Rules for Flights in the USA
United States authorities don’t mention electric balloon air pumps specifically as allowed or banned from carry-on and checked baggage. However, similar items like bicycle air pumps are allowed in hand and cargo baggage, so we can assume electric balloon air pumps are allowed too. However, when traveling in a carry-on, an electric balloon air pump is subject to the airline’s restrictions on size and weight for hand luggage.
Also, rechargeable electric balloon air pumps will be subject to TSA’s battery rules. For air pumps that have non-spillable wet batteries, the battery voltage shouldn’t exceed 12 volts or 100 watt-hours. Only two non-spillable batteries are allowed per passenger. In case your air pump has a lithium-ion battery it should be under 100 watt-hours (Wh).
Rules for Flights in Other Countries
Canada, Europe, China, and India
Electric balloon air pumps aren’t specifically mentioned by Canadian, European, Chinese, or Indian authorities as permitted or banned items from flights in their countries. But generally, the rules are similar to the United States, and electric balloon air pumps are allowed in cabin and cargo luggage. When traveling in hand baggage, they should be compliant with the airline’s size and weight regulations for carry-on. If the pumps are rechargeable and have lithium batteries, they shouldn’t exceed 100 watt-hours. Pumps with non-spillable batteries should be under 12v and 100 watts in Europe, and Canada. However, non-spillable batteries are restricted on Chinese and Indian flights.
The UK and Australia
The United Kingdom and Australia don’t list electric balloon air pumps as permitted or banned from hand and hold baggage, but they allow bicycle air pumps aboard aircraft, so we can assume balloon air pumps are allowed too. For electric rechargeable balloon pumps with batteries, the rules are similar to the United States.
New Zealand doesn’t specify if electric balloon air pumps are allowed or restricted from cabin and cargo baggage, but generally, they are permitted aboard. Rechargeable air pumps must follow similar battery rules as in the United States. However, there have been cases of air pumps being confiscated at security due to their battery, so it’s best to consult with your airline before taking an electric rechargeable air pump with you.
Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.
Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring electric pumps onboard airplanes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Electric Pumps on Planes
Can I bring any electric air pump on a plane (for balloons, air mattresses, etc.)?
For the most part, you can bring any electric air pump in carry-on and checked baggage when traveling in the United States. Certain electric pumps like a bicycle pump, a mattress air pump, or an electric balloon air pump can be taken into the cabin as long they fit inside carry-on luggage.
Rechargeable electric air pumps are subject to battery restrictions. Air pumps with lithium batteries shouldn’t go over 100 watt-hours. Particularly, rechargeable electric mattress air pumps could have non-spillable batteries, which are more restricted than lithium batteries. To be accepted aboard a plane in the United States, non-spillable batteries should be under 12 volts and produce less than 100 watt-hours. This type of battery is limited to two per passenger.
Also, air pumps that work with some kind of compressed air/gas cylinder will not be allowed on board.
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Can I bring handheld air pumps on planes (for balls, bikes, etc.)?
In general, you can bring handheld air pumps in carry-on and checked baggage aboard United States aircraft. TSA mentions that bike pumps are allowed in cabin and cargo baggage. Yet, passengers should keep in mind that handheld air pumps (particularly aluminum air pumps) might be considered a bludgeoning weapon similar to a bat and other sporting equipment. Air pumps also come with sharp needles that could be considered a threat. Although air pumps are generally allowed on planes, the security agent at the airport has the final call. So, it’s best to pack handheld pumps for bikes, balls, and balloons in checked baggage, unless it’s a small plastic pump.
Am I allowed to bring battery-powered air pumps on planes?
Generally, travelers are allowed to bring battery-powered air pumps inside carry-on and cargo baggage on planes in the United States. However, all battery-powered air pumps must follow the TSA’s rules for transporting batteries. For pumps with lithium batteries under 100 watts, they can travel in carry-on and checked baggage. If the lithium battery is over 100 watts, it must not be over 160 watts and it can travel only in carry-on luggage. For pumps with non-spillable batteries (usually some pumps for air mattresses), they must be under 12 volts and 100 watts-hour, and the limit is two per passenger. They can go in hand and cargo baggage as long as they can’t be activated accidentally.
Weight and size could also be a problem with electric air pumps but this small portable air pump is ideal for traveling, and it works great for air mattresses and inflatables.
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Should I pack electric air pumps in hand or checked luggage?
Theoretically, it’s best to pack electric air pumps in hand baggage when traveling in the United States. TSA recommends all electronic devices should travel in hand baggage to prevent any incidents with the batteries.
Most air pumps like balloon air pumps, bicycle air pumps, and mattresses air pumps are allowed in carry-on baggage as long as they follow the airline’s weight and size restrictions for carry-on baggage. If an air pump with a lithium battery is over 100 watts and under 160 watts it’s permitted only in hand baggage. Air pumps with non-spillable batteries over 12V and 100 watts will not be allowed onboard.
Do I need to take out electric air pumps when going through security?
Yes, you need to take electric air pumps out of your bag when going through airport security in the United States. TSA doesn’t mention electric air pumps specifically, but the general rule states that any electronic device larger than a cellphone should be taken out of the bag at airport security. Most electric balloon air pumps are larger than a cellphone, and therefore you should place them in a bin when going through the security checkpoint at the airport.
Can I bring a helium tank for inflating balloons on a plane?
You can’t take a helium tank on an airplane in the United States. Although helium is a non-flammable gas, all compressed gases are banned from hand and hold baggage on flights in the United States, regardless of the size of the tank. The only exception is for oxygen used for medical reasons. Completely empty gas tanks are allowed onboard as long as it’s evident to the security agent that the cylinder is empty.
Can I bring an air compressor on a plane?
Generally, air compressors are allowed on a plane in the United States with certain restrictions. Air compressors are similar to gas tanks, and when they are full, they are a security risk for an aircraft. Therefore, air compressors are allowed on board only if the air tank is completely empty and if the tank/valve is open for inspection.
Gasoline-powered air compressors should be completely clean and have no traces of gasoline to be allowed onboard. Yet, you should contact your airline before traveling, as some of them don’t allow gasoline-powered compressors regardless of if the equipment is clean/new. For their usual size, air compressors can only travel as checked baggage.
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Can I also take an air pump needle on planes?
Mostly, you are allowed to take air pump needles on a plane in the United States. TSA doesn’t specifically mention air pump needles on its website, but similar sharp items like knitting and sewing needles are allowed in carry-on and checked baggage. Yet, the final decision rests on the security agent at the airport. It’s best to pack air pump needles in checked baggage to prevent them from getting confiscated by airport security.
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