In the modern day, we can all agree there is nothing worse than a dead battery. Without a healthy charge on our phones and laptops, it is easy to feel like we are missing out.
For those who travel for work, it may even be essential. Unfortunately, airport outlets are often crowded or broken, leaving you with few options. Thankfully, portable chargers allow for charging on the go.
For avid travelers, one common question is: can portable chargers be brought on a plane?
Many battery types are allowed on planes, but there are a few rules to look out for. Portable chargers are often allowed on planes if they meet the Watt-hour limit of 100Wh. Additionally, portable chargers or power banks must be packed in carry-on luggage. For safety reasons, items containing lithium-ion batteries are best kept in carry-on bags. In the event anything goes wrong, it is easier to control inside the cabin than in the cargo hold.
Keeping batteries in the cabin, including portable chargers and power banks, is a helpful precaution. It means that in the event of an unlikely malfunction, it is more readily contained. Additionally, you get the benefit of being able to use it during the flight so you don’t miss a beat!
TSA Rules For Batteries And Portable Chargers
You can take your portable charger on the flight. Here are the considerations you must follow:
1. Portable chargers must be packed in your carry-on.
This is true for several reasons. In the event your portable charger or lithium-ion battery erupts or explodes, it is easier to contain in the plane cabin.
In the cargo hold, there are also large containers of chemicals that could be far more detrimental if set on fire. Finally, if you plan to utilize the power bank throughout the flight, it is easier to have on hand with you in the cabin.
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2. Power bank capacity matters.
Each portable charge must not exceed 100Wh (Watt-Hours). If you are bringing a portable charger that is over the limit, you will need approval from your airline. As a rule of thumb, portable chargers above 160Wh are not permitted.
If you are in doubt about the Watt-hour capacity of your portable charger, show airport security. Their job is to advise on the safety of your item for you protection and the wellbeing of other passengers. They will tell you whether your item is okay to pack and how best to stow it.
Can Portable Chargers And Power Banks Explode?
Yes, possibly. Batteries and power banks are heavily enforced because they can contain flammable or hazardous materials. The possibility of fire or explosion midflight is a serious consideration. Therefore, TSA is very straightforward when it comes to power banks.
Logically, it is easier for a crew member to contain a fire if the source is in the cabin. Airplane cabins are equipped with fire extinguishers.
How Should I Pack My Portable Charger?
As stated, batteries must be packed in your carry-on. This is mandated by most airlines for safety reasons. And, if you are looking to use your charger mid-flight, you will need it in the cabin with you anyhow. Before you do, be sure to follow the tips below:
- Make sure your power bank is under the 100Wh limit.
- If your device is over 100Wh and under 160Wh, ensure you have a permit or allowance from your airline prior to takeoff.
- Place your portable charger in your carry-on baggage in a place that is easily accessible. If your device has an output indicator, make sure this can be seen. This way, it will be easy for TSA to assess the safety of your device.
- If your portable charger does not show the power output itself, bringing the original packaging may be helpful. In cases where this has not been labeled, airport security has the discretion to confiscate it.
- Make sure the power bank cannot be accidentally switched on.
- Prevent short circuits by keeping spare batteries in original packaging. If you don’t have the original packaging, a battery case, separate pouch or pocket, or tape on exposed terminals can prevent hazards.
- Review your airport and airline’s safety guidelines and protocols. Following their restrictions will help with a seamless travel experience.
What Happens If I Pack It In My Checked Luggage?
If you happen to pack your power bank in your checked bag, you may be asked to remove it or airport security may confiscate it themselves. In either case, this can be inconvenient for everyone involved.
Packing a portable charger or battery properly is the best and most efficient way to travel with it. One helpful method is to use the retail pack it came in.
If you no longer have this, you can also cover the terminals with tape. Then, the charger can be placed in a case or protective pouch. Preventing accidental activation is top priority, and these methods can help keep danger at bay.
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Can I Pack More Than One Portable Charger?
As an individual, you are allowed to have no more than two batteries of 100Wh to 160Wh onboard. As for portable chargers under 100Wh, there is no clear limit imposed by airport security.
That said, an important distinction made by TSA and the FAA is that portable chargers must be for personal use only. Transport of any batteries intended for resale is not allowed.
Do These Rules Apply for Non-US Airlines?
Rules may differ depending on where you are flying. If you are traveling around Europe or Asia, the rules may vary. For that reason, it may help to review your specific airline’s policies beforehand.
Some airlines may be more or less restrictive, and it is good to verify prior to boarding or even booking your ticket. It is advisable to contact your airline and confirm whether additional restrictions may be imposed.
Overall, though, it appears most international airlines prefer you to pack your power bank or portable charger in your carry-on luggage. Preventing them from short-circuiting is always an important practice.
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Knowing what to pack when flying often comes with uncertainty. The airline industry is known for being tough with what is allowed and what is not. Often, there are exceptions to each and finding an answer can be a challenge.
Flying with a portable charger is certainly no exception. Airport TSA heavily regulates batteries and has extensive guidance on how to pack them. Depending on the Watt-hours of your power bank, they may or may not be allowed.
In general, portable chargers under 100Wh are optimal, and only acceptable when placed in a carry-on. Power banks between 100-160Wh require express permission from a safety agent. Anything above 160 is forbidden.
To ensure a stress-free flying experience, make sure to check your airline’s policy and adhere to it.
Flying with portable chargers is possible when done in compliance with safety standards. That is, Watt-hours under 100 and being placed in carry-on luggage. Using the tips above, you can get your charge on as your make your way to your destination. Happy travels