Taking power banks on South African flights – What you need to know

Power banks are useful gadgets to take with you when travelling, allowing you to top up your smartphone’s battery at will.

Airlines can be particular about how you transport your power bank when flying, however, and certain power banks are not allowed on flights.

ADATA, a manufacturer of power banks, recently advised travellers to choose a device which meets airline safety specifications.

To find out what the local specifications are for travellers, MyBroadband spoke to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).


“South Africa does allow passengers and crew to carry power banks on both domestic and international flights,” a CAA spokesperson told MyBroadband.

“Notwithstanding, such power banks can only be carried in person or in carry-on baggage.”

According to the CAA, power banks may not exceed a watt-hour rating of 100Wh and must be produced by a manufacturer who subscribes to United Nations requirements for testing of lithium batteries.

ADATA confirmed that travellers cannot store a power bank in their cargo luggage, in compliance with International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations.

ADATA said if the 100Wh power rating is exceeded, special permission must be obtained from the airline to carry it on board. Even then, it may not exceed 160Wh.

The company said travellers may also want to consider whether their power bank is dust and waterproof, and is resistant to shocks and drops.

Check your power bank

Based on the information provided by the CAA and ADATA, it is important to determine the power rating of your power bank before travelling with it.

While most power banks are rated in mAh, you can convert this to a Wh figure by:

  • Multiplying the voltage (V) and capacity (mAh), and dividing the result by 1,000.

For example, a standard lithium-ion power bank with a capacity of 20,000mAh and nominal voltage of 3.7V would be rated at 74Wh.

While power banks often have an input and output voltage of 5V, the charge is commonly stored and measured in lithium-ion cells which have a nominal voltage of 3.7V.

It is also important to note that if you are travelling internationally, the country you arrive in may have different rules concerning power banks and could prevent you from either entering or leaving with your device.

Now read: Lanseria airport introducing self-service bag drop technology

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Taking power banks on South African flights – What you need to know