Flight rules can certainly be complicated which is why being cautious is the way to go. It’salways advised to do your research on all your items beforehand to avoid having to leave thembehind or any last minute packing changes. These little inconveniences can be daunting onsuch a short notice.One of the recent controversies to flying are tech gadgets. The rules have changed so muchand there haven’t been any sure answers. One important question especially comes to mind; isit allowed to take a power bank on the plane?Power banks are one of the essentials during traveling, especially if you have little spatialawareness. They’re there for you in times when you’re lost in a city you don’t speak its languageand your phone is about to die and in others in which you’ve overestimated your gadget batterythinking it can outlast the flight time. They’re life-saving, really.Problem is that however small a device a power bank is, it has a potential to heat up which canbe dangerous. So while the short answer is yes, there are some important points to consider.
Carry On Bags or Checked Bags?
The Department of Homeland Security has put up a rule that portable chargers or power banks containing a lithium-ion battery must be packed in carry-on bags, which might sound confusing. Aren’t all hazardous objects better left in checked bags? Why is power banks any different?
Well, in the remote chance that your power bank heats up and causes a fire, it’s easier to be controlled in the cabin, with minimal damage to the passengers, than in the cargo. First, it’s difficult to detect the fire in the cargo room in the first place in order to attempt to put it off. Second, there’s a chance another flammable object that’s been checked in could react with the lithium ion in the battery exacerbating the fire and causing an explosion and a plane crash.
Although this is improbable, it has happened once in 2010 when a UPS plane crashed at Dubai International Airport. The crash was traced directly to lithium batteries in cargo.
Is There Any Size Restriction?
In power banks on planes, a lot like the wave of minimalism, less is more. It’s a bit difficult to pass security with an energy source that could light a small village. The IATA guidelines say that 100Wh is the upper limit; which means most commercial power banks are good to go. But to be extra sure, check yours.
You might have noticed now that there’s no value in watt per hour (Wh) on your power bank and it’s rather written in milliampere per hour (mAh). It’s, however, listed in formal documents because Watt per hour is a better standard in comparing different types of batteries ie, lithium ion, alkaline cells, or NiHN cells.
Find the mAh number (usually between 1 and 30,000)
Find the voltage (3.6V/3.7V)
Convert milliampere per hour to ampere per hour by dividing it by 1000
Multiply ampere value by voltage value to get Watt per hour.