Can I Take My Power Bank or Portable Charger in My Carry-On?

I had a reliable battery pack that I’ve used for years.  I passed it to my sister for use and it was recently confiscated by airport security in China.  The reason?  The power bank doesn’t have any marking “stating the power bank capacity”.  I had no idea it was a requirement.

What Are The Rules for Power Banks?

You should always check with your airline for the most up-to-date information. Power banks generally fall under “batteries” category. I included some basic information for these airlines. (Note: Items in bold are mine)

American Airlines

Link to Website

“Portable electronic devices containing cells or batteries (including lithium) and spares for these devices intended for personal use: Watch|Calculator|Camera|Cell Phone|Laptop computer|Notebook computer|Camcorder.

For lithium-ion batteries, a maximum of 2, not exceeding 160 Wh each, are allowed in carry-on bag with airline approval.”

United Airlines

Link to Website

“Personal devices (except for e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers) installed with a lithium battery of less than 100 watt hours are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage. Loose lithium batteries are not permitted in checked baggage on any United flight.”

Also, “If carry-on baggage is checked at the gate, any lithium batteries and power banks must be removed.”

Note: I take the information to mean that power banks are considered loose lithium batteries, and should not be included in checked bags.


Link to Website

“…consumer electronic and medical devices containing lithium cells or batteries (e.g. watches, calculators, cameras, cell phones, laptops, camcorders, hearing aids, etc.) is allowed onboard as carry-on. Spare lithium batteries are allowed as carry-on only.

Passengers are permitted to travel with lithium ion batteries that contain a maximum of 160 watt hours per battery.  Lithium ion batteries installed in a personal electronic device can be transported as checked or carry on baggage.

Lithium ion batteries not installed in a device (spares) must be in carry-on baggage and no more than two (2) spares between 100 and 160 watt hours are allowed.”


Link to Website

“JetBlue will accept consumer electronic and medical devices (watches, calculators, cameras, cellular phones, laptop computers, camcorders, and hearing aids, etc.) containing lithium cells or batteries, when carried by customers or crewmembers in carry-on or checked baggage.
Spare lithium cells and batteries for these devices will ONLY be accepted in carry-on baggage and are PROHIBITED in checked baggage.”



Link to Website

“Power banks, also known as portable chargers or external battery chargers, are lithium-ion battery packs used to charge other electronic devices e.g. mobile phones, tablets, laptops.  Stand-alone power banks are considered spare or loose lithium-ion batteries and must be transported in carry-on baggage only.”


Most airlines allow you to carry a power bank, but you’ll need to take it in your carry-on bag.

Airlines should clarify their position on power banks since more people will be using them. Is it considered an device that contains lithium batteries (true) or a “spare”?

The only airline that made it very clear is Southwest.  A power bank is considered a “spare”.

When I’m in the market for a new power bank, I’ll look for one with a power rating displayed.  I certainly wouldn’t want another power bank to be confiscated.


Have you run into issues with carrying your power banks through airport security?

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Source: Travel Gadget Reviews

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