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When flying, are you allowed to bring battery packs / power banks? I'd like to bring my ACC 10400mAh Power Bank on several flights.

  • 19
    NB - Battery packs MUST BE in hand luggage. – Russell McMahon Jan 24 '15 at 20:27
  • 1
    Related (possible duplicate): travel.stackexchange.com/q/35643/26164 – Shokhet Jan 25 '15 at 4:13
  • Virgin Australia are one Airline that allow 6v10a sealed lead battery.China Southern do not answer the question but tell you to go to Q/A.unfortunately i am travelling in JUNE return UK – user29346 May 10 '15 at 9:30
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There are limits that were introduced by the US Federal Aviation Administration. Those have been used as well by numerous other airlines, for example Cathay Pacific. They generally impose a limit on capacity per passenger and on top of this disallow checking them in, so you must take them into your hand luggage.

If a website lists grams of Lithium, use this formula (source):

Equivalent Lithium Content (ELC). ELC is a measure by which lithium ion batteries are classified.

8 grams of equivalent lithium content are equal to about 100 watt-hours.
25 grams of equivalent lithium content are equal to about 300 watt-hours.

You can arrive at the number of watt-hours your battery provides if you know how many milliamp hours and volts your battery provides: mAh/1000 x V = wh

There is additional information available from the TSA and the IATA.

Some more information here from Thailand, as of Jan 2015 (sorry, a bit shaky)L enter image description here Essentially, anything above 32'000 mAh is forbidden, below that and above 20'000 mAh is limited to 2 per person, below that there are no limits, but all only in hand luggage.

  • I don't see the details as far as size in any of those links (outside of "grams of lithium content" which is NOT labeled on any battery afaik..) – user2813274 Jan 25 '15 at 15:50
30

I've had two battery packs / power banks, and travelled to several countries with several airlines, taking them as carry on, without any problem...until...

Last year, I flew from Tokyo Haneda, via Beijing, China to Vancouver, Canada. In Beijing, Chinese officials sent me to a security point, where several people including myself had our power banks taken off us, to our protest. More on the situation here.

In the end, I believe - from what they told me, it was because it didn't indicate the amperage / capacity anywhere on the device. Which seems pretty dumb to me for a reason - it's still a commercially made product (made in CHINA), but yeah, they confiscated it.

I also saw signs in Taiwan stating that they had to be in carry-on, NOT checked luggage for some flights, so yeah, you should be fine taking it in carry-on.

  • Were the packs you had confiscated in hand luggage or checked luggage? – user568458 Jan 25 '15 at 10:30
  • @user568458 hand luggage. – Mark Mayo Jan 26 '15 at 0:05
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    It's China's reaction to addressing the issue of people removing the markings showing the capacity is too high--simply define anything unmarked as being too big. It's an anti-cheating measure but as far as I'm concerned they could apply some common sense to the small ones. – Loren Pechtel Dec 10 '15 at 5:57
  • @LorenPechtel especially when you're simply in transit :/ – Mark Mayo Dec 10 '15 at 7:14
7

There have been rules re carrying batteries for many years.
They may be found in (at least) IATA documentation and also a number of courier companies and most battery manufacturers have advice documents.

Removable batteries must be carried in carry-on luggage with the exception mentioned below. Having batteries in carry=on makes sense - would you rather have a fire in a cargo hold or an overhead locker. (Answer: No! :-)).

There is an upper limit to the amount of Lithium metal that may be carried. Some manufacturers provide specific mass of Li per battery. Otherwise they have a linear conversion between Watt hour of battery (Vbat x mAh.) and Li metal.

On one occasion I travelled with a laptop with large battery, + spare battery + 2nd laptop + maybe 6 x camera batteries (7V2 x ~= 1500 mah). I was approaching but still under the Lithium metal limit.

China are a power unto themselves - they make up rules that others do not have. Export rules for batteries via eg Fedex do not apply to hina battery exports. Batches of batteries need a per batch test house certification that they meet certain standards. This apparently excessive zeal is because people are willing to ship dangerous junk and misdeclare it. Presumably the certified test houses have had it made very clear what will happen if they pass junk.

There are rules re battery carrying which vary somewhat. Some systems allow carrying loose batteries with ends taped otherwise rendered"safe" from accidental shorting. .

Sealed lead acid batteries that are spill proof(and not all are!) must be carried in checked luggage with a formal label stating that they are exempt under IATA regulation xxx. This actually works. I have seen signs that luggage has been opened and the battery checked but not removed.

  • So.. what is this linear conversion from watt-hours to lithium content? – user2813274 Jan 25 '15 at 15:51
5

Assuming that your 10500 mA∙hr battery pack operates at 3.7 V, the energy capacity would be 3.8 V × 10500 mA∙hr ≈ 40 W∙hr. (Lithium-ion cells typically operate between 3.2 V and 3.8 V.)

By IATA guidelines, that would be well under the 100 W∙hr limit for lithium ion batteries. The IATA guidelines list additional conditions to be met as well. (They must be genuine, certified batteries, for personal use, in reasonable quantities. If being carried as spares, they must be protected from short-circuiting.)

  • today, 2017, it seems that most airlines/countries are converging on this Whr definition. There are lots of web sites like this one to check your pack: milliamps-watts.appspot.com – Mike M Dec 5 '17 at 11:01
3

Mine with 20000 maH was taken by the officer in charge at Krabi's Airport. According to them it is too big and they can't allowed me to carry it.

  • 20,000 mA-hr @ 5 volts is 100 W-hr--right at the limit. – Loren Pechtel Dec 10 '15 at 6:00
  • @LorenPechtel lithium batteries are usually 3.7V internally so that's only about 74Wh. Additionally taking cell conversion efficiency and different output voltage the actual capacity will be significantly lower. – George Sapkin Dec 29 '16 at 10:55
  • yeah, 20000 for a typical phone-charging device should be ok (unless it's a quick-charging high-voltage device that actually has 20000 at the high-voltage), but some airport staff aren't totally clear. I've never had a problem with a (now small) 10000. – Mike M Dec 5 '17 at 10:57
-1

Answer A: It will depend on the capacity in Wh (watt hours) but most commercially available ones should be OK. The IATA guidelines say that under 100Wh (multiply Ah x V to get Wh) is OK to bring on board and in cargo if installed in equipment. If they are loose spare batteries you can bring as many in carry on but not in the hold. Between 100-160Wh same applies but you are restricted to 2 spare loose batteries and again not allowed to check in. If over 160Wh you have to declare it and it has to be packed in cargo under the Dangerous Goods guidelines.Most airlines follow the IATA guidelines.

Answer B: only restriction I found was that the battery must be under 100Wh. Keep in mind that you have to validate the rules for any Airlines you will be flying and the airport rules if they are not in the US. It must be in hand luggage and not in a suitcase in the hold.

Answer C: They may be found in (at least) IATA documentation and also a number of courier companies and most battery manufacturers have advice documents. Removable batteries must be carried in carry-on luggage with the exception mentioned below. Having batteries in carry=on makes sense - would you rather have a fire in a cargo hold or an overhead locker. There is an upper limit to the amount of Lithium metal that may be carried. Some manufacturers provide specific mass of Li per battery. Otherwise they have a linear conversion between Watt hour of battery (Vbat x mAh.) and Li metal.

Answer D: It's fine in your carry on-luggage only. Batteries are not allowed in check-in luggage, only in carry on-luggage where they can be monitored. Here are the rules for batteries:

In order to ensure air transport safety, FAA,IATA, Airport has issued relevant regulations to regulate air passengers and crew members carrying power banks on to flights. The rated energy of power banks which can be carried on board is restricted and identification method for rated power has also been specified. For details, see the “Announcement of Rules for Air Passengers Carrying Power Bank onto Flights”.

More at: https://powerbankfans.quora.com/When-flying-are-you-allowed-to-bring-external-battery-packs-power-banks

  • 2
    I am a bit confused about this. How come you have answer A, B, C and D? Wouldn't it make more sense to just summarise everything into one, especially since some of the information is double (for instance the 100Wh thing in answer A and B)? – drat Mar 9 '16 at 5:14
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    Also if I'm not mistaken, you took @uncovery 's picture and put it on that quora article without attributing where it's from. You might want to read this. – drat Mar 9 '16 at 5:17

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