1

I thought it might be USB-C at first glance but it obviously isn't. Is it Apple Lightning? Or something else?enter image description here

I saw this on recent flights on Etihad and Vistara.

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  • 66
    I just remembered the video where older people showing younger ones a cassette player... Nov 6, 2022 at 8:15
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    I am actually pretty old haha :). This looked a little smaller than the typical USB-A port and did not have the "trident" sign, so I thought it might be USB-C but the connector didn't fit. On the connecting flight they had a USB port that was more familiar to me and I was able to use it to charge my phone.
    – hojusaram
    Nov 6, 2022 at 14:51
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    @hojusaram it probably didn't have the USB logo because it doesn't implement the USB protocol, it only provides power (hence the charging logo).
    – littleadv
    Nov 6, 2022 at 17:11
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    @At0mic from OPs comment, I derive that that someone might be him :))
    – Opifex
    Nov 7, 2022 at 11:50
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    @littleadv It's a matter of certification. USB is an open standard, but the logo can only be legally put on certified products, and it's not free. IMO you can get a charging-only port certified if you need to. Nov 7, 2022 at 13:33

3 Answers 3

36

Looks like a USB-A female plug. Quite commonplace in international flights.

enter image description here

FYI:

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    "Quite commonplace in international flights." - I'd say even now (November 2022), USB-A is quite commonplace also on the other end of cables with a USB-C plug. What I have witnessed, though, (which might somewhat help to explain the OP's unfamiliarity with this plug) is that some users never realize the power plug part of e.g. phone charging cables can be disconnected (which is typically implemented as a USB-A connection). Nov 6, 2022 at 15:16
  • @O.R.Mapper in April 2021 I bought a Motorola Moto G8 with a USB-C charging/data transfer port. It came with a wall-wart with a USB-A male to USB-C male lead. In a supermarket I spotted a longer lead in a nice pale green colour for £15 UK pounds. I bought it, more fool me, because in April 2022 I bought an new Lenovo desktop PC with a Turbo Charge USB-C outlet, and a free lead. So now I have 2 leads I don't need. Nov 9, 2022 at 11:48
  • @MichaelHarvey you can still use it to charge your phone from a wall outlet adapter Nov 10, 2022 at 2:52
44

This is a standard USB-A charging port.

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As others have noted, this looks like a standard USB-A port, and cables are readily available for charging to connect USB-C to USB-A. USB-A ports are pretty much standard on all kinds of chargers - plug-in wall-warts, permanently installed receptacles, outlet strips.

There are two special concerns using someone else's charger:

  • Security

It is possible (not saying "probable", but these things are out there in the wild) to hack in to a device via USB. A charger should only be sending power with no data, but you can't tell by looking at it. Not an issue to charge up your wireless headphones or other relatively simple devices, but potentially an issue for charging a smartphone. A malicious device could try to read information from your device or try to infect it with a virus or other malware.

The safest method, by far, is to plug in your own wall wart into a mains (110V - 250V, depending on the country) connection, so that you are assured of only getting power from someone else's system and not any risk of data. But that is not always an option, and USB-A charging outlets are ubiquitous.

Thanks to Criggie for the reference to USB Condom which is a device that solves this problem, though possibly at the cost of slower charging.

  • Safety

There is a small possibility (e.g., see comment "Zooming in, it almost looks like the metal has been damaged, as if someone broke it by putting something too large in it.") of a damaged connector. USB should be smart enough to detect a problem and simply not charge. But there is a possibility of a damaged connector resulting in damage to your device rather than triggering a self-shutdown (e.g., breaker trip). Again, not easy to check for this as most people don't carry around a USB tester:

USB Tester

Sample picked semi-randomly from Amazon. Many different types are available.

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    Still overdoing the warning but I let it go like this.
    – Willeke
    Nov 6, 2022 at 20:02
  • I wonder whether a tester exists that can detect an active data line without being vulnerable to attack itself.
    – WGroleau
    Nov 6, 2022 at 20:27
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    @WGroleau possibly, but it's simpler just to use a charge only cable that doesn't connect the data lines (though this can be slow) Nov 6, 2022 at 20:28
  • Then you have to carry two cables and remember which is which. Maybe a tester that also passes through the charging current but leaves the data lines open.
    – WGroleau
    Nov 6, 2022 at 21:20
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    @WGroleau there are adapters/converters colloquially called a "USB Condom" which does exactly that. Example zdnet.com/article/get-yourself-a-usb-condom downside, your device might charge at the slower 500mA even if device and charger can do more. Adapter goes in-line with your normal charging cable.
    – Criggie
    Nov 6, 2022 at 22:11

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