Flights in the USA (Regulated by TSA and FAA)
On domestic US flights or flights that start or end in the US, you’re allowed to pack extension cords and electrical wires in your hand and checked luggage. The only requirement is that all cords must be securely wrapped to expedite the screening process. That said, this rule is rarely enforced, and most of the time, the TSA agents won’t bat an eye if your cords are dangling loosely in your luggage.
Flights in Canada (Regulated by CATSA)
For flights within Canada, extension cords and electrical wires aren’t mentioned specifically in the list of banned items, which means that they’re allowed in hand and checked luggage. However, there’s a specific type of item banned in hand luggage called “Tools that could cause serious injury or threaten the safety of aircraft“. Depending on the security agent’s interpretation, a wire could theoretically be used to strangle someone, which means they wouldn’t be allowed in hand luggage. However, the chances of that happening are incredibly slim, because most people wouldn’t classify an electrical wire as a weapon.
Flights in Europe (Regulated by IATA and EASA)
If you’re flying within the EU, you can pack power strips and electrical wires in your hand and checked luggage.
Flights in the United Kingdom (Regulated by CAA)
Extension cords and electrical wires aren’t specifically mentioned, but they’re almost always allowed in hand and checked luggage on flights to or from the UK.
Flights in Australia (Regulated by CASA)
In Australian flights, electrical appliances are not considered dangerous goods. This means that power strips and electrical wires are allowed in hand and checked baggage without any restrictions.
Flights in New Zealand (Regulated by CAA)
In New Zealand, electrical cords and power strips aren’t specifically mentioned in the allowed/banned list of items. However, most plug-in electronic devices are allowed, unless they can harm someone by drilling/sawing/etc. So if you’re bringing regular wires, you can safely pack them in hand and checked luggage.
Flights in China (Regulated by CAAC)
For flights in China, extension cords and wires aren’t specifically mentioned, so it rests on the decision of each security officer. Generally, plug-in electronic devices are allowed, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to pack an extension cord in your hand or checked luggage.
Flights in India (Regulated by AAI)
Similar to other localities, on flights within India, extension cords and electronic cables are generally allowed in hand and checked luggage. Extension cords and wires aren’t specifically mentioned in the list of prohibited items, but most commonly, plug-in electronics are almost always allowed.
Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring electrical wires onboard airplanes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Electrical Wires and Cords on Planes
Can I bring HDMI, USB, USB Type-C, Micro USB, and ethernet cables, on planes?
Generally, all types of electrical wires are allowed on planes. That said, there is one requirement. Because wires clutter the images on X-ray scanners, they should be securely wrapped, in case they need to be removed from the bag for repeated screening. You can do that with re-usable velcro cable fasteners.
Electrical wires are allowed because by themselves, they don’t cause any issues with the electronic equipment in aircraft. When no electricity is flowing through them, they’re completely harmless.
Can I bring metal wires on planes (copper, soldering, etc.)?
Theoretically, metal wires are allowed on aircraft both in hand and checked luggage. However, when packed in hand luggage, sometimes the security agents might confiscate them because they theoretically could be used as weapons to strangle someone. Compared to plastic-coated electrical wires, exposed metal wires are considered more dangerous. That said, this completely depends on each individual security agent, and most of the time, you won’t have any issues with this.
How do I pack electric cords and wires for air travel?
Most airline regulators and airports don’t require you to pack electric wires and extension cords in any certain way, except for TSA. They ask you to securely wrap your wires so that they can be easily removed from your hand or checked bag in case the bag requires additional inspection. However, even TSA doesn’t enforce this rule too strictly, so unless you’re carrying a large number of wires and chargers, you should be good.
The best way to pack your wires, cords, and cables is to use an electronics organizer, where you can neatly pack all of your chargers and wires in one place without making a mess. Another option would be to tie all of your wires and chargers separately with re-usable velcro cable fasteners so that they aren’t dangling around in your luggage.
Do I need to take electrical cables out of my bag when going through security?
Theoretically, you don’t need to remove cables and wires from your hand luggage when going through security. TSA has even reassured its passengers many times that all cables and wires can stay inside their bags. However, a lot of passengers have reported that quite often, the security agents have asked them to remove their cords and cables for additional screening.
That’s because wires tend to clutter the x-ray screening machine images. If it’s just one or two wires, it’s usually okay, but with anything more than that, you’ll probably be asked to remove them when going through security. If you’re traveling with several USB cables, chargers, wired earphones, and so on, a good idea would be to pack it all in an electronics organizer, which you can easily remove during security and put it back in when you’re done.
Can I use an extension cord or a power splitter on an airplane?
We haven’t found any rules from airline regulators that would ban the use of extension cords during flights. However, one passenger complained that American Airlines staff started yelling at him for doing that. Most likely, this was only a made-up rule by the AA employee, but we can see why some might think using power splitters might be dangerous. In case of emergency, having loose wires in the airplane probably isn’t a good thing, and cheap power strips sometimes tend to overheat and become safety hazards. So if you want to use your power strip during a flight, it’s probably a good idea to ask the flight attendant for permission first.
Should I pack my extension cords in hand or checked luggage?
If you have the option, definitely pack power strips inside your checked luggage. Although the rules don’t prohibit you from bringing them in hand luggage, several airlines have different rules that ban them from hand luggage. Also, the security officers always have the final say, and we’ve heard that sometimes (although pretty rarely), they’ll confiscate wires and power strips because they could be used as a weapon during the flight.
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