How to Pack Your Electronics for Air Travel

A man carrying a heavy bag across an airportElnur / Shutterstock 06Photo / Shutterstock

The holidays prove to be a great opportunity to use your electronics away from home. But this year again, the US government banned lithium-ion batteries from checked baggage. So, how are you supposed to pack this laptop?

It's not just a matter of TSA compliance; it's a matter of convenience. If you plan to bring major electronic devices on your next vacation, you must be able to organize them in your carry-on. Otherwise, your flight will be even bigger trouble.

You must pack the electronics in a carry-on baggage

Lithium-ion batteries are a relatively stable source of energy. But if you can punch or overheat a Li-ion battery, it will ignite. The US Department of Transport knows this poses a risk to aircraft safety and has banned lithium-ion batteries in the cargo area of ​​all passenger flights.

This is not just a precaution against bombs and premeditated Li-ion fires. Remember when Samsung phones were explode in people's pockets? Yes, it turns out that a faulty or damaged Li-ion battery can accidentally ignite. And the dark and messy loading area of ​​an airplane is probably the last place where you want to light a fire.

What does this mean for you? Well, you'll have to pack all your Li-ion electronics in carry-on luggage (or in your pocket). With phones or tablets, it's not a big deal. But this can be a major inconvenience if you try to carry a laptop, a Bluetooth speaker, portable batteries or any other large Li-ion electronic component during your flight.

As a general rule, you can carry as many lithium-ion batteries as you like in your carry-on. Some airlines have their own restrictionsbut if you take only a few devices, you probably will not have to worry.

Respect the ban, even if it is not applied

Do you remember how I told you that lithium-ion batteries are prohibited in the cargo area of ​​passenger flights? I have not lied, but the Federal Aviation Administration does not yet apply this prohibition very strictly.

According to the FAA, devices containing lithium-ion batteries "should be kept in carry-on baggage." But if you ignore the ban and store these electronic components in checked luggage, you must "shut them down completely, protect them from accidental activation and pack them are protected from damage."

A young couple taking a selfie on a planeillpaxphotomatic / Shutterstock

So you can technically pack your bags as you see fit. But I strongly suggest that you treat the ban as a law. The government is a complicated and bureaucratic enterprise. The fact that the FAA treats this ban as a suggestion does not mean that your local TSA agents feel the same way. Plus, your electronics are always safer in carry-on baggage.

How to pack your bags for the TSA checkpoint

Whether you like it or not, TSA is your biggest obstacle to lithium ion before flying. Do you know how TSA requires you to put your shoes and hand luggage in a plastic bin? Well, you are also supposed to remove from your bag all electronics larger than a cell phone. You then place these electronic components in separate bins because they can not be stacked on top of each other.

This is not the biggest problem on the planet, provided your bag is tidy. If you are using a backpack or a small suitcase, then try to put your clothes down and your electronics up. You can also dedicate an attachment to your electronic devices. In this way, you can quickly remove and replace your electronic devices as you pass the TSA checkpoint.

If you bring with you many small electronic devices, such as cables and batteries, I suggest you put them in a SACSMART or The basics of Amazon cable sheath. These cases make it easier to locate your documents and mitigate any unusual encounters with TSA.

How to get the most out of hand luggage

You will need to carry all your electronic devices in your carry-on, but you may not need to use them all on the fly. Since you obviously can not access the electronic devices in the upper compartment, you may want to keep useful electronic devices, such as tablets and portable game consoles, in a smaller bag that can slip under your seat or on your lap. A backpack, saddle bag, attached, or electronic organizer should work very well. Or, you can simply remove the kit from your luggage before the flight begins.

A woman uses her phone in the lobby of an airportZodiacphoto / Shutterstock

Ideally, your carry-on luggage will be as light as possible. You may only bring a few items of clothing, hygiene products, a book, snacks and your electronic devices in your carry-on. But if you are a stingy (like me), then there is a good chance that you would like to torture yourself by bringing everything into a backpack and completely removing yourself from the expensive and boring experience of checked luggage.

The sadistic method of restraint poses certain problems. If your bag is disorganized, it is difficult to quickly find the items you need. If it is too big to fit under your seat, you must throw it in the luggage compartment. Again, under bags, attached, and electronic organizers make the difference here. You can dedicate a backpack or suitcase to your clothes and use an extra small bag or organizer for your electronics.

Consider enrolling in the TSA pre-audit

Packing your electronics is easy enough, as long as you stay organized. But if you hate organizing the bags, and you hate to take away your electronic devices for TSA, the DOT lithium-ion rules can be very annoying. Fortunately, you can register for the TSA due diligence program and skip the usual filtering process.

TSA pre-check registration may take a long time, but it is worth it. You must conduct a face-to-face interview, provide fingerprints and allow the TSA to conduct a background check on the federal government. If you have already applied for a job in government, the process is virtually identical. Once you have been approved by the TSA, you pay $ 85 for a five-year registration, and that's it.

Once you are enrolled in the pre-check of TSA, you have to go down the queue before pre-checking the TSA instead of the normal and full TSA route. The experience is comparable to a Disney Fast Pass. The line is not as long, you do not have to take your electronics out of your bag or your shoes.

sources: FAA

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