Thoughts on the O'Hare experience

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I'm currently experiencing the fun of flying through O'Hare and I've got a suggestion for an improvement to the terminal environment:

In the name of all that does not suck, put in some more power outlets.

In my tour of about 5 different gates, I've found exactly two wall plates with 2 plugs each. One plug on the first wall plate was being used to charge those battery-powered carts that airport personnel zip around in and I wasn't brave enough to unplug it. Another desperate traveler was sitting in the cart using the other plug. The other wall plate was about 4 gates down embedded in the base of a metal pillar. Understand that when I say embedded I speak loosely, as more accurate description would be "hanging off of"; it appears that the AC cables were the only thing connecting the faceplate to the pillar. There also appears to be something wrong with the springs that hold your plug into the outlet, since my plug won't stay more than about half in. I'm not a a licensed electrician, but I'm pretty sure that's not code.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of those brass floor power boxes with the hinged doors. In any other environment those boxes would actually contain power plugs, but here in Chicago, they've apparently decided that a better use for them would be to store trash.


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I think that depends on which concourse you are at in O'Hare. The last time I was there looking for power, there were plenty of wall outlets... it was just that most of them were turned OFF.

I largely suspect they do it on purpose to drive people into the airline lounges. Being that the lounges are getting more crowded and are offerring fewer perks, the precious power outlets maybe the only thing that drives people in there these days.

Airline clubs have plentiful power outlets. My guess is that one reason power outlets might be scarce is to encourage frequent travelers to buy memberships. If you have an urgent need, you can also pay for access to "Laptop Lane" where they'll give you wired Internet, power and printing - though that's not cheap.

or go buy some extra batteries for your laptop! as a semi-frequent road (air?) warrior, i carry three batteries, and those always last me through a flight to the east coast or back.

it's not cheap either, but if you travel with any frequency, it's cheaper than Laptop Lane access or buying your way into the red carpet club.

And a special ++ to Apple's batteries, where you can press a button on the battery and know if/how much it is charged.

You thank that sucks - try LAX. As far as I can tell, and confirmed by several employees, there is no wireless at all but one of the terminals in LAX and you can only get it at that one by sitting outside a airline lounge and hoping the 1 bar of signal strength will work.

At least the airports seem to believe that AC plugs are a convenience for passengers. New Jersey's Railroad people have been known to arrest passengers in waiting rooms for theft of electricity when they plugged in.
- The Precision Blogger

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