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Power outlet location issue for UA lie-flat seats (& short power cables)

Power outlet location issue for UA lie-flat seats (& short power cables)

Old Mar 14, 2018, 12:48 am
  #1  
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Thumbs down Power outlet location issue for UA lie-flat seats (& short power cables)

This is my first experience in a Polaris BC seat (SFO - SYD). All in all a pretty good setup. However, I came across a design flaw that kind of blew my mind. I use an iPad on most flights, and while Im sure far more folks prefer to work from a laptop, I know I am not alone by any means. I have the Apple smartcover with keyboard, so i can use the iPad for work. Anyhow, I went to plug it in to the power outlet, which they decided to locate over my left shoulder about 18 inches or so behind me. So the standard Apple lighting cable doesnt reach the lighting port on the iPad! Im certain a lot of thought and engineering go into these BC seats, but cmon, how did they overlook this one? But it gets worse. The plug location also makes it nearly impossible to use your iPhone while charging. Your iPhone! How many hundreds of millions of flyers have these devices? This isnt an oversight. This is a Homer Simpson doh! moment.

Ok, I know, a total first-world, first-class complaint. Whaaaahh, my champagne spilled on my caviar, whaaaahhh!

Still, total Homer move.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 12:56 am
  #2  
 
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I always travel with a 6' (2 meter) cable. In part for that very problem. I also carry a 1 meter headphone extension for my Bose noise-canceling earbuds. With those power and audio connectors so far behind you, that extra length makes all the difference.
While I know that the location of those connections can be annoying, I do find that the little alcove where they are located is very handy for eyeglasses and other little delicate bits and pieces.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 1:21 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by jlfour
This is my first experience in a Polaris BC seat (SFO - SYD).
Actually you're still 0'fer on that score. The 789 UA uses on that route does not have the Polaris seat.

The actual Polaris seat does have a USB outlet that's conveniently located near the video monitor. I agree the placement of the power outlet on the sCO seat you sat in on the 789 is less than ideal. It's equally bad on UA's other old-version business class seat.

And . . . welcome to FT!
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 2:03 am
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Originally Posted by tvhead
I always travel with a 6' (2 meter) cable. In part for that very problem. I also carry a 1 meter headphone extension for my Bose noise-canceling earbuds. With those power and audio connectors so far behind you, that extra length makes all the difference.
While I know that the location of those connections can be annoying, I do find that the little alcove where they are located is very handy for eyeglasses and other little delicate bits and pieces.
Exactly -- JCABC (Just Carry A Bigger Cord) -- as it's not just in airplanes where you'll run into this issue; some hotels I've stayed in have no power outlets near the bed or nightstands!

Welcome to Flyer Talk!
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 2:27 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by jlfour
......So the standard Apple lighting cable doesn’t reach the lighting port on the iPad!.....
Get a 2m lightning cable. Problem solved. You will have the same issue at many hotels when using your iphone in bed. 3m Lightning cables are also available.

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/M...D458e%252B45c4
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 2:59 am
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I have a similar problem with the sCO seats, but not the sUA seats: my Bose earbuds on the sCO Biz seats need to be plugged in over my shoulder - if I move forward at all, then they become unplugged. The sCO seats have it by my hands, which is much more sensible. I've not flown the new Biz seats yet so can't comment on them.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 3:18 am
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo
I have a similar problem with the sCO seats, but not the sUA seats: my Bose earbuds on the sCO Biz seats need to be plugged in over my shoulder - if I move forward at all, then they become unplugged. The sCO seats have it by my hands, which is much more sensible. I've not flown the new Biz seats yet so can't comment on them.
Same seats on the dreamliner and I have the same problem (I think it's a common complaint). I did find that getting a cheap 2-prong adapter helps to mitigate this, if only because it changes the angle of the pull when you lean forward.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 5:11 am
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Never flown premium cabin in a 787, and I dont do it often, but have in a PMCO 777, and yeah, the outlet placement behind you is absolutely awful. It definitely needs to be in front. Also a PITA to actually turn around and manouvre oneself to actually get anything plugged in. I sincerely hope in the actual new Polaris seat this has been rethought.

Even the outlets underneath the seats in Y arent quite as bad to plug something in, though to be honest, is much better on most international carriers where the outlet is on the back of the seat in front of you.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 5:23 am
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If you travel enough you'll learn to not rely on good design sense and therefore carry an extra longer cable. You'll always be prepared that way.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 6:52 am
  #10  
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It's the same idea of using a laptop - even though it has a longer cord, I've always found my standard power adapter trips the breaker on the outlet (experienced with Macs and Thinkpads), that I don't always notice until my battery is mostly drained. So, I ended up buying low wattage adapters for my laptops to minimize my chances of a dead battery, specifically for airline flying. As others have said, the Dreamliner and older business seats weren't really optimized for the power plug placement; I assume it was meant to plug in your phone, and leave it in the bin.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 9:12 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by jlfour
This is my first experience in a Polaris BC seat (SFO - SYD).

Anyhow, I went to plug it in to the power outlet, which they decided to locate over my left shoulder about 18 inches or so behind me. So the standard Apple lighting cable doesn’t reach the lighting port on the iPad! I’m certain a lot of thought and engineering go into these BC seats, but c’mon, how did they overlook this one? But it gets worse. The plug location also makes it nearly impossible to use your iPhone while charging. Your iPhone! How many hundreds of millions of flyers have these devices? This isn’t an oversight. This is a Homer Simpson “doh!” moment.
A minor but important point: You were not in the Polaris seat, you were in a legacy seat with service that has been rebranded as Polaris.

The seat you were in was designed before the iPhone was released, much less the iPad.

Why anyone would would put such a seat in a 2016 delivery 787-9 is a very good question.

UA has other business class seats in their fleet with more reasonable power plug locations, but you can't find such quality products on all their routes.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by jlfour
This is my first experience in a Polaris BC seat (SFO - SYD). All in all a pretty good setup. However, I came across a design flaw that kind of blew my mind. I use an iPad on most flights, and while Im sure far more folks prefer to work from a laptop, I know I am not alone by any means. I have the Apple smartcover with keyboard, so i can use the iPad for work. Anyhow, I went to plug it in to the power outlet, which they decided to locate over my left shoulder about 18 inches or so behind me. So the standard Apple lighting cable doesnt reach the lighting port on the iPad! Im certain a lot of thought and engineering go into these BC seats, but cmon, how did they overlook this one? But it gets worse. The plug location also makes it nearly impossible to use your iPhone while charging. Your iPhone! How many hundreds of millions of flyers have these devices? This isnt an oversight. This is a Homer Simpson doh! moment.

Ok, I know, a total first-world, first-class complaint. Whaaaahh, my champagne spilled on my caviar, whaaaahhh!

Still, total Homer move.
I was on a 787 to and from LHR this past weekend and I saw a sign pointing to iPad power at the side of the shelf above the footwell. I didn't try it but it appeared to be a USB port there.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 9:24 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by luke5111
I was on a 787 to and from LHR this past weekend and I saw a sign pointing to iPad power at the side of the shelf above the footwell. I didn't try it but it appeared to be a USB port there.
I believe thats an ancient iPod connector of some sort.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 9:29 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by luke5111
I was on a 787 to and from LHR this past weekend and I saw a sign pointing to iPad power at the side of the shelf above the footwell. I didn't try it but it appeared to be a USB port there.
Originally Posted by mr8

I believe that’s an ancient iPod connector of some sort.
Yep: iPod connectivity will also be available at the seat, allowing each customer to view their personal videos and enjoy their music, all while the iPod is charging.
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Old Mar 14, 2018, 11:08 am
  #15  
 
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This kind of thing makes me more angry at Apple than a the seat design. As an engineer designing this thing, I would have felt quite good about locating the power outlet a foot and a half away. Should be in a good place to charge your devices on the side table without having cords hanging into your seat or into your leg/foot space. I would not have anticipated my idiotic counterparts at Apple deciding its customers should be able to position themselves with an outlet squarely in front of their face at all times.
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