dark alleys. They just ASK FOR IT! “Hey, Wow, I’ll pay anything you ask. Just be sure you charge enough to make a good profit.” This guy says he doesn’t mind paying when he needs it, “as long as it’s reasonable.” Is a markup of two to five THOUSAND times the cost “reasonable.” Damn, some people are soooooo stupid!

  17. r3m0t says:

    @Craig: Raise the airport fee to cover their costs? What costs?? The cost of a coin-op machine at every socket, perhaps?

    @DutchFlat: No, it’s unreasonable, but they can sell whatever they like at whatever price they like. You don’t need that outlet.

    @Chris: They can give their cleaning staff fishkeys (or normal keys) while expecting everybody else to use the coin-op machine. It isn’t too difficult.