- Power banks can charge your dying devices while you are on the go. However, there are some restrictions on the capacity of power banks you can carry on a plane.
- Not following the guidelines while carrying a power bank could get you in trouble, sometimes leading to missing your flight.
- Learn all the details of how to carry a power bank in a plane safely.
Batteries power smartphones and other electronic devices we use daily. With the increased use of electronic devices, batteries do not last long. In such instances, having some additional juice for your devices is always a better idea.
While there are no restrictions on the size of a power bank you can carry on the road, it becomes a safety concern when flying. And since power banks have become a vital gadget for most people to carry when traveling, it is reasonable to question if you can bring a power bank on a plane. If power banks are allowed, then how many can you take on an airplane?
In this guide, we will understand whether or not power banks are permitted on planes, as well as other details to be aware of when traveling with a power bank, especially when flying.
Table of Contents
Why would you need a power bank on a plane?
It’s important to understand why one would need to carry a power bank on a plane.
- Keeping Connected: Conserve precious battery life to ensure your flight details and any important travel documents stored on your phone are accessible.
- Beating Boredom: Long flights can be quite exhausting. A powerbank can help you power your entertainment devices for movies, books or music.
- Professional Commitment: If you’re also on the job during your flight, a powerbank will keep your laptop or tablet charged for work. With most airlines providing Flight WiFi, you can even get some work done.
- Put an end to Nomophobia: The thought of your mobile device running out of power during a flight can be scary
Bringing a powerbank is essential because although some airlines offer power outlets in certain seats (business class or premium class), this feature isn’t standard on all airlines.
Can you carry a power bank on a plane?
Let us talk about the elephant in the room now. Yes, you can carry a power bank with you on a plane. Most power banks in the market can be taken on a plane without issues. You can use them to charge your smartphones, wireless headphones, cameras, and laptops. However, you need to ensure that the power bank that you have with you is under a specific capacity.
It would be best if you understand that powerbanks are ultimately batteries that, in adverse conditions, can harm anyone flying thousands of feet high in the sky and put everyone’s lives in danger. So everything is done for your safety and that of other travelers. Remember the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery explosion fiasco, that led to the device being banned from all flights worldwide?
So, each airline has certain regulations regarding the strength of a power bank that is safe to carry on a plane. So always check the airline’s specific rules and restrictions regarding power banks.
Are lithium-ion batteries prohibited on a plane?
Power banks are made of lithium-ion batteries. To say that lithium-ion batteries are prohibited on a plane is not valid. You can carry a power bank on a plane. Yet, they need to be taken or packed in your carry-on luggage. Carry-on baggage is what you have with you onboard inside the plane.
On the flip side, yes, it can be stopped by the authorities to board the plane for carrying a power bank. But this is true if the power bank is inside your checked-in or cargo luggage. This is because lithium-ion batteries can blast under extreme conditions.
Airline crew will be able to deal with any adverse scenario related to power banks if they are kept in the cabin rather than in the cargo, which no one has an eye on.
FAA and TSA Regulations Regarding Portable Chargers
According to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), portable lithium-ion-based chargers may only be carried in carry-on baggage because they can overheat and undergo thermal runaway.
FAA and TSA also advised passengers to carry portable chargers with a maximum capacity of 100Wh, which applies to almost all types of lithium batteries. With special permission from the airline, passengers can carry two larger lithium-ion replacement batteries (100Wh-160Wh).
What size power bank is allowed on a plane?
Most airlines allow you to carry a power bank on a plane. However, the size and number of power banks permitted can vary depending on your chosen airline. Here are some of the major airlines across the globe and their policies for passenger who wishes to carry a power bank in flight.
- Air India: Each individual can carry 20 spare batteries or power banks, none exceeding 100Wh.
- American Airlines: It allows for 4 spare batteries, less than 100Wh inside the carry-on luggage, and 2 batteries if they fall between 100-160Wh.
- British Airways: Allows for 4 power banks not exceeding 100Wh.
- Lufthansa: A maximum of 2 power banks up to 100Wh.
- Air Canada: Permits 2 lithium-ion batteries with a rating of 100 but not exceeding 160Wh.
Most airlines follow the same guidelines. Nonetheless, it is advised that you check with your airline or contact the customer helpline number and get information related to what you can and cannot carry inside the plane.
How can I convert mAh to Wh?
Most manufacturers write the capacity of a power bank in mAh (milliampere-hour), but airlines specify their regulations in Wh (Watt-hour). If you notice that your power bank doesn’t measure the capacity in Wh, then you need to perform a simple math.
Check your power bank, and if you do not find the Wh measurement anywhere on it, then apply the formula below to convert mAh to Wh.
(mAh)/1000 x (V) = (Wh)
Here’s the data that you need to fill in the above formula and get the Wh measurement of your power bank:
- Find your battery’s mAh capacity
- Find the voltage of the power bank
Let us go through an example of a power bank having 10,000 mAh capacity and understand how this formula works:
- mAh: 10,000
- Voltage: 5V
(10,000/1000)*5 = 50 Watt-hours (Wh)
In the above example, a 50Wh power bank is perfectly safe to be carried on a plane. All you need to do is put this power bank in your hand luggage, and you are good to go. If your power bank exceeds the limit, you need your airline’s and concerned authorities’s permission for a hassle-free onboarding experience.
Why are portable chargers considered dangerous on planes?
Batteries, portable chargers, or power banks are restricted from being carried on a plane because they tend to produce critical heat levels, cause ignition, short circuit, and burn the house down, in our case, the airplane. And if the cargo catches fire, the entire storage will catch fire. It would be nearly impossible to control the fire thousands of feet high in the sky.
Also, there is a limit on carrying portable chargers inside the plane because there is a specific limit to how much damage can be dealt with when flying.
Can you take multiple power banks on a plane?
Yes. Many airlines will allow you to carry multiple powerbanks in your carry-on luggage. The only important thing is that they should have up to 100Wh (27000 mAh) per battery. Some airlines, such as Lufthansa, KLM and American Airlines, allow up to 160Wh capacity with prior approval.
Pay attention to the maximum number of powerbanks allowed: for example, Lufthansa, American Airlines and Air Canada only allow two per person; KLM and Air India each allow up to 20 powerbanks. Always remember that security regulations can vary from airline to airline, so it’s best to check in advance.
Checklist for power banks before traveling
There’s no problem taking a power bank on the plane, provided you follow your airline’s guidelines and standards. As mentioned earlier, if you are in doubt, you should contact your airline and get permission before bringing a power bank or multiple power banks on board.
Some safety measures that you can take while carrying a power bank on a plane are:
- Ensure it is not kept alongside liquids, metals, or other materials that could cause short circuits.
- Try to carry a power bank with safety features like short-circuit protection, overheating protection, temperature management, etc.
- Ensure the battery is from a reputed brand, as brands follow specific product manufacturing guidelines.
- Carry a power bank with all the ports supported by the electronic devices you carry while traveling.
- Check if the power bank is fully charged or not. If not, then charge it to 100% before traveling.
- The power bank should be compact and easy to carry to avoid hassle.
Arm yourself with these safety measures, and you will have no issues carrying a power bank in a plane when you go out there and explore the world or move places for work. Take responsibility and be responsible!
FAQ’s about carrying a power bank on a plane
Can I take a 20,000 mAh power bank on a plane?
Most power banks are manufactured to be around the safe limit of 100Wh. A 20,000 mAh power bank that makes for less than 100Wh, or in some cases makes for less than 160wh, is allowed on a plane. Do not rely on your instincts, and perform a simple calculation, as shown above, to know precisely if you will be stopped by the authorities or not.
Are large portable chargers allowed on a plane?
For some reason, if you need to carry a sizeable portable charger on a plane, then note that any battery rated between 100-160Wh can be taken inside the flight with airline approval. However, anything more significant than 160Wh requires special permissions, as it might fall under the ‘dangerous cargo’ tag and could cause you some problems.
Can I put AA batteries inside my checked-in luggage?
As per TSA (Transportation Security Administration), you can put the AA batteries in your carry-on and checked-in luggage. This also applies to other standard sizes, including AAA, C, D, button cell, 9-volt, etc.
What is the largest power bank on planes?
According to IATA or the International Air Transport Association, power banks with power between 100-160 Watt hours (Wh) capacity can be carried in hand luggage. Most airlines allow power banks up to 100 Wh (27000 mAh) batteries without issues. It is advised to contact concerned airlines for detailed information.
Can You Charge Your Phone on a Plane?
Yes, you can absolutely charge your phone on a plane! Once you have reached cruising altitude, you can use your power bank to charge your phone or other electronic devices. Be sure to check with your airline for their specific policies on power banks.
Can I fly with batteries in other devices?
Batteries inside your electronic devices, such as smartphones or laptops, are allowed in the checked-in luggage as well. Usually, the battery inside a laptop is 60Wh in capacity. So, they are under the permissible limit. Prohibited batteries include those that exceed 100Wh, those with more than 2 grams of lithium, or those that are damaged. Electronic devices such as hoverboards, e-cigarettes, and powerbanks that exceed the prescribed capacities aren’t allowed.
What if my charger exceeds the 160Wh limit?
If you wish to carry a portable charger that exceeds the 160Wh (approximately 44,000mAh at 3.6V) limit set by IATA, FAA, or TSA, you need to get special clearance from your airlines and concerned authorities. Moreover, your charger will be packed and placed in a special area in the cargo as per IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations guidelines.
Can You Take Vape Batteries On A Plane?
E-cigarettes of all types typically use lithium-ion batteries. Smaller devices such as disposable vapes, pens, pods, and some mods have internal batteries. These can usually be taken on the plane as long as they are in your carry-on, turned off, and not used on the plane. Larger vapes are usually 18650 or 21700 mAh and need to be checked with individual airlines, but they should be fine to carry on most flights.