Have you ever packed your bag, grabbed everything, stuffed it in, and realized you didn’t have much space left? You pick up your portable charger and think, “Can you bring chargers on a plane?”
It’s a valid question.
After all, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) restricts more items from boarding than a pompous rollercoaster attendant.
So, I went to TSA themselves to find my answer.
Chargers that contain a lithium-ion battery are allowed on planes. But, they must be packed into your carry-on bag. You cannot pack them into your checked bag.
This is for a variety of reasons, which I’ll detail below.
Why Do You Have to Store Your Portable Chargers in Your Carry-On?
So, you may be asking, “Why are portable chargers NOT allowed on planes?”
Portable chargers contain a lithium-ion battery, and this is what makes it tricky.
Lithium batteries can be dangerous if they reach a specific temperature. Once reaching that temperature, they start fires that are difficult to extinguish.
Staff can’t respond to an emergency fire when your luggage is underneath the plane. This jeopardizes the entire plane’s safety — including your own.
There have been instances where entire planes have been destroyed due to lithium batteries stored in the cargo hold.
But, suppose a lithium battery happens to combust and catch fire in the plane’s cabin. In that case, flight attendants have the opportunity to respond to it.
The flight attendants put out the fire, and there’s minimal damage.
There may be minor injuries and some material damage inside the cabin. But this can all be treated upon landing.
So, if you’re deciding where to pack it, save yourself (and others) and pack it in your carry-on.
Besides, it could be helpful if you forget to charge your phone before the flight.
Can You Take Chargers Through Airport Security?
Absolutely. You can pack your portable charger into your carry-on, and you don’t have to worry about it.
In 99% of cases, you don’t even have to take it out of your carry-on when passing through airport security.
That is reserved for electronics that are usually around the size of a tablet or larger. Think laptops, tablets, and devices around that size.
I’ve asked countless security officers, and not one has made me take out my portable charger to put it in a bin.
After passing it through screening, you’ll get the occasional officer who asks to check through your bag, but it’s rare.
And, upon seeing your portable charger, they’ll wave you on and tell you to enjoy your flight.
So, pack your portable charger in your carry-on and forget about it (unless you need it to charge your device).
Common Items You Must Pack in Your Carry-On
Portable chargers aren’t the only items that can’t be stored in your checked bag. There is an exhaustive list on the TSA website of where you need to pack particular items.
And, when I say exhaustive, I mean it’s 49 pages long. And it includes everything you can think of, from nunchucks to alcohol and from live lobsters to artificial skeleton bones.
If you want to bring it on a plane, this list will have you covered. It even has a convenient search function to make it easier for you.
You can check the TSA website for a complete list.
But, here are some everyday items you may have yourself:
- Lighters (all kinds)
- Cordless Curling Irons
- E-Cigs and Vapes
- Fuel Cells to charge electronic devices
- Cordless Hair Straightener
- Medical Devices
Common Items You Must Pack in Your Checked Bag
While the items above belong in your carry-on, some things are strictly forbidden from being brought into the cabin.
TSA demands that you pack these items into your checked bag for safety and health reasons. It’ll go under the plane and stay there until you’re at baggage pickup.
So, here are some everyday items you might have that must go in your checked baggage:
- Any type of weapons, knives, or guns
- Any tools (drills, screwdrivers, blades, etc.)
- Any large sports equipment (hockey/lacrosse sticks, golf clubs, ski poles, etc.)
- Any Battery-Powered Wheelchairs or Mobility Devices
- Cast Iron Cookware
- Cutting Boards
- Magic 8 Ball
- Pepper Spray
Best Portable Chargers You Can Take on Planes
Okay, now that we’ve ironed out why and what you can take on a plane, let’s check out some of the best portable chargers.
Knowing what you can or can’t pack in your carry-on and checked luggage saves you a headache at the airport.
Making your airport experience as seamless as possible is the number one goal. And having to unpack and then repack your luggage isn’t seamless.
If you’re unsure where to pack an item, check TSA’s complete list of allowed items.
Once that’s done, pack your bag and enjoy your flight!
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