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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines Laptop Macs
Not sure this is a hint, more a warning and how to get around it. I fly often and have to upgrade to Business so as to ensure a power socket at the seat. And I fly United because of their generous air miles packages which make upgrading affordable. However, United Business have new lie-flat seats, with a new 110V power supply instead of the old airplane-style one. The problem is that the socket is recessed in the console, and even the smaller power brick for the MacBook Air won't fit (you can insert the pins, but not far enough). There are a few ways around this:
  1. Upgrade to First -- the power socket is not recessed.
  2. Ask if you can charge the MacBook in First, and watch a movie at your regular Business seat while it charges.
  3. Bring an international travel adaptor with you (e.g. use the 3 pin UK plug on the power brick, and attach it to an adaptor for the US 2-pin style -- if your adaptor is a standard size, it's likely to fit into the recessed socket).
  4. Travel with the long power cord, and connect that to the brick and plug it into the recessed socket.
I have used both the second and third options above, which both work. Option two has the advantage of maintaining a healthier life-work balance, but it also relies on there being an empty seat in First.

[robg adds: I don't travel often, but when I do, I bring the long power cord with me, just because the end plug is very standard, and will fit in any three-prong outlet, regardless of what might be surrounding it.]
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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: tbolioli on Nov 14, '08 07:57:49AM

This affects any Business class flights using those seats. I have run across the same problem on Delta.



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Power Strip Liberator cords
Authored by: lujo on Nov 14, '08 08:04:20AM
I came to love Power Strip Liberator cords at home, but to avoid carrying the long cord for the power brick when traveling and still have some flexibility, I usually carry a Power Strip Liberator cord. It would help in this scenario, too. The standard works well, the 2-prong is slimmer and works better in tight situations and when only a 2-prong connection is available, and the Y-splitter offers up an extra outlet, which can be especially helpful when having to share outlets in the terminal.

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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: NovaScotian on Nov 14, '08 08:07:45AM

I don't know if they're available in the USA, but in Canada you can buy a two-prong male to three-prong female current tap (with a tab on the two-prong end that is supposed to go under the screw on the receptacle cover). With that tab removed and the power brick plugged into the female end, I've found you can plug the brick into any receptacle no matter how deep. Don't worry about the lack of ground, the brick itself is two prong.



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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: j-beda on Nov 15, '08 06:11:31AM

I think the brick includes grounding on the metal post holding the plug/cord in place - note that Apple's extension cord does have little metal springs that contact this post. Of course the 2-prong plug does not have a ground plug, so obviously the ground attachment is not strictly necessary.



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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: thiefhunter on Nov 14, '08 09:37:07AM
Even among United's planes, there are differences, and there's no reliability. Same with hotels. Therefore, we frequent travelers have to carry everything. Long power cord, for sure. Various adapters, multi-outlet extension cords… We carry ethernet cords, a traveling router, firewire and usb cables, hard drives, and more. It's a hassle, but it makes us productive on the road. I travel a lot. Thiefhunters in Paradise my travel stats

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Thiefhunters in Paradise

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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: Anonymous182 on Nov 14, '08 09:46:03AM
May not apply to United Airlines flights in specific, however I keep a 'Current Tap' in my laptop bag. I use it with my long cord when power is 'far' and only offering a 'two prong' plug like in many older homes.

I expect that it would work well in the scenario described above.

The one that I use is a 'Litesun LA-1 Current Tap', googling for it results with the following image.

http://www.nblitesun.com/encpmore.asp?id=53

You should be able to pick this up at your local hardware store for a few cents.

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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: Solarusdude on Nov 14, '08 09:56:00AM

I haven't tried this, but wouldn't the extension cord that comes with the power brick do the trick?



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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: mike3k on Nov 14, '08 10:46:28AM

Why not just use the long cord? That's what I always use. I never even use the other one - when I get a new laptop I just toss that one in a drawer somewhere. I prefer having a real cord with the adapter resting on my desk instead of being a wall wart that can get knocked out easily.



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Use Playstation cord
Authored by: tonyo on Nov 14, '08 11:44:18AM

I read a hint somewhere on the internet tubes that a Sony Playstation cord fits in the brick perfectly - and is much lighter than the standard power cord to boot.



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Use Playstation cord
Authored by: miked378 on Nov 14, '08 02:52:15PM
You probably read about using Playstation cords on Cool Tools. At least that's where I saw it. Note that this is also the cord used for many other electronics, not just Playstations.

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Did you try Captain Cheapo's solution instead?
Authored by: bogdescu on Nov 14, '08 06:53:18PM

Standard, radioshack-available boombox powercords work on Apple laptop power bricks.

If I'm not mistaken, the third (ground) prong on the Apple power cords is superfluous - there are only two wires going into the brick anyway, the third one is "lost in translation".

I've been replacing the standard Apple powercords with these on my powerbooks for years. They are lighter, thinner, and they set you back a whopping buck when you loose them. Yes, you can also get them in white. If you forgot to get one, there's always a boombox around to use as a temporary organ donor.

The other sweet thing about these cables is that they are globaly available in "localized" versions (i.e. with the local variation of the power plug on the wall end), so you can get them them in - say - Ireland, or Poland and use them instead of an international adapter.

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Did you try Captain Cheapo's solution instead?
Authored by: asmeurer on Nov 15, '08 01:14:45PM

I think the ground is used. I have heard that using the grounded wire can help reduce static electricity on the aluminum casing of a MacBook Pro, and if you'll notice, the round metal knob thing that the cord attachment slides into on the brick contacts a metal part in the three pronged connector attachment that doesn't exist in the two pronged connector attachment.



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Did you try Captain Cheapo's solution instead?
Authored by: asmeurer on Nov 15, '08 01:16:51PM

With that being said, I'm not so sure if the ground will do much on an airplane. :-)



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Did you try Captain Cheapo's solution instead?
Authored by: robogobo on Nov 15, '08 03:42:06PM

sure does. the earth ground keeps the body of the laptop from buzzing. boombox cords will not help this. it should also be the case on the plane, since the ground is probably wired to the plane chassis.



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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: wgscott on Nov 16, '08 07:50:23AM

How many extra batteries can you buy for the price of an upgrade?



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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: Coumerelli on Nov 17, '08 07:10:53AM

+1

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"The best way to accelerate a PC is 9.8 m/s2"



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Travel tips for Mac laptop users on United Airlines
Authored by: mikegyver on Nov 18, '08 08:40:30AM

Shameless plug.

We have AC / DC universal adapters; less worries about finding power on airlines.


mikegyver.com



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