Can You Bring a Laptop on a Plane?

Chris Campbell27 Apr 2022

Laptops enable us to get work done and stay connected no matter where we are, making them ideal travel companions. If you've never travelled with a laptop before, don't worry; it's fairly easy. Carrying a laptop on a trip requires some planning, but you will be able to bring your beloved machine with you without any hassles.

Bringing a laptop onto a commercial airplane is about as typical as taking a lunch bag or a wailing newborn. This is excellent news since, in the past, carrying a laptop was a reason for alarm for airport security. But these days, it's highly unlikely for you to be the only one on your row to have a laptop on top of the airplane tray table.

How Many Laptops Can I Bring on a Plane?

Many passengers want to travel with preferably two laptops; one for business and one to use personally. While you can afford the luxury of owning more than one laptop,  can you, however, bring multiple laptops on a plane? What exactly are the rules?

The airport's security checkpoint is managed by the TSA. If anybody is going to prevent you from carrying several laptops on an aircraft, it will be these people. "Multiple computers are permitted past the security checkpoint," as per the TSA. However, they advise that the airline you chose to fly with may have a restriction.

Carrying Multiple Laptops on International Flights

Customs is another agency that is concerned with what you might be carrying in your luggage. Electronic gadgets for personal use are permitted on foreign flights. However, if you had a carry-on full of laptops, this would be considered exporting or importing, and you might be required to pay taxes. If you want to carry three or more laptops on an overseas flight, make sure to verify the destination country's import regulations.

Laptops That May Not Be Allowed on Flights

On flights, lithium batteries can cause issues. They can unexpectedly burst and create a fire. Laptops are designated as "dangerous commodities" since they possess lithium batteries, and there are several additional requirements for transporting laptops on aircraft.

In a nutshell, laptops are allowed on airplanes.  Most laptops may be safely packed in your carryon. That is, unless you have an Apple Macbook. Apple reportedly recalled its 15-inch Macbooks manufactured between 2015 and 2017 due to the lithium batteries' potential to get overheated and cause fires. Following the news, numerous airlines began removing recalled models from their fleets. Shortly after, the FAA prohibited the use of recalled models on all domestic flights.

While most airlines just prohibited the recalled model, Virgin Australia prohibited all Macbook models, irrespective of issue date or type. The present state of affairs is as follows: Most laptops may be taken on aircraft, except for the recalled Macbook, which is prohibited by most airlines. When traveling with Virgin Australia, you must also be especially cautious about bringing other prohibited Macbook models.

One thing to keep in mind is that you are not permitted to bring extra batteries larger than 100 watt-hours without prior approval from the airline. Most modern laptops, however, do not have spare batteries, so this is not something you need to be concerned about.

Can You Use a Laptop on a Plane?

To say the least, the restrictions for using portable electronic devices on an aircraft can be perplexing. There have been several adjustments, including restrictions and restriction reversals. It's no surprise that some travelers are feeling lost with what's allowed and not allowed when taking and using electronics when traveling these days. So, what is the present state of affairs when it comes to flying with a laptop?

You could bring a laptop to an aircraft and use it either to get some work done or to keep yourself occupied during the flight like watching a movie. You will be requested to switch off your laptop for takeoffs and landings, but using it in-flight is fine, and onboard Wi-Fi is even made accessible for passengers.

Some Points to Remember When Using Your Laptop During Flights

  • Airports typically provide open Wi-Fi networks that are accessible yet risky. Cybercriminals are aware that tourists utilize Wi-Fi, but not everyone has adequate security. Before connecting to an airport Wi-Fi, make sure you have a VPN for your laptop.
  • Flying with a laptop takes some concentration as well. When you board an aircraft, put your laptop bag at your feet on the floor. If your aircraft is a little turbulent, beware of the overhead compartments since they can fly open. Don't take out your laptop the moment you sit down. Watch out for the formal announcement instead. The pilot will advise you when to activate airplane mode.
  • If you need to do some work on your flight, getting a seat adjacent to the window is your best bet. When necessary, you will be able to protect your laptop screen from the sun. You could also get a privacy display cover to make sure none of your co-passengers are spying on what you're doing on your laptop. 

Can You Charge a Laptop on a Plane?

In a perfect world, you would be able to bring your laptop on a plane, connect it to a power socket, and recharge it while working or playing in the air. Although many airlines offer charging alternatives for portable devices, not all of them have achieved dizzying heights of ease. 

You'll need a charging station if you want to take your work on a flight or stream Netflix movies to your laptop. Charging stations are available at airport terminals, and some airlines include power outlets or USB connections in their seats. However, not all aircraft offer power options, thus you may need to use a different charging method.

Some planes provide in-seat electricity through a normal AC power adapter, similar to how a laptop is plugged into a wall at home. Carry the typical power brick you use for a wall outlet for these sorts of aircraft.

DC power adapters, such as the circular cigarette lighter power adapters common in automobiles, are utilized in some situations in flights. If that's the only option, you need to have a DC-to-AC power converter. If you often travel with a laptop and USB devices, a DC-to-AC converter with a three-pronged socket for a laptop and two USB ports for smaller devices may be preferable.   Simply put, you can bring a laptop on a plane. Laptops aren't authorized to be used during takeoff or landing, but you’re allowed to use them during the flight. Furthermore, several airlines now sell optional Wi-Fi, allowing you to access the internet while flying.

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Thanks for reading! I'm Chris, an avid tech fanatic that enjoys keeping up with the latest laptop models. Hopefully my tips & tricks can help you out!

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