The demand to charge is one that is becoming more of a demand in the air, as travellers seek to charge their phones and tablets. Lufthansa Technik showed off a concept for retrofit – USB charging… installed in the Overhead Passenger Service Unit
Walk me through this…
At the moment, a lot of the USB charging solutions are either in the seat, or embedded into In-flight entertainment system
USB Power installed at seat on a BA 747 retro-fit
Whilst USB Power is becoming more popular on line-fit options on a plane, sometimes it would cost a lot to retrofit a USB charging point on a seat – with the possible certification costs too (and these can add up quickly).
According to Lufthansa Technik, the overhead charging solution:
(it) can be simply installed in the passenger service unit within the overhead panel and is supplied by the untapped energy of the reading lights. There is no need for additional installations, which is why it is approximately 50 percent lighter than competing products.
How does it look in use?
I played with a live mock-up at Aircraft Interiors Expo . And naturally I played with a couple of cables.
So I tried it with my phone plugged in – scared that a standard 1 metre (3ft) iPhone cable wouldn’t be long enough.
After realising the ceiling of the overhead bin was low enough, I let the phone rest again the tray table. And lo and behold.. it has more than enough cable stretch to sit comfortably.
I would consider using nothing less than a 3ft/1 metre cable with this – if you use a power squid (multiple outlet USB cable) or a short cable (1.5ft/0.5 metre cable), this solution isn’t going to work for you (least of all, I’m not sure how if the connectors could take the strain).
An interesting concept…
… but I feel there could be a few safety concerns with this. Certainly – to keep a clear line of sight down a cabin – I can imagine a “no wires plugged in during taxi, takeoff and landing” policy to kick in.
3ft cables – whilst long enough I feel could be a bit too short for phones. For tablets – the extra height of having one in a horizontal configuration could work. If this is married with a seat with a PED holder, which is at a higher height (say where document holder is), I’d be a lot more comfortable with it.
Or it could be another revenue stream to keep customers buying more cables
With a seemingly simple retrofit, it seems like a good idea for those airlines that want to add power to the plane without the pain of modifying their seats.
But I sense a safety case or two in the making here to allow it to happen…
So what do you think? Good or Bad idea?
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