I’ve Heard of Xenophobia, But This is Ridiculous

Last week I reviewed the American Airlines Admirals Club in Buenos Aires.

The club itself is gorgeous. The food offerings are far better than I would have expected.

I thought the lounge wasn’t big enough for the number of guests at peak times, and I found it strange that a new-build lounge for an American flag carrier wouldn’t have North American-style power ports.

Comment Agnel said,

If I remember correctly, the US style outlets are prohibited by code in Argentina. My mom was doing some renovations in her condo and they couldn’t put them in.

I managed to confirm this with American.

  • American did want to put in these power ports, but were not permitted to do so.
  • There are loaner adapters available in the club. Just ask an agent to borrow one.

I think this could be made more apparent, either with a sign at the desk when entering the lounge or by being proactively offered an adapter (though I imagine that many passengers will forget to return them).

Still, a fear of foreign power outlets seems like an extreme concern. Other countries around the world permit universal outlets, and outlets of a standard other than the most common one in the country. The newer the international departures lounge, the more common this is.

Interestingly, fear of foreign power ports isn’t listed among the various phobias at Wikipedia and isn’t listed on their page for xenophobia either. Perhaps it should be.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @gary – I spelled my name incorrectly on my comment…lol… Anyhow, I believe the issue is to try and “force” electricians/builder to use those outlets since they are IRAM certified (btw IRAM is the ISO version but within Argentina) and the US style are not. In any event, I find it ridiculous as well but nothing surprises me anymore…. Always pack your power adapters when travelling abroad…very cheap one on Amazon 🙂
    Safe travels!


  2. @Mike
    If safety is a concern, why does every other nation (at least that I know of) allow US outlets? Hint: it’s not because they are a safety concern.

  3. What would it be if not a safety concern? Something to do with Reagan supporting Thatcher during the Falklands War? Gary is clearly joking about xenophobia. Are you?

    And it’s absolutely not an irrational concern. In no other developed country in the world it is possible for heavy plugs to literally fall out of outlets, sparking in the process (two slim parallel prongs, way to go! USA! USA! USA!).

  4. It’s Argentina. Makes sense to me.

    Try staying at somewhere besides the Park Hyatt and hang out with locals next time. Also stay in the country for more than a day or two. This outlet thing will make perfect sense then.

  5. > In no other developed country in the world

    Japan & Canada use US type plugs, and they qualify as developed nations. Most outlets in Japan don’t even have the 3rd grounding hole.

    That said, Japanese outlets grip the power adapters much tighter than most American ones.

  6. Your characterization of this as “xenophobic” seems quite sensationalist to me. I’m usually a fan of your blog posts, but this is pretty lame.

  7. Please, be reasonable with this. Electrical current in Argentina is 220V, not 110V as im the US.

    If you use the same outlet, you would risk people plugging stuff directly without checking the voltage and frying their equipment. Then the lounge could be made liable for the damaged items.

    I love this blog and follow it daily, but you are not being reasonable about this. Power is different, plugs are different. Will you also complain if the AA lounge in LHR has different outlets?

  8. If you’re going to offer USA-style plugs, you have to accompany them with a 220 to 110 volt transformer, and you have to double-wire the entire facility, one set of wires for the 220 and one set for the 110. Ridiculous.

  9. Walking away with the adapter is not a problem for the clubs when they take hold your boarding pass until you return the loaner adapter.

  10. It is most likely a safety issue, the US plug usually doesn’t have a 3rd prong which provides grounding which can be dangerous when the current used is 220V rather than 110V.

  11. In Argentine, we don’t want American Power! Is that simple! American power is stronger than Argentine power, so we cannot allow foreign powers on our soil!

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