Traveling with a jump starter can be convenient and useful, especially if you need to charge your mobile devices or jump start your car in an emergency. However, if you are planning to travel by air and you want to bring your jump pack or portable jump starter along, you need to be aware of the rules and regulations that apply to this device.
In this post, I will explain the TSA and FAA rules, how to pack your jump starter for travel, the risks of taking it in your hand luggage, and whether you can bring it on international flights.
Let’s dive right in.
The TSA and FAA rules
The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) are fellows that stay up to ensure the safety of passengers on flights within and from the United States.
One of their jobs is to regulate what items you can bring on board an aircraft, either in your carry-on or checked baggage.
This includes car jump starters, which are essentially power banks with extra features. The reason for this strict rule is that lithium ion loose batteries can pose a fire hazard if they are damaged, overheated, or short-circuited.
If a battery catches fire in the cargo hold, it can be difficult to detect and extinguish. However, if it happens aboard the airplane, the fire officials can quickly respond and prevent the fire.
The FAA limits the size of the lithium ion battery that you can bring on a plane.
The battery capacity is measured in watt-hours (Wh), which is calculated by multiplying the voltage (V) by the ampere-hours (Ah).
For example, a 12V battery with a 10Ah capacity has a 120Wh rating. The TSA allows you to bring any lithium ion battery that does not exceed 100Wh without any approval.
This covers most portable car jump starters on the market, such as the NEXPOW G17 2000A Peak 18000mAh Jump Starter, the JF.EGWO 6000A Jump Starter, or the Clore Jump-N-Carry4. However, if your jump starter has a battery capacity between 100Wh and 160Wh, you need to get approval from your airline before you carry it with you.
You can check the battery capacity of your jump starter by looking at the label or the manual. If it is not stated, you can use a formula to estimate it: Wh = V x Ah / 1000. For example, if your jump starter has a 12V output and a 15,000 mAh capacity, the battery rating is about 180Wh, which means you need to get approval from the airline before you travel.
Still have questions?
If you have any doubts you can always reach out to the TSA customer service on X.
Simply tag the @AskTSA followed by your question, and an image if available, and you will get notified when they answer your question.
For example, Kristen (@KristenTbaby ) wanted to bring a halo compact bolt jump starter on cary-on.
Can you bring jump starters on a plane checked luggage?
The answer is No. You cannot bring your jump starter on a plane in checked luggage. As mentioned earlier, the TSA requires that all portable chargers or power banks containing a lithium ion battery be packed in carry-on bags.
Even though it is not a common accident, this is to prevent a fire hazard in the cargo hold, where a battery fire could go unnoticed and spread quickly to other parts of the plane..
If your jump starter is detected by the baggage screening system, it may be removed or destroyed by the security officers, without any compensation or notification to you.
In 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration reported at least 62 incidents involving lithium-ion batteries on airplanes and in airports, compared to 54 incidents the previous year.Source Forbes
How to pack your jump starter for travel?
Now that you know the TSA rules, you need to know how to pack your jump starter for travel. Here are some tips to follow:
Keep your jump starter in your carry-on bag. Do not put it in your checked baggage, as it may be confiscated or cause a fire hazard.
Protect your jump starter from physical damage, extreme temperatures, and moisture. You can use a padded case, a plastic bag, or a bubble wrap to wrap it securely.
Avoid placing your jump starter near metal objects, such as keys, coins, or jewelry, that could cause a short circuit. You can use a separate pouch or compartment to store it.
Turn off your jump starter before you board the plane. Some jump starters have an on/off switch, while others have a standby mode. Make sure your jump starter is not active or charging any device during the flight.
Follow the instructions and warnings of the jump starter manufacturer.
Read the manual carefully and do not use your jump starter for any purpose other than its intended use.
Risks of taking jump starters in hand luggage and how to avoid them.
Taking a jump starter in your hand luggage is generally safe, as long as you follow the TSA rules and the packing tips above. However, there are still some risks that you should be aware of and avoid. Here are some of them:
Your jump starter may be confiscated or inspected by the security officers.
If your jump starter looks suspicious, has a damaged or missing label, or exceeds the allowed battery capacity, you may have to surrender it or explain what it is and how it works.
To avoid this, make sure your jump starter is in good condition, has a clear label, and meets the TSA requirements.
Can you bring a jump starter on international flights?
The answer is yes, but with some conditions. You can bring your jump starter on international flights, as long as you follow the TSA rules and the packing tips above. However, you also need to check the rules and regulations of the destination country and the airline that you are flying with.
Different countries and airlines may have different policies and restrictions regarding lithium ion batteries and portable chargers.
For example, some countries may limit the number of batteries that you can bring, while some airlines may require you to declare your batteries at the check-in counter.
To avoid any problems or delays, double check with your airline to get confirmation or guidance on traveling with lithium ion batteries in general.
To sum up, you can bring a jump starter on a plane, as long as it is in your carry-on bag and the battery capacity does not exceed 100Wh. If the battery capacity is between 100Wh and 160Wh, you need to get approval from the airline.
You cannot bring your jump starter on a plane with checked luggage, as it may cause a fire hazard in the cargo hold.
You can bring your jump starter on international flights, but you need to check the rules and regulations of the destination country and the airline that you are flying with.
I hope this helps