Posted by Bryan Liu

With the popularization of smartphones, more and more people are growing dependent on their phones, carrying it wherever they go and whatever they do, such as walking, going abroad, traveling. No wonder that many of us find bringing a power bank during traveling has now become a necessity.

Imagine if we couldn’t carry power banks with us on a long trip, it would be frustrating, right? Most people know that power banks are usually not allowed to carry in a plane. But now things have changed as new rules have been issued. Before we explore the power banks that we are allowed to carry on a flight, let’s see the reason why power banks were prohibited in the air first.

Why are power banks prohibited in the cargo hold on flights?

According to an IATA (International Air Transport Association) document, for the ''Transport of Lithium Metal and Lithium Ion Batteries Revised for the 2017 Regulations'', categorically states the following about carrying power banks:

‘‘(Power banks) are portable devices designed to be able to charge consumer devices such as mobile phones and tablets...For carriage by passengers, power banks are considered spare batteries and must be individually protected from short-circuit and carried in carry-on baggage only.''

You may wonder that how come the same device, which cannot be carried in cargo, can be taken inside an aircraft?

Airlines do not allow power banks in the cargo luggage for the purpose of safety. Power banks are essentially batteries that utilize lithium cells. Lithium batteries are more likely to combust, and are therefore prohibited for cargo transport, as part of air-transport regulations.

A further explanation is that airlines would prefer handling the risk of lithium batteries, in this case, power banks, inside the passenger aircraft rather than in the baggage compartment. As power banks are effectively batteries, and can in some situations catch fire. So you don't want them in the baggage compartment. If they're taken on board as hand baggage, in the rare situation that they may catch fire, they can be dealt with more easily as there are fire extinguishers in the cabin.

Now we have figured out the reason why there exists such regulation, we may want to explore what kind of power banks are allowed to take on a flight.

What kind of power banks are allowed on flights?

The following rules are according to the Civil Aviation Administration in China. These rules are standard for many airlines around the world:

  1. "Power bank must be carried for personal use.
  2. Power bank must only be carried in hand luggage or carried around. It is not allowed to carry power banks in checked luggage.
  3. If the rated power is less than 100Wh, power banks can be carried without approval; power banks with the power between 100Wh and 160Wh can be carried after approval of air carrier. However, each passenger is only allowed to carry no more than two power banks.
  4. It is not allowed to carry the power banks with power higher than 160Wh or the power banks without identified rated power and with rated power unable to be worked out with the marked parameters. Attachment: Calculation methods for the rated power of power banks.”

It’s heavily dependent on the capacity in Wh (watt hours), and under 100Wh is OK to bring on board. If they are loose spare batteries you can bring them in your carry on but not in the hold. It applies for batteries between 100-160Wh as well 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.

How to Calculate the Capacity

Someone may feel confused about the calculation of the capacity. Here is the method to find Watt Hours: Just take Milliamp Hours/1000 x Voltage = Watt Hours

(MAH)/1000 X (V) = (WH)

Normally the output voltage is 5V, so the allowed capacity would be 20000mAh. That means the capacity of power banks within 20000mAh would be applicable. Here Zendure A3 would be a preferable choice.

The A3 is one of the most compact and lightweight external batteries in the market for its capacity, thanks to the use of top quality components. With 10,000 mAh capacity, this little thing can easily extend your phone usage 3-4 times.

Bearing the regulations in mind and grabbing a Zendure A3, you could enjoy a carefree air journey.