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Michael Bennett is the former Senior Producer of the Travel Channels west coast operations and is currently a travel writer for Savoy and Black Enterprise Magazine. Michael is the host of Globetrotting on BET's BET on Jazz Network. For travel question write to


You've been assigned a hot news story in another state. You throw a few clothes in a suitcase grab your laptop computer and rush to the airport. You arrive at the airport ticket counter, check your bags and head to the gate clutching that old reliable laptop with your life's work stored inside. Laptops have become such an indispensable commodity it's a wonder how we ever survived without them.

Now you're airborne and out comes the laptop as your thoughts turn to the story you've been assigned.

After a few moments you realize the battery is not fully charged and you have about 30 minutes before its completely drained.

To make matters worse, you've been assigned an economy or coach class seat with no power port.

In the past, power ports were for first or business-class fliers only. The airlines finally realized the need to power up in coach and added power ports in selected seats throughout the cabin. According to "Business Traveler" magazine, American Airlines is your best bet when it comes to finding a good power supply in coach. They've installed power ports on selected seats on all their planes except the 727's and the recently acquired planes as a result of their merger with TWA.

To find out which seats have these power ports, log on to American's website at and look under "Programs and Services" then click on "Airport and Fleet Information."

Several carriers have limited power ports available on selected seats or certain planes within their fleet. US Airways offers power at every seat on its newer Airbus planes. Delta makes power available in their newer model Boeing 777, 737-800 and 767-400. If Continental is your preferred carrier they have connectivity on their Boeing 767 in rows 16-23 only and on the 777 in rows 17-23. To find out which seats allow you to power up checkout each carriers website or call the airlines.

Now that you've found the right seat you need to have the proper power adapter. Several companies provide adapters that fit just about any computer. Most US carriers are promoting adapters made by Xtend Micro Products. Log on to their website at to learn more about their products and cost. Another company you might want to check out is Targus. You can reach them at The prices vary from $100 to about $140. Not all adapters fit all computers so make sure you provide these companies with information about your laptop down to the model number when you make your purchase. Now you have an adapter and the right seat, but here's a few things you need to keep in mind when using your laptop on board. Most carriers will not allow you to charge your battery while flying.

In fact, some airlines will have you remove the laptop's battery before plugging in. The airlines are fearful that a charging battery could explode or overheat. Second, in-flight power does not provide your computer with maximum power. In-flight power supplies provide a maximum of 75 watts of power and most adapters deliver 60 to 75 watts of power. Laptops require 80 watts or more to run at maximum efficiency. It's best to fully charge your laptop before boarding the plane to give your computer the extra boost it needs. It's a problem the major carriers and adapter manufacturers are working on.