Leg cramps, wailing children, delays, there are loads of reasons air travel can leave us tossing and turning the night before our trip. The last thing you need added to that list is a confiscated battery pack. Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to check whether or not you can bring your lithium battery on a plane.
Bringing a Smaller Lithium Battery on a Plane
To make a long-winded explanation short, yes, you can bring a battery on a plane. That’s great news for those of us needing a quick recharge for our phones or noise cancelling headphones, but there’s a caveat. Flights are ok with carry-on lithium-ion batteries as long as they fall under a 100 watt-hours (Wh) limit. Odds are your battery packs fall under this classification, but knowing how to check is wise. This is doubly true if your battery pack is needed for something as essential as a CPAP machine.
All you need to find your battery pack’s watt-hours are two values: its mAh capacity and its voltage (V). Once you have those two units, multiply them together, divide them by 1000, and you’ve got watt-hours! Boiled down into a formula, this is what you’re left with.
(mAh * V)/1000 = Wh
If you end this calculation with 100 Wh or less, then you’ve got an air travel-friendly battery on your hands!
As a quick example, let’s plug in our 27,000 mAh AC Battery Pack. Multiplying the 27,000 mAh capacity with its 3.7 V voltage gives us 99,900. Divide that by 1000 and you get 99.9 Wh. This makes the 27k TSA-friendly with one of the highest capacities capable of being brought onto a flight!
Bringing a Bigger Lithium Battery on a Plane
A 27k mAh battery on a plane can be a real lifesaver, but what about something larger? Maybe you’re charging multiple devices or plan on bringing work with you to your destination. Regardless, the good news is that batteries rated 100.1-160 Wh still have a chance to be brought on board.
Batteries with this higher Wh ranking just require airline approval. Usually, all that’s needed is a quick call to an airline rep and they’ll tell you whether or not that particular airline allows those kinds of higher capacity battery packs.
If you plan on bringing anything higher than 160 Wh, you may be in for some trouble. At that point you’re looking at following guidelines for dangerous cargo. But, chances are you’re not bringing a generator on board so you’re probably good.
Just a little bit of calculating is all it takes to ensure your vacations and work trips go off without a hitch. If you plan on taking a battery on a plane, just remember these two cardinal rules.
- Keep your batteries in your carry-on luggage.
- Don’t take a battery over 100 Wh without consulting the airline first.