Can you take smartphones in luggage?

Tech is omnipresent. The days of getting on a flight to have several hours of digital detox are over. For business travellers it is almost expected by many companies that you should continue to work onboard.

Airlines embracing passengers bringing their technology on flights started over a decade ago. Several carriers were encouraging iPads to be used for in-flight entertainment as early as 2010.

With this increase in personal gadgets, and smart luggage facilitating charging, bringing a tablet or smartphone among a host of other tech on a plane is the new normal. It does mean that more questions get asked involving what you can and can’t bring on a plane.

If you are worried about packing your phone in your suitcase or if you can bring a tablet onboard — we’ve got you covered.

taking smart phones in hold luggage picture of iphone

Can I put my smartphone in my luggage?

Yes. Smartphones of all sizes and shapes can be taken onboard aeroplanes in hand luggage.

There was a brief instance in 2016 where Samsung Galaxy 7s were banned, both in carry on and checked luggage. Equally, there have been individual restrictions to some electronic devices between certain airfields over security concerns, in 2017 virtually all electronics were banned between the USA and 10 destinations globally.

However, both are unusual occurrences, and you will be explicitly notified by your airline beforehand. As a general rule, you can take all smartphones onboard all flights.

The best practise and FAA guidance states that where possible you should keep your smartphone in your hand luggage not your checked luggage.

Can you put a smart phone in your hold luggage?

Yes. You can pack smartphones in checked luggage — but there are a couple of caveats.

smart phone on airplane mode in hand luggage

There are two main things to watch out for here.

1). if you do put smartphones and gadgets in checked luggage they should first be completely turned off.

2). In addition, any spare batteries — e.g. your smartphone charging case or your smart luggage battery pack — need to be removed first, and carried in your hand luggage.

They must be completely powered off and protected to prevent unintentional activation or damage.

FAA — PackSafe guidelines

These are universal rules. That means even if you were planning to only take hand luggage and at the last minute there isn’t room and the bag is taken off you in the aircraft and placed into the hold — you still need to turn off your gadgets and take out any spare batteries before the bag is taken.

Summary — 3 tips for taking smartphones in your luggage

01. Keep your smart phone charged

This is where smart luggage comes in especially handy! Due to some concerns over security, occasionally you will be asked at security to turn on your smartphone or tablet to prove it is a correctly functioning device.

02. If possible, keep electronic devices in your hand luggage rather than your checked luggage.

taking gadgets in hand luggage — a laptop onboard airplane

This is to minimise their risk of damage and extreme temperatures. It is the best practise and is advocated for by most aviation authorities.

03. Smartphones and gadgets need to be switched completely off

If you are stowing your smartphone — larger gadgets like laptops — in your checked luggage, they need to be completely switched off.

And often forgotten rule, while aeroplane mode is fine for items in hand luggage, for checked luggage best practise rules state that all gadgets should be completely de-powered.