What kind of portable chargers are allowed on planes?
Working on your laptop, tablet, or phone during a long plane flight can seem harrowing if you doubt the battery’s ability to make it the whole flight. Of course, on the ground, you could just plug it into an outlet or use a power bank if you had no outlet available. Never fear because you can take your PowerXcel with you on the plane, too.
With most power banks, you can charge any mobile device. But can you take your power bank on a plane flight? If so, what types of portable chargers can you take?
Admissible Power Chargers
The organizations responsible for overseeing aviation in the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued specific requirements and rules regarding power banks. You can take two batteries, power banks, or portable chargers on board with you, so long as they do not exceed a capacity of 100-watt hours or 27000 mAh.
Also, the battery must be marked unspillable. You might be mystified looking for this word on your battery pack. Since these items are sold internationally, they use an icon to note this instead. Look for a drink cup icon with a diagonal line over it. It’s usually on the back of the device under the manufacturer’s information. It means you have an unspillable battery.
That’s not hard to find. The power pack you own probably meets this criterion. Most power banks do not exceed this size.
How should you pack these battery packs?
These chargers contain lithium-ion, so they fall into the same category in the FAA rules as lithium-ion batteries. You must pack them in your carry-on luggage in their original packaging or a close approximation of it. This provides an added layer of protection since the batteries are flammable and contain hazardous materials. They post a fire or explosion risk in flight.
Tip: Do not pack your chargers in your checked luggage because the FAA or TSA could confiscate them.
You pack them in carry-on luggage because if a fire does break out, the flight crew can more easily extinguish a cabin fire than they could in the luggage compartment. The handiness of this rule is that it provides you with your portable power packs to use while in flight.
Can you use your power bank during a flight?
Yes, you can use these handy power packs during your flight. As long as it is rated at a maximum of 100Wh, you can use it in flight to keep your mobile device charged. This size of charger or battery pack provides sufficient capacity to power a smartphone, tablet, Nintendo switch, or Macbook Pro on a long plane flight.
How many chargers or power banks does the IATA or FAA allow per person?
You may pack in your carry-on luggage two power banks or batteries. You can request a special permit from your airline to carry more than this on the plane. You should request this well in advance of flying though. Email your airline at least a week in advance. You can typically use the support contact form found on the airline’s website. Some airlines provide a form or email within their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. Another alternative is to have a friend who is also flying on the same plane to carry some of the chargers you need. They can pack two in their carry-on luggage as well.
Where can you find official documentation on portable chargers?
The IATA, FAA, and TSA all cover portable chargers and extra batteries in their regulations on Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs). In these regulations, they generically refer to these devices as batteries. The same sections also refer to laptop batteries, extra interior cell phone batteries, power packs, etc.
What are some good power packs to try that suit these requirements?
Try the following options for a power pack or portable battery that meets the requirements of all three organizations and can help you keep your mobile devices charged in flight.
- Anker Powercore+ 26800 PD
- PD Pioneer 26800mAh
- PD Pioneer 20000mAh 80W AC Portable Laptop Charger
- PowerXcel RCP6
- Zendure Supertank
The PD Pioneer 80W model provides you with a portable AC outlet, so you can charge any type of laptop or tablet.