Portable Chargers on Planes? Yes, You Can Take It, But With a Few Conditions...

Portable chargers are one of the essential gear most people take while traveling. No surprise, since it can be challenging to access a socket for a prolonged period. Luckily, you can take power banks with you on planes, but you have to follow the rules. What are the rules? Read more.

Are Power Banks Allowed on Planes?

The short answer is yes, power banks are allowed on planes. It would be a bummer if they weren’t, right? Since portable chargers are especially needed during travels and on holidays.

Organizations such as FFA (Federal Aviation Administration), TSA (Transportation Security Administration), and IATA (International Air Transport Association) are three main regulating bodies that have a mission to ensure our safety and smooth travel, and most efficient aerospace system.

However, there are a few things to consider and remember before taking your power bank on the board.

You Can Bring Power Banks Only in Your Hand Luggage. What is the Reason?

You might think: “Is there any difference if a power bank is in my hand luggage or check-in luggage? They both are in the plane after all, right?” It is the correct statement, but power banks contain hazardous and flammable materials, causing a risk of catching fire or even an explosion during the flight. It will be much easier to deal with a fire if it happens on the board, not in the cargo area.

If by mistake or unawareness of the regulations, you have packed your power bank in your check-in baggage, there is a chance that you will be asked to remove it from your luggage during check-in by airport security. Alternatively, security might even confiscate it, and you might not get it back. Double-check it before your flight.

What are Sized Power Banks Allowed?

FAA, the body which regulates flights in the US, allows taking batteries that don’t exceed 100W. Anything above that limit is forbidden. However, if you apply for an airline’s approval, you will be able to take onboard a power bank rated between 100.1 - 160Wh. Anything above 160Wh is strictly prohibited.

The above rule applies to US flights since it was stated by the FAA, an American body. However, in most countries around the world, the rules are similar.

The main difference is an allowance of taking onboard power banks up to 160Wh capacity. Some airlines might limit to 100Wh. Therefore, to be on the safe side, check regulations on the website of the airline you are using.

You Can Take Only 2 Power Banks Onboard

And another essential aspect to consider: each person is allowed to take only two power banks with a capacity under 100Wh.

It can be problematic for some people. If you are in this position, ask beforehand an airline for a special permit to bring more power banks. Or simply, if you travel with someone, ask them to take extra power banks to their baggage.

54000mAh, this is the maximum cumulative capacity of two power banks, which you can take on board without an airline’s permission. This should be more than enough for most people.

Why is Wh Used and Not mAh?

As you might have already noticed, power banks are mostly marketed by milliampere hours (mAh). However, for airlines, more important is Watt Hours. The reason is to simplify the comparison of different types of batteries, not only power banks. Since you might bring with you on a plane also batteries like a camera battery or alkaline batteries, all of your batteries can’t exceed 100Wh, or/and the total number of 20. However, an operator might approve more, if you ask for approval.

How to Calculate Wh?

Since most power banks’ batteries are indicated by milliampere hours, they must be changed to Watt Hours. Here is a simple formula:

Watt Hours Formula

The nominal Voltage of power banks’ batteries is usually 3.7V.

A few examples to clarify this formula:

Anker PowerCore 20100

Watt Hours Example 20100

It is under 100Wh, so you can easily take it to an airplane.

RAVPower 32000mAh

Watt Hours Example 32000

It is over 100Wh; hence you can’t take it to an airplane unless you have special permission from an operator.

Some of the power banks have already printed Wh, so you don’t have to calculate anything. If airport security has any doubts, it will be easy to clarify them.

What About Other Types of Batteries?

While you travel, most likely, you will take more than only power banks. Maybe you have an electric shaver, a laptop, or a camera? These and other devices need batteries, right? What are the regulations? Check the below image.

Type of Batteries on the Plane

The first two rows are mainly about power banks’ batteries. Dry alkaline batteries are commonly used in most electronic devices. And as you can see, you can easily take them with you to the plane - either in carry-on baggage or in checked baggage as long as they are safely packed and prevent short circuits. The same is for dry rechargeable batteries.

What about batteries inside of electronic devices? Some of them can’t be taken out, such as electric shaver or flashlights. You can store them in checked-in baggage - again - as long as they are safely packed and prevent short circuits.

To Sum Up

Power Banks and any other batteries are essential while traveling. Despite restrictions, for most people, the allowed capacity should be enough. Go through the below checklist before each flight to be on the safe side:

  • Don’t take power banks with a capacity over 100Wh unless you have permission from an operator
  • Don’t take more than two power banks with a capacity between 100Wh and 160Wh
  • Check if your device has a power output sign on it
  • Keep your power banks only in hand luggage
  • Secure your devices from accidental damage or/and switching on
  • Check airlines and countries restriction since they can vary