Traveling through airways, likewise, any other transport has its pros and cons. Flights are preferred for long distances over other means of transportation, air transport has definitely revolutionized traveling as it connects far off places, not only within one’s own country but also overseas, in a foreign land.
The major disadvantage of traveling through airplanes incorporates the money factor, the journey is expensive at the very core and the other drawback which accompanies moving through flights includes the various rules and regulations which are needed to be strictly followed. Amongst the different criteria of rules and regulations, one crucial area is the restriction on several types of articles that can be carried with the passengers on board.
As the passengers get ready to commence their travel with their luggage, whether the cargo or the handbags have to undergo a precisely conducted security check process, where it is ensured that any non-permitted article or thing or any material dangerous to the safety of the airplane, does not get on to the flight.
So, the passengers ought to keep in mind every minute detail before commencing their journey as the airport authorities can confiscate any possession. And again, there are rules which separate cargo luggage from the stuff which can be carried in handbags and one such item is Power Banks. A frequently asked question by the traveling fraternity is that- Are power banks permitted on flights in India? This article aspires to solve all the queries related to this very fundamental question.
Why are the power banks restricted in the cargo Luggage on flights?
Power banks are portable devices that are used to charge several electronic devices like Mobile Phones, Tablets, Laptops and various other electronic gadgets. It is one of those devices which become a must-item during travel as there can be a lack of power sources and necessary devices may run out of the battery when they are required at the most opportune moment.
So, such a vital device like Power Banks should be allowed by the airlines and the answer to the most asked question is yes, they are permitted by the airlines but with certain restrictions. Power Banks can be carried during air travel; however, they can be kept only in the hand-carried luggage and not in the cargo or the check-in luggage. The reason cited by the experts is based on the ground of safety reasons, to prevent the breakout of the fire, which can put the lives of the entire crew and passengers on board in danger.
However, this reason might perplex some people, if such restriction is put citing safety issues, then what explains the reason behind allowing Power Banks on handbags. Let us first analyze the reason behind such a restriction. As per an IATA document (International Air Transport Association), for the “Transport of Lithium-Ion Batteries, 2017 Regulations”, Power banks, which are primarily composed of lithium batteries, must be individually protected from short circuits and must be carried in carry-on baggage only.
These essential portable devices are highly inflammable, the batteries utilize lithium cells and the latter combusts or catches fire very easily, which can thus put the safety of the entire aircraft in ultimate danger and risk the lives of hundreds of souls on board.
As these devices can catch fire rather quickly, one would not want them in the baggage compartment. If they are carried on the plane as hand luggage, and even in the rarest of the rare cases, if a fire breaks out, it can be quickly doused and the situation can be brought under control through the use of fire extinguishers which are fixed in the cabin. If they are kept in the baggage compartment and even if a little spark breaks out, it can lead to unimaginable, hazardous consequences.
What kind of power banks are permissible on flights?
Again, the regulations vary according to the airlines. Restrictions are not only based on the medium in which power banks can be carried but also on the capacity of these devices. So, apart from the rule that Power Banks can be only carried in handbags, their ratings must also be in a limit. For instance, in the case of Air India, the regulation says that the Watt-hour rating must not exceed 100Wh in the case of lithium-ion batteries.
This limit varies according to the airline’s concern as each airline has its own respective set of regulations and rules. In some instances, pre-approval of the airline is required to carry a portable Power Bank with a capacity exceeding 100wh before boarding the aircraft.
Several passengers have been caught off by guard, unaware of the various regulations and rules which have been already incorporated into the list of guidelines for air travel with regards to carrying power banks. There have been several cases at the Indian airports where the passengers have been stopped at the security check and debarred from boarding the aircraft as they have carried Power Banks in their cargo luggage, for instance, in their suitcases or their trunks. As per the security personnel, these power banks are often detected by the security machines in the same way as bombs are detected, which can further result in the creation of more doubts and chaos.
So, these portable, apparently harmless, charging devices which are also being mistaken for a bomb can undoubtedly raise many questions in the minds of the passengers regarding their permissibility on flights, so, they must be aware of the various rules and regulations of the carrier which they are boarding to avoid any harassment at the airport and commence their journey hassle-free, and reach their destination without much trouble, nuisance or annoyance and on time.
So, to conclude, Power Banks are allowed on flights but only on hand baggage and not in the cargo luggage and the capacity varies according to the concerned airline and for most of the airlines, it should not exceed 100Wh. Yes, the rules are complex and complicated, but as along these rules ensure the security and well being of the souls on board, they will be accepted with open arms.