Flight Safe Power Banks / Battery Packs by Wh & Australian Airline

I see the question of "is this allowed on planes?" on most large battery pack deals. Instead of continuing to comment on each, I've decided to post my article here so that others can simply reference this post. Post largely taken from my hobby travel website (which is not a store).

If anyone has constructive feedback, I'd love to hear it. If anyone would like me to create a post for a similar topic, feel free to comment a suggestion.

With phones, laptops, cameras, drones, and speakers, these days we are reliant on portable battery packs, or “power banks”. Unfortunately, batteries can cause sudden fires. Therefore, airlines have strict legal requirements about how batteries are transported.

Note: While this post is accurate, to the best of my knowledge, as of 31/05/2023: You are responsible for your own research. For the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s most up-to-date guidelines regarding batteries, visit the CASA website.

Quick Reference Table

mAh Wh Status
5,000 19 Safe to carry-on
10,000 37 Safe to carry-on
15,000 56 Safe to carry-on
20,000 74 Safe to carry-on
25,000 93 Safe to carry-on
27,000 100 Limit without airline approval
30,000 111 Seek airline approval
35,000 130 Seek airline approval
40,000 148 Seek airline approval
43,000 160 Legal limit
45,000 165 Illegal to bring on plane

Carry On vs Check-In

The reason battery packs that are allowed to be carried-on aren't always allowed to be checked-in is because a battery-fire beneath the plane would be extremely difficult to extinguish mid-flight.

Separate spare batteries must never be packed into checked luggage, no matter the size. Batteries that form part of a device, such as a laptop, are sometimes allowed in checked luggage regardless of size. But, as it can be a huge inconvenience to rearrange all your luggage, and for best practice, it’s best not to risk being told to move devices from your check-in to your carry-on – especially since it may put your carry-on over a weight limit. My advice is to pack so that your electronics are in your carry-on if possible. This will also ensure your that expensive electronics are less likely to be stolen or free-thrown.

mAh vs Wh

Airlines and aviation authorities grade power banks by Watt Hours (Wh). The confusion is introduced because power banks are generally marketed in Milliamp Hours (mAh). mAh is a measure of a battery's capacity, while Wh is a measure of consumption (at one watt per hour).

Don't worry, there is an easy equation we can use to find the exact Wh rating: Simply multiply the voltage (V) by the milli-amp hours (Ah), then divide this by 1000 to find your Wh.

3.7 V battery with a 10,000mAh hour rating is 37 Wh (V x mAh / 1000 = Wh).

The vast majority of lithium-ion power banks are 3.7 V. This is the voltage used for the quick reference table 😉

Under 100 Wh

If your power bank is under 100 Wh then you can usually keep it in your carry-on luggage on the plane, but it cannot be stored beneath the plane. Airlines and overseas regulators may have additional requirements, including for specific devices. Batteries without on/off buttons may need to be declared even if they're <100Wh.

Over 100 Wh 

If your power bank is between 100Wh and 160Wh you may still take it with you, but it will probably need to be cleared by the airline. Some airlines, such as Air Asia and Air New Zealand provide blanket approval without any declaration.


  • Virgin will approve 2 spare battery packs, 101-160Wh, when declared at check-in.
  • Rex will approve 2 spare battery packs, 101-160Wh, when declared at check-in.
  • Qantas and Jestar will approve these batteries but require prior-approval via an email to <[email protected]and declaration at check-in. Approval valid for 12 months.


  • Air New Zealand allows 2 spare battery packs, 101-160Wh.
  • Singapore Air allows 2 spare battery packs between 101-160Wh, or 1 x 161-300Wh*.
  • Emirates will approve 2 spare battery packs, 101-160Wh, when declared at check-in.
  • Cathay Pacfic allows 2 spare battery packs, 101-160Wh, when stored in separate bags, or one 161Wh-300Wh* battery with approval.
  • Air Asia allows 2 spare battery packs, 101-160Wh.
  • Malaysia Airlines will approve 2 spare battery packs, 101-160Wh, when declared at check-in.

160Wh+ battery packs are sometimes allowed for specific device types, such as for medical and mobility devices. If you are travelling with these batteries, I highly recommend checking with each airline you plan to travel with, specifically for the route you plan to travel. Some airlines don't accept these batteries at all.

Outside of Australia

This article relates to flights from, to, and within Australia. Airlines in Australia must operate within CASA regulations, though they may also enforce their own stricter policies if they choose. Other jurisdictions may have their own regulations, and there are thousands of airlines which may enforce their own policies. The good news is that the International Civil Aviation Organisation revised its recommendations in April 2023 to universalise regulations, and these recommendations are in-line with Australian practices.

a) each battery must be of a type which meets the requirements
of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III,
subsection 38.3;
b) each battery must not exceed the following:
— for lithium metal batteries, a lithium content of 2 grams; or
— for lithium ion batteries, a Watt-hour rating of 100 Wh;
c) each battery may exceed 100 Wh but not exceed 160 Wh rating for lithium ion with the approval of the operator;
d) each battery may exceed 2 grams but not exceed 8 grams
lithium content for lithium metal for portable medical electronic
devices with the approval of the operator;

Essentially, batteries <100Wh undeclared, or 101-160Wh (limit of 2) declared at check-in, will likely become the norm. Many "operators" (airlines) already have blanket approval (without declaration) for 2 x 101-160Wh lithium-ion batteries, as is the case with Air New Zealand. Until the standards are universalised, it's best practice to check with your airline if you're flying outside of Australia.

My Recommendation

It's better to have 2 x 20,000 mAh than it is to have 1 x 40,000 mAh, because:

  • You can share the second device
  • If one is lost, you have a backup
  • You can charge more devices (as you have more ports)
  • You can carge two batteries faster than you can charge one
  • You don't need to declare <100Wh

When packing multiple batteries, it is a requirement of some airlines that they are in separate bags, such as ziplocks. They can then be placed into a larger bag.

If battery terminals are exposed, such as with loose drone batteries, airlines may require that they be covered (e.g. with tape).

If you do carry 101-160Wh batteries, they are no less likely to be refused than <100Wh batteries, assuming they're in good condition. Where declaration is a requirement, it is mostly a formality - I've never had a >100Wh battery actually be inspected. I do suggest taking a photo of the specifications printed on the battery, as these can rub off over time. If you have a large battery and can't prove that it's <160Wh then it may be confiscated. Other reasons a <160Wh battery may be confiscated are swelling, cracks, and other visible damage.

Consider the wattage you need to power your devices. A 2023 MacBook Air can be charged with a 30W, while other laptops may require 65W or more. The total output of a battery pack will also be split amongst its ports and fluctuate depending on the number of devices connected. You will need to take this into account.


ALLPOWERS S200 Portable Power Station 200W 154Wh 41600mAh - "I brought the home office with me."

Xiaomi Zmi No.20 210W 25000mAh - "I need to charge my drone, camera, phone, and laptop."

ROMOSS 20000mAh 18W Portable Charger - "I just want to charge my phone."

Other than that, I hope I've provided you with enough information to do your own research and find a battery that suits your needs. Take it to the comment section from here :P

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  • Can you have the quick reference guide on top of post? Just so it is easy for people to see the table first without scrolling through all the text/explanation.

    Great work on this :)

    • +1

      Done :) I didn't put it right at the top because I wanted that little disclaimer and such before it, but I've moved it up higher for you.

  • +2

    Adding some more info - I used to race drones competitively and flew with large quantities of Lipos occasionally

    • If you really want to avoid pain, print a copy of the Airline's own battery rules, and put it inside the bag/container carrying the batteries. Some staff don't know they're allowed in check-in, or in what quantities. I lost a fair bit of time waiting for supervisors to come and confirm.
    • Tape over all terminals, tape down any messy labels/wires. This is required for some airlines, but will make your bag look less "dodgy"
    • If possible, pack them in flame-resistant bags (available anywhere online if you search e.g. lipo bag) - not so much a requirement but a sensible and cheap stopgap
    • Good advice! Even better, book mark this page and pull it up when you're checking in (assuming I've linked to your airline above).

      You're right above specific procedures such as covering terminals, separating batteries, etc. e.g. Cathay specifically wants the batteries separated by different bags (though those separate bags can be within the one larger bag).

  • Over 100 Wh

    If your power bank is between 100Wh

    is it over 100 or >100? All the examples below say 101-

    • is it over 100 or >100

      over and > are synonyms, so both.

      All the examples below say 101-

      I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you asking if 100Wh falls into the former or latter category? If so, 100Wh (such as a 27,000mAh battery) would fall into the former category (not requiring approval). 101Wh would require approval, as it's between 100Wh and 160Wh.

      Virgin words it as follows:

      Lithium-ion over 100Wh up to 160Wh

      So, anything over 100Wh requires approval up until 160Wh, which is the legal limit (with some exceptions, such as for certain mobility devices).

      I hope this is clear.

  • Hmm this is very helpful. I'm flying next week and looking to purchase a flight safe power bank that is capable of providing 45W of power. Anyone have any suggestions ?

    • Xiaomi Mi 50w 20,000mAh is a good choice. Carry on without approval and a relatively reputable brand.

      Romoss have one with the same specs as well, which I use and recommend, but isn't as widely known.

  • Will they know if powerbank or any other lithium operated items put into checked baggage? What happen if they find out?

    • Your bags are scanned once they are checked in. If there is anything suspicious, they will be inspected by hand. That's why people buy TSA approved locks, so that the security can open the locks without having to cut them off with bolt cutters in order to inspect your bag. Your bag may not even make it on the plane, which wouldn't be fun on an international flight.

      It's illegal for good reason. If one of those batteries causes a fire in the baggage bay mid-flight, it could kill everybody. It's just not worth the risk.

      • Thanks for the insight. What happen to those parcels that contain lithium? I'm guessing passenger plane won't carry them due to that same reason. Therefore only certain carriers can special handle them

  • Wh is actually Watts multiplied by hours, not Watts per (divided by) hour (Power multiplied by time is energy used).

  • Thanks for this, very helpful. What do you mean when you say declare at check-in? As I say yes to I'm carrying dangerous goods? And then they check it before I'm allowed to board?

    (I'm thinking mainly Rex and Virgin. I've emailed Qantas just in case I take flights with them)

    • If you have checked baggage then check-in when you drop your bags off. It will take an extra ~10 seconds. Just have your battery ready so you can show them without having to dig it out of the bottom of your backpack. The staff will want to check the mAh is correct and that the battery isn't showing any signs of damage (if they bother to look at it at all).

      If you don't have checked baggage, I recommend taking <20,000mAh batteries otherwise you'll have to line-up at bag-drop just to declare the batteries.

      The exception to this is Jetstar and Qantas, where you can email them a declaration that is good for 12 months. If you then check-in on your phone/computer, you don't need to declare any other dangerous goods as you have already declared those batteries. Qantas uses this method as they have automatic/unmanned bag-drops at some terminals, e.g. T3 in Sydney.

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