Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm charged up...don't put me down...some like it hot

I don't know if David Bryne flew through Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport [22 SEP - HE DIDN'T - THERE IS NO AIRPORT NEAR FORTH WORTH] when he was working on True Stories back in the 1980s, and I don't know if Tom Kyte's son ever flies through DFW, but if they were to go there today, their electronic devices would not run out (sorry):

Across the U.S., airports are trying to bring precious energy more conveniently to millions of travelers who rely on a plethora of battery-powered devices.

It might not be as glamorous as wireless Internet access, but in a year of unprecedented airline delays and cancellations, free, easy electrical access helps make terminal time more productive and less stressful.

At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, officials for years have been exploring ways to pipe in more electricity. Initially, the airport charged travelers a few dollars to juice up. But it quickly became apparent that -- unlike wireless Internet -- people weren't willing to pay for electricity, said Ken Buchanan, the airport's vice president of revenue management....

Two charging kiosks near DFW's heavily used train system in terminals A and B are the airport's most recent experiments. Installed a few weeks ago, each kiosk has four seating areas equipped with a small desk and an electrical outlet. In addition, the kiosks have Ethernet plugs that tap into the facility's free Internet connection....

At DFW, Samsung Telecommunications America, a Dallas-based wireless subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., struck a deal with the airport to install Samsung-branded charging lounges, which are free to travelers.

Samsung also has kiosks at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Los Angeles International Airport.

When I went through DFW in June, I remember going into a lounge to charge my phone. I think it was a Samsung lounge (which made the charging of a Motorola Q somewhat awkward).

But electricity is not free everywhere:

Though most of the offerings are free, at least one company still charges travelers for power.

Power Station LLC, of Brea, Calif., operates "PowerPort" vending machines in seven airports across the country, including Jacksonville International Airport in Florida, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York.

The PowerPort machines feature charging bays where travelers can swipe a credit card, then charge their laptops or cellphones for $4.50 an hour. The walk-up systems also offer wired Internet access at a price of $2 for 10 minutes.

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