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International regulations say that you can have in carry-on maximum two 100Wh-160Wh spare lithium-ion batteries, subject to approval by the airline.

There is no such requirement for batteries not exceeding 100 Wh.

Does anyone have any experience how such approval of >100 Wh power banks work in practice? Has anyone ever been rejected to carry a 100-160 Wh power bank?

Theoretically, to be sure, its probably best to request a letter from the airline in writing, before buying the ticket, with a permission to carry a specific power bank, to show the paper at security control in case of problems.

But in practice, is it usually a non-issue, and you can just show up with a 100-160 Wh power bank and go through security without problems? Or are there any stories of people having their 100Wh-160Wh power banks rejected? I am asking in the light of the PLUG Travel Indiegogo campaign of a 42000 mAh/151 Wh battery pack.

  • Purely anecdotal, but in all the times i've gone through airport security, nobody even asked me to show them my power banks in my carry on, let alone check the capacity. And it's not like a power bank's capacity is visible on the x-ray scanners. – EMotion Nov 3 '16 at 14:25
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    @pnuts That question has nothing to do with this one. That one is about getting documentation of items that get confiscated in China.... this one is obviously not about that. – spacetyper Nov 3 '16 at 15:28
  • In practice, the airline's website usually has their specific rules on it, and you're expected to follow those rules, though it is unlikely that anybody specifically checks the capacity of your device. – Zach Lipton Nov 3 '16 at 16:29
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    @pnuts This is why I never say never :) – Zach Lipton Nov 3 '16 at 17:22
  • Where you are going matters. China will check and your pack had better state it's capacity if you want it to fly. – Loren Pechtel Nov 3 '16 at 20:01
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In practice, you're unlikely to have issues at most places as people are unlikely to inspect the wattage of each power brick.

However, some airports inspect each and every one, and if the power isn't visible or is worn off, they will just assume it's over the limits and take it away (see my experience in China).

Note that in this case it had nothing to do with the airline, and everything to do with China in-transit security - I didn't even enter the country.

Airlines are not generally the ones governing this - they're not going to ask you at check in (heck you may check in online), it'll be the security at the source and transit airports who are most likely to pull you up.

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    The regulation says between 100 and 160 it is pending airline approval so how come they are not the ones generally governing this? – chx Nov 4 '16 at 2:14
  • @chx - well, for starters they don't generally look at your bag. I mean, in the end of the airline says you can't carry something, it's their right as a private company to refuse service. But it's the airport/TSA/security staff usually who look at your possessions, scan your bag and question you about the luggage you're carrying. – Mark Mayo Nov 5 '16 at 4:56

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