We’ve covered information about flying with power banks – we even created an e-book about it. This isn’t the only issue with charging and flying though. What about using an airport charging station? Is it safe? And what can you do to stay safe when charging at airports? Check out our guide!
What Is An Airport Charging Station?
An airport charging station is a stand in an airport featuring plug outlets and USB ports where you can charge your phone. They often have multiple outlets or ports, so you’re charging alongside many people. Most are free at point of use and give you a boost whilst you’re waiting to depart – especially if your charger is stuck in your luggage.
Recharging services are available for free at most airports. There’s a handy list here for all US airports that offer an airport charging station – and you can learn about the proper etiquette for using one!
Why are Airport Charging Stations in the News?
There’s been a lot of argument recently about whether you should or should not use an airport charging station. A lot of this is centered around cyber crime, and if people can get access to your phone via an airport charging station.
Caleb Barlow, the Vice President of IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence team, publically stated to Forbes in May that phones could be attacked through public USB ports. These ports, he argued, are easily open to manipulation by cyber criminals and using them leaves people open to attack.
Plugging into a public USB port is kind of like finding a toothbrush on the side of the road and deciding to stick it in your mouth. You have no idea where that thing has been… And remember that that USB port can pass data.Caleb Barlow, Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security
Is it Safe to Use an Airport Charging Station?
Lets be real – picking a USB that has been tampered with and is able to read everything on your phone isn’t what the average traveler will worry about.
But it’s definitely something you should consider if you have anything of importance on your tech. Imagine if your work phone got hacked; or if people got access to all your socials… Barlow thinks that’s the risk you run if you pick up any random USB’s left in airport charging stations.
Barlow predicts a scenario where an internet thief could leave a dodgy USB lying in a socket, which you would assume is part of the free airport charging station. You plug in and charge, and simple as that the theif has your details.
So, the easiest and most practical way to keep your phone secure is to not use any USB cord charging stations you find at the airport. We’d say follow the experts advice and avoid using them at all costs.
What Can You Use to Charge Instead?
There are a couple of ways to charge at an airport that are guaranteed to be safe and secure. Really, you need to bring your own charging equipment. Barlow doesn’t thing it is the outlets that are dangerous, but the USB’s themselves. So stay secure!
Charge Via Power Bank
This is the safest way to charge your phone at an airport. Keep your power bank on you at all times and you can rest easy knowing that it is totally secure, un-tampered with and not ready to steal your data!
If you need a power bank to keep you going the whole holiday, we recommend one that is at least 20,000mAh. But make sure the wattage is low enough to be carried on the plane! You can check that at our guide, or with the airline you’re flying with.
Other things you should check for include durability, so that it can handle being jostled in your bag during the flight. If it has a built-in USB-C cord and you’ve got a modern android phone, even better! With an iPhone, make sure you use your own cables. If you get a power bank with PD charging, you need good cables to get the fastest charge. Read more about that here.
Charge Via Wall Charger
Another option is to get a good wall charger alongside a universal adaptor. It’s a bit more to carry, but you’ll be able to get power all over the world.
Wall chargers are great value for money because you can use them with all devices. As long as you have the correct USB cable, a wall charger like this 61W PD Pioneer GaN charger will charge your laptop, tablet, or phone quickly and efficiently. What’s more, they’re light and compact, easy to throw in your bag. In all, it’s a great and safe travel companion!
Charge Via a Power Bank WITH Wall Charger Pins
Bet you didn’t see this one coming! Yep – you can get power banks that also work as a wall charger. The best of both worlds! RAVPower have a fantastic small version – RP-PC125 – which charges itself as you charge your phone. It also uses iSmart Technology, RAVPower’s industry leading protection standards, for your total peace of mind. It’s worth checking out.
Click here to see RAVPower’s full range of Power Banks and Wall Chargers!