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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

January 8, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Power up: Fly Alaska Airlines? You’ll want to get on this plane

Alaska Airlines is installing 110 volt and USB power on every seat of equipped aircraft. For now, that's just one lucky plane. (Photo: Alaska Airlines)

Alaska Airlines is installing 110 volt and USB power on every seat of equipped aircraft. For now, that’s just one lucky plane. (Photo: Alaska Airlines)

The next time I fly an Alaska Airlines jet, I hope it’s the one with tail number 548.

That’s the one with power.

Every passenger who rides that particular Boeing 737-800 gets access to 110 volt and USB power for laptops, tablets and phones right at her seat, making Seattle-based Alaska the first U.S. carrier, it says, to provide both those outlets on equipped flights.

It’s just on this one plane, for now. And, no, Alaska isn’t releasing its flight schedule so you could, if you were so inclined, aim to be on it. But the airline says the dual outlets will eventually reach all 737-800, -900 and -900ER aircraft it flies — about three quarters of its fleet. A second plane should be equipped in the next couple weeks.

It’s not Virgin America — those planes have offered power for years — but it’s a start.

Power on all flights seems inevitable. When airports offered Wi-Fi, it wasn’t long before passengers demanded power. Batteries always drain faster than we’d like. What’s using one without access to the other?

The upgraded plane No. 548 took to the skies in mid-December It flew into Seattle from Anchorage on Dec. 30 and out to San Diego that same day, so it’s at least making rounds around the West Coast.

Flying Alaska soon? A display behind the gate will let you know if your flight gets power.

And now, I’ve got to disconnect my laptop from the outlet at the gate, board my powerless flight to Houston and hope the charge lasts as long as all this work I have to do.

It won’t.

Correction: I made an error in reporting how much of Alaska’s fleet will, according to current plans, be equipped with power outlets at every seat. It’s nearly three quarters of the fleet, not one-third. I changed the post to reflect that.

Seen a story that caught your eye re: digital life? Email me at mguzman@seattletimes.com or reach me on Twitter or Facebook.

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