I have the Asus M70Vm 17in laptop. It's a monster of a machine, quite powerful, especially since it's native resolution is 1920x1080. It's annoying to travel with due to it's weight, but even more annoying, is that the outlets on the back sides of airplane seats won't feed it power.
My generic lenovo work laptop works fine, and any other device I plug into these things have worked fine. I don't know for certain what the difference is, but I would assume it's because the Asus laptop wants more power than the outlet on the plane is willing to provide. When I plug it in, the outlet shuts off. I have not confirmed this, but it seems to make sense.
In two months I'll be looking at a 12 hour flight from LA to Australia and I would like to purchase a netbook. I've been looking at the Alienware M11x as it's small, powerful, and I admit the gimmicky lighting and design I think is neat. But I'm concerned. I do not want to spend $1000 on a netbook that will not be able to be powered by the outlet on the plane, especially on a 12 hour long flight.
I would like to know how I can figure out how to determine whether or not the netbook I purchase will work with a plane's onboard power supply, and I'd much rather get as much power into the little guy as possible, rather than guaranteeing that it will work by buying a much lower spec'ed netbook (especially since I don't even know if it was power that was causing the problem).