When you travel, you’ll want to bring something to do on your flight, like a book to read or a game to play. A handheld video game system, like a Nintendo Switch, is perfect for playing on a plane.
But can you bring a Switch on a plane?
Yes, you can bring a Nintendo Switch on a plane, but it must go in your carry-on bag, not in your checked bag.
Here is a Tweet from @AskTSA on Twitter regarding Switches:
Game consoles are allowed in carry-on bags. Please note, it must be removed from its packaging and sent into the X-ray for screening.
So, you need to remove it from your luggage and from any box, bag, or carrying case that it’s in during the security screening. If you have any other questions about flying with your Switch or other electronic devices, you can Tweet at AskTSA on Twitter.
This article will explain more about the battery sizes and requirements set by the TSA, how to pack your Nintendo Switch for a flight, and whether or not you can fly with a Switch on a flight to the UK.
How to Pack a Nintendo Switch OLED for a Flight
The Nintendo Switch OLED is the newest version of the Switch with a larger screen, more internal storage, and slightly bigger dimensions than the standard version.
The Nintendo Switch OLED and other versions of the Switch have a lithium battery, so you must bring it with you on the plane, either in your carry-on bag or as your personal item.
Lithium batteries are prone to catch fire if they are damaged or short-circuit, so they need to be kept where you can keep an eye on them during the flight, not in your checked bags under the plane.
The TSA has different regulations for batteries depending on if they have more or less than 100 watt-hours. All Switch devices have a battery with less than 20 watt-hours, which is well under the TSA’s regulations.
Here is what the TSA says about lithium batteries, which covers Switches:
Spare (uninstalled) lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries, including power banks and cell phone battery charging cases, must be carried in carry-on baggage only… Lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries are limited to a rating of 100 watt-hours (Wh) per battery. These limits allow for nearly all types of lithium batteries used by the average person in their electronic devices.
This instruction covers spare lithium metal and spare rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for personal electronics such as cameras, cell phones, laptop computers, tablets, watches, calculators, etc.
Do you Have to Take your Nintendo Switch out at Airport Security?
Yes, all electronics larger than your phone, so laptops, tablets, and video game systems, including Switches, must be removed at the TSA security checkpoint.
You will have to take your Switch out of your bag and place it in its own bin through the security scanner when you go through airport security. So, make sure your Switch is easily accessible in your bag when you arrive at the airport.
Your Nintendo Switch is fragile, so it is better to pack it in your carry-on bag anyway to keep it with you for your entire journey. You still want to use other protective measures like a carrying case in case the Switch shifts in your bag.
And, make sure you charge your Switch before you go to the airport in case you can’t find a place to charge it at the airport or on the plane. Or, bring a portable charger that you can plug your Switch into no matter where you are.
Finally, make sure you have games that you can play offline, and make sure you turn on the Switches airplane or flight mode as you do with your phone and other electronics.
You can also use these packing techniques for a Switch Lite or an OLED Switch. Just make sure you have the right case for your Switch as they are different sizes because you want to make sure your Switch is secure in its case.
Once you pass through security, you will no longer have to remove your Switch from your bag unless you want to play it on the plane.
If you want to bring anything else with a lithium battery on a plane, or even a smaller electronic device like a phone, you need to know the TSA rules.
Can I take a Switch on a plane bound for the UK?
Yes, you can take a Switch on a plane bound for the UK, and there are currently no restrictions for bringing a Switch on a plane from any country to the UK.
There was some confusion about whether or not Switches were allowed on planes flying to the UK when the government placed a ban on bringing devices larger than a smartphone on flights from six countries in the Middle East in 2017.
However, the UK government did not include switches in the ban, just laptops and tablets. And, the ban was lifted in 2019, so you can bring and use your Switch in the cabin of a plane going to the UK regardless of where it is coming from.