Since many airplanes regulate cabin temperature to accommodate everyone onboard, it can sometimes get a little chilly. You may think it’s a good idea to bring an electric heating pad along. This way you can keep warm and even treat the muscle spasms in your neck; but is an electric heating pad allowed on a plane?
The answer isn’t a simple yes-or-no. According to TSA, electric heating pads are allow in both your carry-on and check luggage. However, some airlines do not allow the use of electric heating pads so make sure to reach out to your airline prior to your flight.
If you are looking for Gel Heating Pads, TSA states that they are restricted in carry-ons but are allowed in checked bags.
While you can technically bring a heating pad, there are some conditions involved. The variables and nuances here mean you will have to do a little research before getting on the plane. This is especially true if you intend to use it while in flight.
Can I Bring an Electric Heating Pad through Airport Security?
You can definitely bring a heating pad through airport security as long as there is no gel inside the device. This is because gel is a restricted item per the TSA since it falls into the category of being a “liquid.”
You may have to put it through the metal detector or have it hand scanned. But, it’s generally not a problem.
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Can a Heating Pad Go Through Customs?
Customs doesn’t concern itself with heating pads unless you are leaving the country with a recent purchase. For this, there will be duties and taxes you have to pay. But, if it’s clearly unboxed and in your carryon, there’s no reason to declare it.
Which Airlines Don’t Allow the Use of Electric Heating Pads?
As of January 2021, American Airlines will not allow anyone to plug in their electric heating pads or blankets. Their announcement states the reason for this is because it presents a fire hazard. Heating pads and blankets are now a part of their list of non-approved PEDs. American Airlines recently revised their IFM to reflect this.
Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t put your electric heating pad in your carryon bag. You just won’t be able to plug it into the electrical ports around your seat. Therefore, you will need to get resourceful when flying with American Airlines if you wish to give yourself additional warmth.
How to Pack a Heating Pad for a Flight
Packing a heating pad for a flight isn’t difficult. However, due to the existence of some restrictions and conditions for boarding a plane with one, there are special steps you should take.
- Call, email or send a direct message via social media (ie Twitter) to your airline. Ask them about their policy in bringing on and plugging in electric heating pads.
- If they say it’s not okay to use an electric heating pad during your trip, roll it up and put it either in your carryon or your checked luggage. Ensure you protect it with its original packaging or a small drawstring pouch.
- If they say it’s okay to use the electric heating pad during your flight, use a small drawstring pouch to keep it conveniently located in your carryon bag.
- Avoid packing electric heating pads near liquids or moisture. Also, protect the prongs of the cord so they won’t sustain any damage.
Are There Any Alternatives to Using an Electric Heating Pad?
In the event your airline will not allow you to use an electric heating pad during your flight, you have some other options available.
- Disposable Warmers: Good for hands, toes and body, these are air-activated warming devices that use carbon, charcoal and iron compounds. As long as there is no flammable liquid, you can put it in your carryon or along with checked baggage.
- Rubber Bottle: This classic heating bottle is ideal for in-flight use. Board the plane with it completely empty and dry. Once your flight takes off, ask the flight attendant to fill it with hot water for you.
- Microwave-Activated Heating Pad: There are many non-electric heating pad options on the market and some of the more popular ones heat up in the microwave. Simply ask your flight attendant to warm it for you.