There are few things more frustrating than taking a tablet or laptop to get work done on a flight and have the power run out. Modern life has come up with solutions like power banks and spare batteries. Can you take a power bank in your luggage? is a question we have been asked.
Airlines have strict rules on what you can take on board to limit the risk of terrorist attacks on planes or shipping illegal substances through customs.
Can you take a power bank in your luggage on a plane? A portable power bank or charger is generally not allowed on the plane if it exceeds 100 watt-hours. You can calculate the watt-hours by multiplying the mAh by the voltage and dividing by a thousand.
Can I Bring A Power Bank On A Plane?
The answer is yes, but there are limits. For example, the portable power bank or charger is generally not allowed on the plane if it exceeds 100 watt-hours. You can calculate the watt-hours by multiplying the mAh by the voltage and dividing by a thousand.
We’ll use the example of a 15000 mAh, 3.7 volt charger. 15000 x 3.7/1000 = 55.5 watt-hours. That’s well below the 100 watt-hour limit.
There are rare exceptions, but that is only possible if the airline gives you approval. Even with approval, there is a limit. In these cases, the FAA limits them to 160 Watts.
What are the packing requirements for a power bank being taken on a plane?
Power banks are allowed in carry-on bags. Power banks are not allowed in checked-in bags. The same is true for portable chargers that contain a lithium-ion battery.
If your charger exceeds 160 watts, you may be able to travel with it if you have special permission. However, it must be kept in the cargo hold according to IATA “dangerous goods regulations”.
The only rule for carry-on bags is that you’re carrying it onboard. It doesn’t matter if this is a purse, backpack or briefcase.
Are There Design Limits For Power Banks Allowed On Aircraft?
Yes. The power bank battery terminal ends must be protected from short-circuiting. This is typically an internal protection feature built into the unit. If you aren’t certain, you can cover the battery ports with tape or leave it in the original packaging.
A better choice is packing them in a plastic bag, protective case or pouch. The goal is to ensure it cannot be accidentally activated.
Are These Limits On Power Banks Universal?
If you’re flying through Europe or Asia, the maximum power capacity allowed ranges from 100 to 160 Wh. However, the International Air Transport Association or IATA standards are universal. If the battery is considered too dangerous to allow onboard by them, it isn’t allowed on any commercial aircraft.
Can I bring Spare Batteries For My Laptop On An Airplane?
Airlines allow non-rechargeable lithium batteries on board if they weigh less than two grams per battery. Power banks contain a rechargeable lithium battery. These are regulated by the 100 Wh limit we’ve already discussed.
Note that these rules also applied to consumer-sized lithium-ion batteries like those for your cellphone, laptop computer or camera. Furthermore, you aren’t allowed more than eight grams of equivalent lithium content per battery.
Are There Other Limits On Power Banks Taken On An Airplane?
Yes. Suppose you have several allowed power banks. You’re allowed up to two larger lithium batteries; this category includes batteries with up to eight grams of lithium. This size includes most extended-life laptop batteries. It also means you’re only allowed to have two batteries of that size.
Note that this rule is per person. If there are three people in your party, your group could bring six such power banks in total. Note that you have to be paying for someone’s seat for them to bring a power bank on plane trips.
If your child is sitting in your lap and thus not eligible to bring carry-on bags, you can’t bring a power bank on the plane in their name.
If they have their own seat, then they can bring the battery with them. And you’ll probably want to give the toddler a tablet to play with anyway.
Read our complete guide to buying Power Banks in our latest article here!
Can I Bring Other Spare Batteries On A Plane?
Dry cell alkaline batteries are allowed in carry-on bags. This list includes but is not limited to button-sized cell batteries, AAA batteries, and 9-volt batteries. Dry cell rechargeable batteries like nickel-cadmium (NiCad) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) are allowed in carry-on bags.
Lithium-ion batteries like lithium polymer and lithium-ion batteries are allowed. You’re allowed to bring non-rechargeable batteries including lithium metal batteries if they have less than two grams of lithium per battery.
This category includes small disposable flat round lithium button cell batteries like CR123A and CR22. These batteries are often used in cameras. Batteries like this are allowed in carry-on and checked baggage.
The only exception is spare lithium batteries that aren’t installed in a device. They’re prohibited from checked baggage.
Are There Prohibited Types Of Batteries?
Any spillable battery is banned from aircraft. This includes any type of wet battery like car batteries. The only exception is when it is required to power a scooter or wheelchair.
In this case, you can pack a spare battery for the vehicle. However, the airline must know that they’re dealing with this type of battery.
They can tell you how to properly package it for air travel.
Why Are Batteries Like These Limited To Carry-On?
The explanation given is that there is a risk of explosion or fire from these flammable batteries. And it is easier for the crew to put out the fire if it occurs in the cabin than in cargo.
A side benefit is the lower risk of fire. The owner may smell the smoke or feel the battery overheating and remove it before something ignites.
Larger portable power stations offer more stored power and many more charges for your devices but have strict restrictions on planes. Read our buyer’s guide here.
What Happens If You Pack Power Banks In Your Checked-In Luggage?
The TSA could find it in the luggage. If they do, there are several possible outcomes. If you aren’t over the limits we’ve already described, you might be able to put it in your carry-on luggage. Or they can remove it and confiscate it.
This is likely if they can’t verify that the power bank is within the rules, such as when the specifications on the power bank have worn away to the point they’re unreadable.
If they think you’re bringing too many batteries on board, they can confiscate everything. This is why you should only bring what you truly need. And plan on buying extra disposable batteries at the destination as they’re required. Or leave some of the devices at home.
SUMMARY: Can You Take A Power Bank In Your Luggage On A Plane?
So, Can you take a power bank in your luggage on a plane? The safest answer is No. As you may find your luggage is searched before boarding the plane and you’ll be taken aside and asked to remove the item and possibly lose it altogether.