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As you may have seen, we recommended a portable charger recently. We’ve recommended a few because a portable charger is the tech gadget that flight attendants say they never travel without (check out some other must-have travel gadgets here) and we recently shared this portable charger as an option to consider.

One of our readers bought the product and received it in the mail with a notice on the box saying: Lithium Ion Batteries – Forbidden For Transport Aboard Passenger Aircraft (see photo above).

The warning may be startling, especially for a product that’s intended to be used while traveling. But back in 2019, the government instituted new rules regarding the shipping of lithium ion batteries. They are banned from being shipped as cargo but can be packed in your carry-on bag, with some stipulations. According to Business Insider, “The U.S. government said on Wednesday it is issuing new rules barring airlines from carrying potentially hazardous lithium-ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft, and setting new requirements for transporting them on cargo planes.” (article published February 27, 2019)

RELATED: How to Never Forget Your Charger in Your Hotel Room Again

To further clarify that the product is indeed safe for travel, we checked the FAA website, the TSA website and cross-referenced the product information as well, which says that the charger provides a full week’s worth of charging capacity with the airline-approved 20000mAh power bank.

So, can you travel with lithium-ion batteries?

Here’s what the FAA says:
Lithium batteries, which power everyday devices, can catch fire if damaged or if battery terminals are short-circuited.

Devices containing lithium metal batteries or lithium ion batteries, including – but not limited to – smartphones, tablets, cameras and laptops, should be kept in carry-on baggage. If these devices are packed in checked baggage, they should be turned completely off, protected from accidental activation and packed so they are protected from damage.

Spare (uninstalled) lithium metal batteries and lithium ion batteries, electronic cigarettes and vaping devices are prohibited in checked baggage. They must be carried with the passenger in carry-on baggage. Smoke and fire incidents involving lithium batteries can be mitigated by the cabin crew and passengers inside the aircraft cabin.

If carry-on baggage is checked at the gate or planeside, spare lithium batteries, electronic cigarettes, and vaping devices must be removed from the baggage and kept with the passenger in the aircraft cabin.

Even in carry-on baggage, these items should be protected from damage, accidental activation and short circuits. Battery terminals should be protected by manufacturer’s packaging or covered with tape and placed in separate bags to prevent short circuits.

Damaged, defective or recalled lithium batteries must not be carried in carry-on or checked baggage if they are likely to be a safety concern by overheating or catching on fire. You can find more information from the FAA here and here.

And, according to the TSA:

Lithium batteries with more than 100-watt hours
Carry On Bags: Yes (Special Instructions)
Checked Bags: No

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.

With airline approval, passengers may also carry up to two spare larger lithium ion batteries (101–160 Wh) or lithium metal batteries (2-8 grams). This size covers the larger after-market extended-life laptop computer batteries and some larger batteries used in professional audio/visual equipment. There is a limit of two spare batteries per person for the larger lithium ion batteries described above (101–160 watt hours per battery. For more information, see the FAA regulations on batteries.

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. This instruction also includes external battery chargers (portable rechargers and power banks) containing a lithium ion battery. For lithium batteries that are installed in a device (laptop, cell phone, camera, etc.), see FAA regulations for “portable electronic devices, containing batteries.”

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