If you have a flight coming up, especially a long flight, you no doubt want to know if you will be able to charge your phone, laptop, and other electronic devices, so they won’t run out of battery during the flight.
Whether a plane has a power outlet (as well as a USB port) or not depends on the plane and the airline.
Generally, if you’re flying with a non-budget airline and/or are flying to an international destination, the plane is more likely to have a power outlet.
Table of Contents
- 1 Airlines that Do and Don’t Provide Outlets
- 2 Not All Airplanes Have USB Ports Either
- 3 Whether You’re Flying Domestic or International Probably Won’t Matter
- 4 You Will Be Able to Charge Your Phone, But Probably Not Your Laptop
- 5 What to Do If the Airplane Power Outlet Isn’t Working
- 6 You Might Be Able to Connect to In-flight Wi-Fi Too
- 7 You Can Use Your Phone on a Plane
- 8 You Can Use Your Laptop on a Plane
Airlines that Do and Don’t Provide Outlets
- Alaska Airlines (Yes): The majority of Alaska Airlines flights have a power outlet.
- Allegiant Air (No): Allegiant’s planes are not equipped with power outlets.
- Delta Airlines (Yes): One of the best things about flying with Delta is that you can actually see which seats have a power outlet when booking your seat.
- Frontier Airlines (No): Frontier do not offer any power outlets on any of their flights.
- JetBlue (Yes): All of JetBlue’s Airbus A321 aircraft feature a power outlet. The airline’s A320 planes are currently in the process of being upgraded with new seats, new TVs, new lighting, as well as in-seat power outlets and USB ports.
- Southwest Airlines (No): Despite their popularity, Southwest are behind the times and do not offer any power outlets onboard.
- Spirit Airlines (No): Spirit is another airline that doesn’t offer any power outlets on their planes.
- United Airlines (Mostly): When flying with United, all international flights will have in-flight power, though the same can’t be said of all domestic flights. You can determine if your upcoming flight offers power outlets here.
Not All Airplanes Have USB Ports Either
- Alaska Airlines (Yes): The majority of Alaska Airlines flights have a USB port for charging your phone.
- Allegiant Air (No): None of Allegiant’s planes are equipped with USB ports.
- American Airlines (Yes): The majority of American Airlines’ planes will have a power outlet for you to charge your device.
- Frontier Airlines (No): Frontier do not provide USB ports on any of their flights.
- JetBlue (Yes): All of JetBlue’s Airbus A321 aircraft feature a USB Port. The airline’s A320 planes are currently in the process of being upgraded to include USB ports.
- Southwest Airlines (No): Southwest currently do not provide USB ports on their planes, though plan to install USB ports on their Boeing 737 MAX jets from 2023.
- Spirit Airlines (No): Spirit is another airline that doesn’t offer have USB ports on their planes.
- United Airlines (Mostly): All international flights will have in-flight power, including USB ports, but this doesn’t apply to all domestic flights.
Whether You’re Flying Domestic or International Probably Won’t Matter
Airline power outlets can take different plugs (two prong and three prong plugs, for example), so it makes no difference what country your charger is designed for, as it will always fit into a plane’s power outlet.
The outlet that a plane has is either 110V or 220V, depending on the country the airline is based.
However, as most phones, laptops and other personal electronic devices are designed to function with both 110V and 220V power, you will have no problem charging your device regardless if you’re flying domestically or internationally with a non-US air carrier.
You Will Be Able to Charge Your Phone, But Probably Not Your Laptop
While you can definitely charge your phone on a plane, keep in mind that most power systems on airplanes are limited to 75 watts of power per seat, which might not be enough to charge your laptop.
What to Do If the Airplane Power Outlet Isn’t Working
In some instances, you may be stuck in a seat that has a power outlet that doesn’t work.
If the power outlet where you are seated on a plane doesn’t work:
- Speak to a flight attendant, as it’s not uncommon for aircraft in-flight power systems to be disabled and then enabled once the plane has reached a safe altitude.
- Ask a flight attendant if you can be moved to a new seat if available.
- Ask the passenger next to you if they mind if you use their outlet
- Ask a flight attendant if they can charge your device for you.
- You can bring a power bank on a plane.
You Might Be Able to Connect to In-flight Wi-Fi Too
Many airlines operate planes that have Wi-Fi, which can either be used for free or you will have to pay a fee to use.
Generally, the less budget the airline and the longer the flight, the higher the likelihood that the plane will have Wi-Fi – and for free.
So, you can use Wi-Fi on a plane to make texts, use WhatsApp, listen to Spotify, watch Netflix, and browse the internet during your flight.
You Can Use Your Phone on a Plane
You can use your phone on a plane, though are limited in what you can do, as for most of the flight, your phone is required to be in Airplane Mode.
In other words, you will not be able to make calls or send SMS messages while flying, though the latter can be done if the plane has Wi-Fi and your phone supports texts over Wi-Fi.
You Can Use Your Laptop on a Plane
You can use a laptop on a plane throughout the duration of your flight, except during takeoff and landing.
Your laptop should be switched to airplane mode, though you can still use Bluetooth on a plane, as well as Wi-Fi.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).