MBP and coach flights...any experiences?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by solidbreakz, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. solidbreakz macrumors regular

    Sep 21, 2004
    I have a 12" PowerBook and love it for its size and weight, but ever since I sold my 1Ghz TiBook, I've missed its big, bright 15" LCD. I'm either in the market for a MBP or a MacBook (when released) but fear even the 13" rumored LCD will be too small for me. I'll be travelling internationally for work several times a year, and...unfortunately...i'll be in coach.

    I've used the 12" in coach before and I've been fine as far as space goes. I never had the opportunity to fly with my ol' TiBook though.

    MBP and 15" PB owners: What are your experiences with your laptops in coach flights? Will the MBP suck up considerably more space than the 12"?
  2. iHeartTheApple macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Well, even though I don't own a MBP or 15" PB, I do have experience with lappies in coach...with my 17" PB! :) :p Honestly, I don't find it to be a problem at all and I travel quite a few times per year. Unless you consider people interrupting your work to comment on how dead sexy it is, as a problem...;) I think that a 15" will be right at home in coach seating. Good luck with your decision!
  3. joepunk macrumors 68030


    Aug 5, 2004
    a profane existence
    Recently I was on a flight to and from Chicago and I used my PB just fine. I used it on my lap for an hour at a time. With my final flight, which was not full at all, I managed to get an entire 3 seats to myself and I streched out, put some trays down and set up my PB to watch some shows :D
  4. matticus008 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    I had to travel in coach with my 15" PowerBook a few months back, and I'm going to have to disagree that it's usable. I'm wary of using it on my lap because of the seatbelt buckles (or my actual belt buckle) possibly scratching it (I have a 1.5 mm scratch from the seat belt right on the latch button, as a matter of fact, from that very flight). Using it on the tray table is difficult, as you have to make sure the screen is tilted forward slightly in case the person in front of you decides to recline. It helped that I'm fairly thin and could pull the table all the way forward, but then my arms were slightly too long to type comfortably.

    Maybe it's just that I'm unaccustomed to traveling this way, but I found the whole procedure awkward. But for what it's worth, since the factors are depth and height (rather than width), I don't think there's an appreciable difference between the 12" and 15" PowerBooks in terms of airline travel. The 17" is where you might run into trouble.
  5. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Depends on how long you're using it for and for how long.

    If you're working on it, then your company should be shelling out so you travel Business. ;)

    If you're using it to watch DVDs on or do things where you're not typing extensively, it's OK. If you're doing anything else, it could get a little cramped after a while.

    I do use mine on my lap - there's enough of a gap between the PB and the buckle but I prefer to use it on the tray table - which is where the problem arises if the person in front reclines.
  6. emptybox macrumors member


    Mar 10, 2006
    I have to agree with matticus008. It's been a while since I did a lot of flying but I found that I was never very productive on a plane.

    My best suggestion is to try and get some sleep while in the air and wait till you get to the hotel room to work on your laptop.
  7. gallagb macrumors 6502


    Apr 28, 2004
    depends on how big YOU are!

    i'm 6'2" - 200lbs or so
    and i've got a 12"

    and i cannot use it in coach if the guy/girl in front of me has their seat back

    my arms are too long!



    can help you w/ some things regardless-
    this is a site that will tell you how much leg room you get- on specific flights
    also- if there is power under the seat- if it is ac or dc...etc

    i think it even does food menu's

    very very useful site
    airline specific, flight # specific....
    so unless there is some emergency and they switch your equipment- you can be sure you've got the right seat on the plane!
    (there is even a PDA version you can download-- very useful for last min seat switches)
  8. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    very interesting website! i'm 6'5" so any heads up on the seating is a godsend for me...
  9. ibglowin macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2005
    Unless your trying to do work there's no point in it on an international flight.

    Most planes have seatback screens with 20 odd channels of entertainment as well as half a dozen first run movies.

    Do a little work if you have to and just try and get some sleep!
  10. kbonnel macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    In a nice place..
    I usually fly between the U.S. and Sweden 12 times a year, and I am able to use my 15" PB without issues. I am only able to do this though as I am usually able to get exit row seating, or bulk head seating. Which means, nobody in front of me. If you have somebody in front of you, then it would be very hard to get anything done, because they will recline very early in the flight :(.

    So, if you gotta fly, go to the gate and beg for any bulk head or exit row seat. Heck, I even take middle bulk head seats so I can use my PB, but so far I have been fairly lucky.

  11. solidbreakz thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 21, 2004
    Well, I got a flight to Amsterdam in two weeks and a flight to Ireland a week later. Luckily all my flight seat designations are set upon airport check-in only ;)

    Even if I order today, I won't see a MBP until AFTER I arrive back in JFK.

    I guess I'll find out soon enough how much more space I'll need with a ruler and my current 12"PB.

    Thanks :D
  12. AstrosFan macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2005
    I have a 15" PB & I agree with the general opinion that it is difficult to use in coach.
    If the person in front of me reclines, I end up having to bring the tray table closer to me and keep the screen bent slightly forward.
    If they haven't yet reclined, I'm always afraid that if they suddenly do recline, they will bang my screen - in fact, I recall reading someone on these forums who got screen damage from something in front of them reclining.

    I typically do NOT use my computer unless there's no one in front of me, b/c of these concerns.
    If airplane use is very important to you, I think you're better off with the 12".

    Best wishes!

    p.s. Another vote for Seat Guru - I use that site ALL the time before I fly!
  13. ozone macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    Personally, I think the amount of work you can actually do on a plane is very limited. Mind, I'm only the occasional traveller: 5 to 6 times a year is no big deal. Everytime I haul my laptop on a plane, I figure I'll get lots done, and I end up using it for an hour at most. Actually, I've found a tablet to be the most useful, but even then, with all the distractions around you... good luck. I applaud the real travel warriors who fly at least 2 or 3 times a month.

    Having said that, I've travelled enough to say that the lighter, the better. 2 to 3 lbs difference (plus accessories!) really weigh you down after a while, going through security, navigating through narrow washroom stalls, juggling food at kiosks, etc. It's not just weight, it's bulk. The less room your computer takes up, the more other things you can take out of your arms. So, if you only travel occasionally and are willing to haul the extra weight, a 15" MBP might be doable.

    p.s. I've found traveling with two smaller bags better than one large carry on. A smallish bag under the front seat for the computer plus some food and a book, and larger one (say a backpack) with a change of clothes, power adapter, files, etc. for the overhead bin. Saves getting on the plane and keeping everyone from waiting as you unload stuff out of your one big bag to settle in for the flight.
  14. the Helix macrumors regular

    the Helix

    Sep 16, 2003
    Flight experience

    I was on a flight from Turin, Italy to San Francisco, California with my old TiBook. It is still usable, though at times uncomfortably, as others have mentioned.

    However, I was quite shocked to see that just three seat rows in front of me (still in economy class), this person was actually using a 17" PB. Although it was slightly angled in an awkward position, the person managed nevertheless to use it! Go figure!

    I suppose where there is a will, there is a way as the saying goes.
  15. sel1965 macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2006
    KC, MO
    I just got back from a trip to LA and the MBP was great on the flight, you can tell that the screen is a little shorter than the 15in pb not much of a difference but it is there. My battery lasted the entire 2 and one half hour flight which is awesome! I still had over an hour to spare. Thumbs up to the MBP!
  16. jalagl macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2003
    Costa Rica
    No problem on exit rows!

    I always pre-reserve a seat in an exit row. On most planes, exit rows have both enough space to work comfortably with the PBook, and a power outlet to plug it in.
  17. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004

    "entertainment"? is that what it's called? :rolleyes:
  18. ieani macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2006
    the states for now
    What all did you do on it? Im just trying to gauge how much Ill get out of it on a future international flight.
  19. discoforce macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2004
    Vermont, USA
    And your powerbook will be the first saved in a rescue that way too!

    Personally, I've had experiences close to Astrosfan, where I've ended up working with it in my lap (covering the seat buckle with a sweater or other soft material) and often having to tilt the screen inward quite a bit.

    With that said it was useful for me because I needed to work on a presentation. If I only had writing or reading to do, I'd use paper.

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