People who frequently travel by plane know that the luggage on board must meet specific requirements. In a car or train, you do not have to worry at all about the capacity of the power bank you have, the size of your suitcase, or the number of liquids in your hand luggage. At the airport, the situation gets a bit more complicated. Where to pack the batteries? What are devices not allowed in checked baggage? How do the rules for carrying electronics differ from one airline to another? This article will help you better prepare for your trip.
Even if you regularly fly on airplanes, every security check involves a bit of uncertainty. We hope that the guide we have prepared will help you save unnecessary stress and properly pack your luggage, which includes electronics. Here are the main issues addressed in this article:
- Regulations and rules for carrying electronics on an airplane.
- What electronic equipment carried on an airplane requires special attention?
- Electronics in carry-on luggage.
- What kind of power bank can be taken on a plane?
- Good practices for transporting batteries and rechargeable batteries on a plane.
Safe travel with electronics
It’s worth noting at the outset that regulations related to the electronics in your luggage can be really different. Always familiarize yourself with the applicable rules before traveling. They are defined by both airlines and national regulations. Differences can include the maximum capacity of lithium-ion batteries, rules for carrying power banks, or requirements for protecting electronic devices from accidental activation. By familiarizing yourself with specific guidelines, you will avoid unpleasant surprises.
Batteries on a plane: what the restrictions are due to
The main reason for the restrictive restrictions is the risk of causing a fire. Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries, which are used in most electronic devices, are sensitive to mechanical damage, vibration, and high temperatures. They can evaporate or leak, increasing the risk of ignition.
In addition, electronic devices can also interfere with an aircraft’s onboard systems (navigation or communications). Some electronic devices (e.g., drones) can also pose a safety risk to the flights themselves.
Checked baggage VS. carry-on baggage
Most of the electronic devices we most often travel with should be packed in carry-on baggage. However, there are a few exceptions, which often include drones, hoverboards, or electric scooters, among others. Remember that you should always verify what you are allowed to take on board an airline. Unfortunately, there are no top-down rules that unify these practices around the world.
These are the recommendations of a few airlines we selected. As you can see for yourself, despite the differences in the capacity of power banks, batteries, and rechargeable batteries, in each case they must be in carry-on luggage.
- British Airways — power bank must be carried in hand luggage. Maximum capacity: 160 Wh or 40000 mAh.
- EasyJet — power bank must be carried in carry-on luggage. Maximum capacity: 100 Wh or 27000 mAh.
- Emirates — spare or extra batteries (including lithium and lithium-ion batteries) can only be carried in carry-on luggage. Items that mainly serve as an energy source (e.g. power banks), are considered spare batteries. There is a limit of 20 spare batteries per passenger.
- KLM — is allowed to carry a maximum of 15 electronic devices with a lithium battery of up to 100 Wh. Devices with a lithium battery up to 160 Wh require a permit application. Prohibited to pack electronic cigarettes in checked baggage.
- LOT — power bank must be carried in carry-on baggage. Maximum capacity: 100 Wh or 27,000 mAh. If the capacity of the power bank exceeds 100 Wh, the passenger must obtain approval from the airline before departure.
- Lufthansa — power bank must be carried in carry-on baggage. Maximum capacity: 100 Wh or 20000 mAh.
- Ryanair — power bank must be carried in carry-on baggage. Maximum capacity: 100 Wh or 27000 mAh.
- Wizz Air — batteries and rechargeable batteries are not allowed in checked baggage. Lithium-ion batteries must not have a capacity greater than 100 Wh. Lithium-ion batteries with a capacity greater than 100 Wh, but not exceeding 160 Wh, may be carried with approval from Wizz Air. Once such baggage is approved, one person may carry a maximum of 2 individually secured spare batteries with a capacity of 100 to 160 Wh.
Power bank on a plane: what you should know
The above summary is the best proof that the regulations related to a seemingly innocent device can be very different. Here are the general rules you should follow if you don’t have the opportunity to verify the guidelines before you fly.
- Power banks should be carried in carry-on luggage, not checked baggage.
- Power banks should have a capacity of no more than 100 watt-hours or 20000 milliamp hours. Above these values, airlines may require carrier approval or impose restrictions.
- Power banks should be packed in a way that protects them from damage and prevents accidental activation. It is advisable to store power banks in their original packaging or cases.
- Before boarding, disconnect all USB cables from the power bank and make sure it is turned off.
- Before boarding, make sure that the power bank does not accidentally start up during the flight.
Watch out for these devices!
Power banks are not the only devices that are not recommended to pack in checked baggage. What’s more, you also won’t take some of them on board in… carry-on backpack. Then it will be necessary to send the equipment via cargo shipment. Once again, we emphasize – if you have any doubts, consult the guidelines of the airline you are traveling with or the laws in your country. Here are some devices that require special attention:
- Lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of more than 100 Wh (for batteries in electronic devices such as laptops or cameras, they usually do not exceed this value).
- Lithium or lithium-polymer batteries contain more than 2 grams of lithium per battery.
- Devices with batteries, such as hoverboards, electric scooters, etc.
- E-cigarettes, and all related products such as e-liquids and refills.
- Power banks that exceed the previously mentioned capacities.
Some airlines may have stricter regulations for carrying electronic devices. If you are the lucky owner of a drone, be sure to make sure you can take it on the plane! In some countries and on some airlines, these devices can be taken on board a plane as carry-on or checked baggage, while in others they are completely prohibited.
Carrying batteries and rechargeable batteries on the plane
Finally, here are some good practices related to the transportation of electronics. These will help you avoid both confrontations with airport staff and surprises about baggage damage. Electronic devices are not allowed during takeoff and landing, as well as when flying through certain air zones. So it’s worth making sure your equipment is turned off before you travel. If you’re carrying batteries or rechargeables “in bulk,” place them in separate pouches or covers. This will minimize the risk of the electrodes coming into contact with each other. Finger batteries are best transported in their original packaging.
Dangerous and prohibited items on a plane
As you may have guessed, power banks, rechargeable batteries, batteries and selected electronic equipment are not the only items you should be cautious about when preparing to travel. Many people do not know that it is forbidden to go through the security check with… water. This often causes passengers’ bewilderment and when confronted with other prohibited items (including flammables, sharp objects, lighters, knives or drugs) actually sounds surprising. Regulations do not allow you to bring more than 100 ml of liquids in a single bottle onto the plane.
Or have you encountered an unusual adventure involving carrying batteries, rechargeable batteries, or electronic equipment on a plane? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram. We’ll be happy to update our article with new knowledge!