The airport ranked quite high among U.S. airports in the number of passenger-facing outlets it offers at the gates. Only San Francisco, Sacramento, and New York JFK offer more per gate. Some of the credit for ATL's tech-friendliness goes to Delta, for which Atlanta is a major hub. Delta flies out of five of the six terminals at Hartsfield-Jackson and has installed multiple freestanding charging stations (three two-plug outlets and two USB ports) in all of them. The electrical outlets in the walls and poles of the airport facility itself, combined with those on the Delta stations, comes to a total of 1377 outlets, an average 8.1 per gate.
The airport has also invested in providing workspaces for working travelers. Clusters of 4, 8, 10, and 12 "recharge stations" -- cubicle desks with power outlets -- occupy 19 locations throughout the airport. They're perfect for business travelers who need to get some work in -- and charge their devices -- before taking off on their flight. We counted a total of 240 powered workspaces throughout the terminals at ATL.
Hartsfield-Jackson is also trying its hand at the mobile rewards business. It recently announced a program to allow passengers to scan QR codes on advertisements around the airport with smartphones to receive food, beverage, and retail discounts from restaurants and shops in the airport.
No. 4: Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)
Detroit Metro Airport's newest facility, the three-year-old North Terminal, was built from the ground up with the needs of device-carrying passengers in mind. "We planned from the beginning to wire each gate area so that we would provide numerous power outlets throughout the facility for customers to use," says DTW spokesman Scott Wintner. Apparently, the effort succeeded: We counted an average 6.7 outlets per gate at Detroit Metro.
"We also worked with Southwest Airlines in particular to accommodate their request for even more power outlets in its three gate areas, including USB outlets not yet found elsewhere in the North Terminal," Wintner says. Southwest has installed many of its between-chair charging stations, which house an electrical outlet and two USB ports, in the North Terminal, home to the Southwest gates. In fact, 110-volt outlets and USB charging ports can be found at almost every chair.
Delta has been another major tech sponsor at Detroit Metro, working with the airport to install Delta-branded charging stations equipped with three electrical outlets and two USB ports apiece. Each Delta gate at DTW has up to six of these charging stations.
Wi-Fi service at DTW (provided by Boingo) is respectable; we clocked average download speeds of 2.5Mbps in our tests. Boingo also provides data ports at hourly, daily, or monthly rates throughout the airport -- offering a guaranteed connection if the wireless falters.
No. 5: Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
Sacramento International Airport's impressive new Terminal B is nirvana for mobile device users. Completed last year, it's packed with more than 140 triangle-shaped tables, each of which holds a standard two-plug outlet and two USB ports at the corners. We counted 647 outlets and 912 USB ports in Terminal B alone. SMF has offered free Wi-Fi at Terminals A and B since 2006.
Sacramento is the only airport we investigated that has wireless charging surfaces (36 of them) for charging devices that travelers place on them. "If that's not enough, there are fee-based Internet kiosks and rapid-charging stations and InMotion and Brookstone stores ready to sell batteries, chargers, noise-cancellation headphones, laptop adapters, and more to eager technophiles," says SMF spokesperson Laurie Slothower.