Phones. We all have them. They are not only our way of staying in touch with people but they are our calendars and organizers, our bank cards, our music, our TVs. In fact, these things are what make phones our perfect travel companions. But are they allowed on planes and if so, what are the rules around this?
According to the TSA, phones are allowed on planes. In some instances for domestic flights in the US, you do not even have to take them out of your bag for specific screening. However, like all guidelines, it is up to the security officer at the time of your check.
In regards to how many phones you can actually take on a plane in your carry on luggage, that is up to each individual airline. When taking multiple phones on board with you, you may be questioned what each one is for and why you need multiple, but according to forums on Tripadvisor and similar sites, this rarely occurs if the phones are unsealed and in use.
This is something that does need to be checked with your country of arrival. While the US does not mind how many new phones in boxes stay within the country, your destination might. Check Import and Customs regulations to see how many (if any) can be brought with you as well as any rules around declarations of imported goods and what taxes may need to be paid to do this. This is also needed even if the phones are gifts and you have no intention to sell them.
Most basic consumer items are allowed in your checked baggage provided they are switched off and do not contain lithium ion or lithium metal batteries, according to the FAA. Again, if you are choosing to take new phones that are still sealed in their packaging, then you will need to check with customs of your destination in regards to what is required to be declared.
Related Article: Are Pins Allowed on Planes?
In October 2016, the FAA put a ban on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 mobile device as there was a high risk of overheating the device resulting in fire. Under no circumstances can this device be taken as carry on or in checked in luggage. Read the full press release from when the change happened here.
Experts say that phones are required to be in Airplane Mode, stating that radio signal interference is the reason as the frequencies of phone signal and airplane communications are too close together. For a more detailed overview, check out what the FAA says on the matter. But don’t forget, even with Airplane Mode, you can access Wifi if your chosen airline has it, allowing you to continue using the travel apps we recommend to stay organized. However, it does pay to check with your international airline as some do allow phone calls and non-wifi usage during flights.
You can absolutely bring your power bank on board with you, packed in your carry on luggage. This is especially convenient for business travelers who often do not have checked in luggage. However, you need to be aware if your power bank contains a lithium ion or lithium metal battery. If it does, you will be required to place it in checked in luggage or leave it behind.
There is no hard and fast rule with the exact requirements of how big the battery can be that you take in your carry on luggage. While it is always best to check with the airline, the TSA states that “more than 100 watt hours may be allowed in carry-on bags with airline approval.” You are also allowed to take spare batteries however there are special instructions regarding this. Check out the TSA guidelines as well as with the specific airline you are flying with.
Nobody likes a flat battery especially for your phone as you will probably need it once you land. There are no restrictions regarding taking chargers on board with you or checking them in in checked baggage. The rule is around batteries and the type you use, not on the actual charging devices and cables. If you are lucky, you may be flying in a newer plane and some now feature usb connectivity for charging during the flight. Check with your airline before departure but make sure you take a fully charged phone with you so you are prepared when you land.