The Ethics of Using Airport Outlets

This post today on the NY Times caught my eye – The Ethics of Using Airport Outlets. With all of our electronic devices (and the fact that many of them can’t hold a charge for a couple of hours), the use of outlets at coffee shops, conferences, and airports is becoming more and more of a question.

I do think that we do need to be more courteous of those around us. If our device has a full charge that will last us awhile, let someone else use the outlet.

However, there were a couple of things that the author said that I disagree with:

With outlets in such short supply, I’d like to see use limits, say 15 to 20 minutes, become the accepted unspoken norm.

While a 15 minute charge might give my blackberry enough juice to last a couple of hours, my laptop would laugh at that short amount of time … especially if I was using it at the same time as I was charging it.

Or, at the least, I’d like to see people only use the outlets for quick charging or for work they have to get done and not just to watch a movie.

Why should working take precedence over someone spending time to watch a movie? It is an airport. I know the concept is foreign to most business travelers, but many people do go to airports to take trips for something other than business. And, maybe she was travelling for business but deciding to take some down time and enjoy herself a little bit.


  1. I carry a small three- outlet splitter when I travel. That way I’m always leaving room for others, and when none are available I’ve always found people are willing to let me plug into their outlet.

    1. I keep thinking I need to get one of those … simply because I usually have at least two things that I’m trying to charge myself.

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