AC or DC power on airplanes?? [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: AC or DC power on airplanes??

06-14-2012, 10:51 PM
Hey all...this may be a strange question but here goes...

I know that many 1st class cabins offered power adapters for, say, laptops and it was my understanding that the plugs/ports were DC powered. Thus, one would need a DC adapter to power one's laptop on a flight.

NOW...I like to visit Seat Guru and many of the planes show power ports in all classes but are listed as AC ports....thus needing an AC adapter...
I have access to a very large electronic store and they sell a few units that state that they are for both car and planes with appropriate adapter plugs for both uses...and they are listed as AC....

SO...all of you travel mavens who take your laptops on a plane, what do you use to power a laptop on a long flight?? MANY thanks!!!


06-14-2012, 11:05 PM
It depends on airline (and sometimes specific aircraft type).

AA is still 12v DC but I think the new 777 will be AC

06-15-2012, 12:03 AM
Despite what vendors tell you, there is still a lot of odd stuff in use. Early LH 747s had AC at 400 cycles per sec.

06-15-2012, 03:58 AM
Every plane on every airline is different, so it depends on who you will be flying to Europe. Most new birds are now delivered with regular power ports that require now adaptor and some even now have usb ports as well so that you can charge electronics. In addition, a lot of airlines have refitted their interiors so that no adaptors are needed. When I flew to Germany in April on US Airways A332 in Envoy class, the power port required no adaptor and accommodated any type of US/British/European plug. What airline/plane are you flying to Europe? is also a great resource for these types of questions if you can't find your answer here.

06-15-2012, 09:15 AM

This will tell you what seat has what type of power. Many airlines now offer an AC plug that you can plug your laptop into. Some use a strage plug design where you will need an adapter (Mpower I believe).

X3 Skier
06-16-2012, 08:07 AM
There is a current limit on power ports so make sure whatever you plan on using is supported. It is also a hit or miss type thing if it will work or not.

Last trip I took in 1st in a DL 737-800 a week ago, on the outbound leg, it was dead to anything I plugged in. On the trip back, the power outlet was OK for my iPhone but the portable O2 Concentrator that my wife uses drawing 1 Amp would not run.

You could also check Flyer Talk for info on this.


06-16-2012, 09:36 AM
Agreed with the others; you need to find out the specific aircraft type (down to the exact configuration) and plan accordingly.

You should also read about how your particular device works with aircraft power. Even though the plug looks "AC," you are not getting 120V like your standard wall outlet.

MacBooks are notorious for liking their power, and often times it trips the circuit on aircraft (just for the power outlet, not the whole plane :D).