That’s the question that power-mad (in the electrical sense) travelers ask when they arrive at an airport with their phones and laptops screaming “battery low.”

The search can quickly lead an upstanding citizen down the low road. I’ll cop to: scouring every baseboard in a terminal in a mouse-like quest for a power hole; pinching the outlets behind the United check-in desks when nobody is looking; sitting on the floor, Buddha-style, in the middle of a crowded gate so I can draw a few minutes of juice from one inconveniently located power source; and unplugging the electronic garbage receptacles in the Atlanta airport so I can, er, borrow the outlet for a few minutes.

But on a recent visit to Iowa, I discovered that officials at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids have fashioned a slightly more civilized solution. Upholstered onto several of the chairs in the gate areas is a small symbol that indicates that an electrical outlet is within reach. If you need power, sit in one of those chairs. If you don’t, sit somewhere else. It’s akin to special seating for people with physical disabilities. Only this time, the seats are for those disabled by their anal-retentiveness. This might catch

6 Responses to “Where are the dang outlets?”

  1. Justin Brady says:

    Let’s hear it for Iowa! Thanks for coming to our state Dan. I am sorry I couldn’t come to your presentation, but a lot of my friends tell me it was great! I will catch you next time.

  2. Lots of stimulus-driven airport projects are underway. Instead of just bigger airports, how about some bold upgrade projects that allow passengers to get sufficiently powered and connected? Let’s use some of that money to get airports into the 21 century.

  3. Diann McCabe says:

    I took a laptop in a trip a few weeks ago–had just gotten the laptop (I know)–and had no idea that plugs were so hard to find. The chair with the electric outlet would have been great–hope that idea catches on.

    Texas State is abuzz after your 2 talks–very enthusiastic–you worked so hard and were so natural. A retired preschool administrator mentioned how your talk reminded her Maria Montessori in the “autonomous–mastery–purpose” context. THANK YOU!

  4. Peggy says:

    Let’s hope this idea catches on!!

    And Dan…I know you have a new book out and a list of where it can be bought…which outlet do you prefer? I LOVED your book, “A Whole New Mind” so I want your latest! Besides…I just might leave a review of it on my blog!


  5. Andre Natta says:

    The long-standing search for an electrical outlet is one of the reasons why I love whenever I get to fly with Southwest Airlines.

    Most of their gates include furniture that has not only power outlets but outlets for USB cords to allow you to recharge your iPod/mp3 device. It’s come in handy several times.

    BTW – enjoyed the TEDTalk from August!

  6. I wonder if we banned all electrical outlets from the airports would the places become more civilized? I know, we look at pics of the kids, connect via Skype and get that last spreadsheet spread, but your comment about the anal-retentive disability hit home. It’s odd when you select a disability, huh?

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