are power banks allowed on flights

The quickest answer would be yes. If your power bank contains a lithium-ion battery then you won’t be able to put it in your suitcase but you can put it in a carry-on baggage or hand luggage.

Another problem you may come across is if your power bank is too big. Depending on the size you may not be able to take your power bank on a flight.

Check with the Airlines

If you look at the airline’s restricted items list, you’re going to be able to check if they allow battery packs on their flights because different airlines have slightly varying procedures for lithium-ion batteries.

For example, if you search ‘Virgin Atlantic restricted items‘, the first result will be a list of the airlines regulated items – if you see power banks on their restricted items list, you’ll know that you can’t take battery packs on their flight.

VA, for instance, states that the max lithium-ion batteries you can carry on a flight is 4 per person.

VA also states that 100Wh is acceptable to carry on a plane but at 160Wh you’ll need airline approval and that’s a minimum recommended time of 72 hours before you do it.

You can only carry 2 power banks that are above 160wh if they are approved by the airline according to FDA.

The general rule is that anything over 160Wh is banned so you’ve got a protected from short-circuiting by placing electrical tape over the terminals, or by placing it in a protective case or a strong plastics bag.

That’s key because there’s been loads of controversy with batteries exploding on flights.

Take Power Bank on a Plane Safley

  • Generally, the key thing to do is to make sure you tape the end of the connectors on the power bank.
  • You’ve got to have them in hand luggage and you can’t have it checked in.
  • Take something below 100Wh just to be on the safe side. For example, you can’t take anything more than 20,000mAh with an output of 5v.

Why Can I only Carry a Power Bank in a Hand Language

If the lithium battery causes a fire in the in the cabin, the cabin crew will have no issues putting it out without cause causing any damages to the passengers and still get them to their destination unharmed.

However, if the lithium-ion battery causes a fire in the cargo, it going to be a lot harder to put out and that’s even if the cabin crew can clock that there’s a fire.

There’s also a chance that another flammable substance that’s been checked in could react with the lithium-ion in the battery pack causing serious damage to the plane which could lead to people losing their lives in rare occasions.

How to Convert Wh to mAh

You may be wondering why Wh is used rather than mah. Power banks are marketed by their milliamp hours (mAh), this standard of measurement is only useful when you’re comparing products that use the same type of battery. E.g. lithium ion, alkaline cells, or NiHN cells.

When in fact, watt-hours refer to a measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of one watt for one hour.

This is a better standard as watt-hours allow you to compare different types of batteries, rather than the same type of battery. E.g. lithium ion, alkaline cells, or NiHN cells.

  • Watt hours (Wh) – a measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of one watt for one hour.
  • milliampere-hour (mAh) – A milliampere-hour (mAh) is 1000th of an ampere-hour (Ah). Both measures are commonly used to describe the energy charge that a battery will hold and how long a device will run before the battery needs recharging.

Changing Your Power Bank into mAh (Examples)

  • Let’s say you have a 10,000 mAh power bank with an output of 5V

10,000mAh/1000x5V = 50wh

This would be allowed on a plane

  • Let’s say you have a 20,000 mAh power bank with an output of 5V

20,000mah/1000x5V = 100wh

This would be allowed on a plane

  • Let’s say you have a 22,000 mAh power bank with an output of 5v

22,000mah/1000x 5V = 110wh

This won’t be allowed on a plane until you have approval

Airline Laws and regulations Around the World

Civil Aviation Authority CAA UK Lithium Battery Regulations

Under 100Wh Lithium Battery Regulations Allowed in Carry-On Baggage in Equipment or as Spares Allowed on your person, No Airline Approval Needed Not allowed in Hold Luggage

100Wh – 160Wh Lithium Battery Regulations Allowed in Carry-On Baggage in Equipment or as Spares Allowed on your person Airline Approval Needed Not allowed in Hold Luggage

Civil Aviation Authority Lithium Battery Regulations Source

IATA EU Lithium Battery Regulations

The IATA generally give the same rules as main airlines but their document is very complex. IATA Lithium Battery Regulations document. General rules include Approval needed by airlines for batteries over 100Wh – 160Wh. generally placed in carry-on luggage and not in the hold.

USA Lithium Battery Regulations

The International Civil Aviation Organization’s latest instructions for the safe transportation of dangerous goods by air came out with a new regulation not too long ago which covers regulations related to portable electronic devices that contains lithium ion cells or batteries. As you’ve guessed, this also includes power banks.

This regulation states that:

Power banks allowed for carry-on baggage in the aircraft cabin must have the capacity below 100 Wh, or equivalent to less than 27,000 mAh, according to the document.

The Transportation Ministry has taken steps to modify security and safety measures in Transportation Ministerial Regulation about carrying devices with lithium-ion cells

“The contents of the regulation are related to lighters and power banks to be carried on a plane. There are lighters and power banks that can be taken on board and some that cannot.”

This was stated by the ministry’s air transportation director Gen. Agus Santoso, as quoted by tempo.co.

The Ministry’s director, Agus also pointed out that in accordance with the ministerial regulation about carrying lithium-ion cells onto flights. He stated that one matchbox or a gas lighter attached to each person, for example, placed inside their clothing pocket, which did not contain liquid fuel is allowed in the cabin. However, matches and gas lighters are not allowed in cabin baggage or checked baggage.

Specific Travel Limits

airline regulations
Here’s What Thai Airways Says

British Airways (October 2013) Virgin Atlantic (Jan 2013) Easyjet (website) BMI regional (website) Air China (website)

Lithium-Ion Batteries / Lithium Battery Regulations:

Under 100Wh No Airline Approval Needed when using carry-on luggage (BA states MAX 4 PER PERSON) Only Allowed in Equipment in the Hold (checked in luggage) (terminal must be protected*)

Between 100Wh and 160Wh Airline Approval Needed (Recommend minimum of 72 hours’ notice to the airline before flights) Allowed in Carry-On in Equipment or as Spares (BA states MAX 2 PER PERSON) Only Allowed in Equipment In the Hold (checked in Luggage) (terminal must be protected*)