Traveling in the electronic age is rather interesting, or frustrating, depending on your point of view and experience.
On my vacation last week, I had the opportunity to visit four different airport concourses. All were Southwest Airlines concourses, but I am not actually sure who is responsible for setting them up. Obviously the airport maintains them (cleaning, etc.), but as far as designing and then implementing the design, as I understand, that is up to the airline.
The interesting thing is that all four airports had vastly different designs and amenities. Seattle’s hub, surprisingly, was the most comfortable and there were AMPLE places to plug in the electronic devices. Between a bar looking setup with plugs to all the chairs having plugs and USB ports, there was no fighting over access. As such, there was no possibility of running short on power, but I was just starting my trip so everything was fully powered already.
San Jose’s Southwest concourse was rather dinky and probably the least comfortable of all four, but again the chairs all had plugs and USB ports available so now finding a place to top off the devices wasn’t difficult. Find an open seat (maybe more difficult since it was a small place) and plug in.
Phoenix’s Southwest concourse was actually comfortable, but access to power was rather sparse. Again, I was fully charged so I didn’t need a place to power-up, but if I had there seemed to be a few “bar” looking places spaced throughout the concourse, but the plugs available at these were limited. The seating had no charging capability at all, at least not at the gate I was at and it didn’t look any different any place else.
Finally, Southwest’s Sacramento concourse was a decent size but again the power options were really limited. Again, there were a few of those “bar” options, but again nothing in the chairs. Fortunately, there wasn’t anything that needed topped off for me at this point in my trip. I was conserving power fairly well.
The return trip home was rather eye-opening. I fully expected that what I had available to me on my trip down would be available to me on the way home. That was not the case. I was a little surprised that the airline didn’t have the same amenities available in all of it’s concourses, at least as far as access to power goes. Yes, I know size of the airport and what other comforts available depend highly on the design of the building, but the easiest and most effective way to offer power options to your flyers is to add the chairs with power access right in them. The last two airports, not so much.
So, if you haven’t flown in a while, be prepared to be “powerless” on some legs of your trip. You may have to supply your own as the battle for outlets continues to increase in our electronics driven lives.