Bringing Game Consoles on Planes (Playstation, Xbox, & Nintendo TSA Rules) [2023]

A lot of casual and serious gamers wonder whether or not they can bring their game consoles through TSA security checkpoints and on to the plane. We could be talking PS3, PS4, PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch — the list goes on and on.

Luckily, if you want to bring your gaming system on a plane I have some good news for you in this article. Keep reading below to find out everything you need to know about bringing game consoles through airport security and onto a plane.

Can you bring a PS4, PS5, Xbox, or other gaming console on a plane?

Yes, you can bring your game console on a plane but there are some key considerations that you want to think about before doing so.

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xbox controllers

TSA rules for gaming systems

TSA makes it clear that you are allowed to bring your gaming system through TSA security and onto a plane. You can bring your game console as a carry-on item which means that you keep it with you as you head through the TSA security checkpoint or you can bring it in your checked baggage which is what you drop off near the check-in desk.

Bringing a game console as a carry-on

The best way to travel with your PlayStation, Xbox, and other game consoles on a plane is to bring them as a carry-on.

If you bring your game console to a plane as a carry-on, TSA will essentially treat your console as a laptop.

This means that in many (but not all) cases you will be asked to remove your PlayStation or Xbox from your carry-on bag and place it in a bin so that it could be scanned by the x-ray machine individually. This also means that you will need to separate any of your wires, controllers, and game discs from your console.

Tip: Because your game console will be pretty big, it will probably be easiest to put your console in a bin by itself and then put your other items like cables and controllers in a separate bin.

A few things to consider here.

First, if you have TSA Pre-Check you may be able to just keep your console in your backpack and not have to hassle with taking it out with all of the wires.

With Pre-Check you often only have to pass through a traditional metal detector (as opposed to the invasive full-body scanners) and you also get to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids (3-1-1 Rule) can stay in bag

It’s possible a TSA agent may want to take a closer look at your system and possibly swab it for traces of explosives. This will definitely be the case if you get hit with SSSS.

Tips for bringing your console as a carry-on

If you decide to bring your console as a carry-on I would suggest fitting it in a backpack or bag that has a sleeve or compartment where the console can fit snugly.

You want the fit to be snug enough so that the console does not bounce around in your bag but not too tight to where it is an issue taking it out for the security checkpoint.

Some people get dedicated bags like this PS4 bag to transport their console in. Also, here is an example of a PS5 backpack carrier.

That is a great way to find a nice fit but advertising that you are walking around with an expensive gaming system may not always be a great idea. So something more discrete like this PS5 bag would probably be better.

Also, make sure that you separate all of your gaming items before heading through security so that you can easily get through security without holding up the line. Avoid wrapping your wires around your console or any other storage techniques that would slow things down.

You also want to keep a close eye on your console. You will probably have to head through a full body scanner while your console makes its way through an x-ray machine.

While rare, it is possible for items to get lost or stolen at security checkpoints during this process so try to keep as close of an eye as you can on your valuable electronics.

Some airlines have size or weight restrictions when it comes to your carry-on. For example on JetBlue, each passenger can bring one carry-on that must not exceed:

  • 22″ Length (55.88 cm)
  • 14″ Width (35.56 cm)
  • 9″ Height (22.86 cm)

According to Verge, the PS5 is approximately 390mm (15.4 inches) tall, 260mm (10.24 inches) deep and 104mm (4.09 inches) wide. So your PS5, Xbox, or other common gaming system will be able to fit in these carry-on limits but if you have a lot of additional items or a very bulky bag, it’s possible that you could exceed the limit.

A lot of airlines are not super strict about the carry-on size and weight as long as it is small enough to fit in the overhead storage bin or under your seat.

But every now and again you may run into an agent who will measure your carry-on bag to make sure that it complies with the limitations. If it is too big, the agent will force you to check your bag which means that you will have to run the risk of your console getting damaged.

This is one reason you might at first consider placing your controllers in your checked baggage. The problem with this is that many controllers have lithium batteries which are prohibited in checked baggage. This is also the case with certain Nintendo products as well.

Therefore, I would avoid transporting video game controllers and small game consoles in your checked baggage.

So a better plan of action might be to carry them in your personal item, such as a backpack. Unless you have purchased a basic economy ticket or you are flying with a low budget carrier, you will be able to bring on a carry-on bag plus a personal item. The carry-on bag is typically a luggage bag or some sort of duffel bag while the personal item can be a backpack (usually on the smaller side but not always).

Your console could technically count as a personal item by itself (not inside a bag or case). You will need to make sure that it will fit under your seat, though. I would try to avoid walking around with the console without a bag or case because you could damage it and also call a lot of attention to yourself.

Remember that some airlines like Spirit and Frontier do not allow you to bring a carry-on item for free. So if you want to bring your console on a flight with them expect to pay up extra cash to make that happen.

International travel

If you are traveling at an international airport it is possible that the security agents may want to apply more scrutiny to your luggage if they discover that you have a large electronic item.

This is similar to traveling with a drone — your bulky console is just something that catches the attention of security more often.

They may want to swab your device for traces of explosives and closely inspect other items in your bag but if you have nothing to hide this should be a pretty painless process.

Carry-on or checked baggage

You can also take your gaming console on a plane by leaving it in your checked baggage.

This is NOT recommended for a couple of reasons.

Baggage handlers are not the most graceful when it comes to handling your checked baggage. So if you do decide to transport it in your checked baggage, do your best to wrap it with a lot of bubblewrap, foam or something similar to prevent damage.

The other reason is theft. While it is rare, some items do go missing from time to time after being dropped off with an airline.

A lot of these items tend to be expensive electronics such as cameras, tablets, etc. A gaming system could definitely fall into this category although some of them are quite large and would be more difficult for an agent to steal.

If you keep the gaming system with you the entire time as a carry-on you never have to run the risk of someone stealing it while you are away from it which gives a lot of passengers peace of mind.

Using your console on a plane

Some gamers may want to take things to the next level and power up their gaming console while on the plane. This is not a very good idea because of the power outlets capacity.

Most power systems on airplanes are limited to 75 watts of power per seat. If you wanted to play one of your PS5 games while on a plane you would need more than 140 watts of power. So trying to get your gaming fix while on the plane is not very feasible with large consoles.

However, if you have something like a Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite you should be able to play that on the plane no problem.

And in case you weren’t aware, airlines like United won’t allow you to plug in your own TV — you’ll have to settle for the seatback entertainment.

nintendo switch


Can I bring my PlayStation or Xbox controllers on a plane?

Yes, you are allowed to bring your controllers as a carry-on item.

Can I plug in my console on the plane?

The amount of power needed by a gaming console for active playing exceeds the limits usually available by the power outlets. So while you may be able to plug in your console it is not a good idea in a lot of cases. Some airlines also may prohibit you from plugging in a large electronic device such as a video game console.

What game consoles are allowed on planes?

Some of the common game consoles that are allowed on planes include:

Xbox One
Xbox 360
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5 
Super Nintendo
Nintendo Wii

Can my game system have a game inside it when going through airport security?

If your console has a game inside it, you can still get it through security but I would recommend removing the game and transporting it in a separate case if possible. This will also help prevent your disc from getting scratched.

Can you play Nintendo Switch on a plane?

Yes, you can play a Nintendo Switch on a plane.

Can you bring CDs on a plane?

Yes, you can bring CDs, including CD games, on a plane.

Final word

TSA is very clear that you are allowed to bring gaming consoles through airport security or in your checked baggage. My advice would to always bring it as a carry-on and to pack it in such a way that it can be easily removed from your bag without being a tangled mess of wires and controllers.

Bringing Batteries on a Plane: TSA’s Rules for Staying Charged Up [2022]

For some people, bringing batteries on a plane always feels like a guessing game.

Are they allowed in your carry-on or checked bag?

What types are okay and what types are just asking for trouble?

In this article, we will remove all of the confusion by clarifying the TSA and FAA rules for bringing your batteries whether it is in a carry-on or in your checked bag.

Can you bring batteries on a plane?

Yes, you can bring most batteries for personal use in your carry-on and through a TSA security checkpoint.

Most batteries allowed in your carry-on can also be brought in your checked baggage although you are not allowed to bring spare lithium batteries in your checked baggage.

Electronics containing lithium batteries like laptops are allowed in checked baggage but the FAA recommends putting them in your carry-on.

Approval by the airlines may also be needed for larger lithium batteries.

Below, I break down all of the different types of batteries and electronics you may think about bringing to give you even more clarity so be sure to keep reading!

3 key things to know about bringing batteries on a plane

Carry on vs checked baggage

When bringing batteries on a plane the first thing you want to think about is whether or not you are bringing your items in your carry-on or checked baggage.

There are not many restrictions when bringing batteries in your carry-on.

Aside from bringing large lithium batteries and protecting spare batteries from short circuits, you don’t really have much to worry about.

However, there are certain battery types that are completely banned from going in your checked baggage.

Also, the FAA generally discourages people from bringing electronics containing lithium batteries in checked baggage.

Not only can it be a little bit risky sometimes but you also risk theft and damage to your device so I would advise you to follow the FAA guidelines as much as possible.

Batteries inside electronics vs spares

The second major consideration is: are your batteries located inside of electronics or are they spares?

Spares are just batteries by themselves.

For example, you may have an extra camera battery that you keep in a pouch in your camera bag.

Anytime you are bringing spare batteries you need to be careful about damage and short circuiting.

Damage is usually straightforward. If you have a battery that is busted up that won’t be allowed.

But you also are not allowed to bring batteries that have been recalled or they have a tendency to create sparks or generate a dangerous evolution of heat. These are not allowed in your carry-on or checked bag.

Short-circuiting is basically whenever the ends of a battery come into contact with another battery or something metal like coins, keys, etc.

This could create sparks and heat which could be very dangerous for batteries stowed away in the baggage hold and in the aircraft cabin.

To prevent a disaster, the FAA recommends that you prevent short-circuiting by:

  • Leaving the batteries in their retail packaging
  • Covering battery terminals with tape
  • Using a battery case
  • Using a battery sleeve in a camera bag
  • Putting them snugly in a plastic bag or protective pouch

Quantity limits

Aside from large lithium batteries and nonspillable wet batteries, there are no quantity limits for bringing batteries as long as they are for personal use.

So if you are bringing batteries for further sale or distribution (e.g., vendor samples), those are prohibited.

Lithium battery covers
Battery covers can prevent short-circuiting.

Different types of batteries

Dry alkaline batteries

Dry alkaline batteries are some of the most common batteries used in electronics.

These are often your typical AA, AAA, C, D, button cell, 9-volt, etc., used in every day items like flashlights, headlamps, portable fans, etc.

Common brands include Duracell and Energizer.

Alkaline is very common but you also may have rechargeable dry batteries with nickel metal hydride, nickel cadmium, etc.

You can bring these dry batteries in your carry-on or checked bags whether they are inside of electronics or brought as spares.

If you’re bringing them as spares they need to be protected from damage and short circuit.

Lithium batteries

Most of the worry and confusion when traveling with batteries is related to lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries can come in two main different forms:

  • Lithium ion
  • Lithium metal

Lithium ion batteries are commonly found in popular electronics like: cell phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, etc.

You are allowed to bring these in your carry-on in unlimited quantities (for personal use) whether they are spare batteries or inside of electronics.

However, they must be limited to a rating of 100 watt hours (Wh) per battery.

How do you know what the lithium rating is?

Well, newer lithium ion batteries should have their Wh marked on them.

If you don’t see it, you can still work it out by finding out the bolts and amp hour numbers using this formula: Watt hours (Wh) = Volts (V) x Amp hour (Ah).

Keep in mind some airlines will require proof of the Wh, especially for larger items.

Here are some common watt hours used in batteries for various electronics:

DSLR CameraCanon 6D11
TabletiPad Pro 12,9 ″ WiFi + Cellular (5th Gen, 2021)40.33
LaptopMacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)99.6
Cell phoneiPhone 14 Pro12.38

Contrary to what many believe, you can bring lithium ion batteries in your checked baggage as long as they are inside of the electronic device.

So for example, you could bring your lithium-ion powered laptop in your checked baggage. (See the section below on personal electronic devices for more detail.)

You will still need to get special permission if you go above the size requirements which I’ll talk about below.

And you also need to keep in mind that certain lithium powered devices like vapes are never allowed in checked baggage.

But the biggest thing to note is that spare lithium (ion or metal) batteries are never allowed in checked baggage.

These include power banks, external battery chargers (portable rechargers), and cell phone battery charging cases

Tablets are known for having lithium batteries.

Larger lithium batteries

If you want to bring larger lithium ion batteries you have to abide by special size requirements and also get permission from the airline.

With airline approval, you can carry up to two spare larger lithium ion batteries (101–160 Wh) or Lithium metal batteries (2-8 grams).

According to the FAA, “This size covers the larger after-market extended-life laptop computer batteries and some larger batteries used in professional audio/visual equipment.”

Larger lithium laptop battery

Lithium metal devices

Lithium metal (non-rechargeable) batteries are limited to 2 grams of lithium per battery.

These include all the typical non-rechargeable lithium batteries used in cameras (AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, etc.) as well as the flat round lithium button cells.

They can be brought as a carry-on although spares are not allowed in checked baggage.

With airline approval, passengers may also carry up to two spare larger Lithium metal batteries (2-8 grams). 

Nonspillable wet batteries

Nonspillable batteries with absorbed electrolyte (gel cell, absorbed glass mat, etc.) used in portable electronic devices must not exceed 12 volts and the battery watt hour rating must not exceed 100 watt hours.

These can be brought in your carry-on or checked baggage.

Just keep in mind:

  • No more than two spare (not installed in device/equipment) batteries may be carried.
  • Spare/uninstalled batteries must be in strong packaging.
  • Battery and outer packaging must be marked “nonspillable” or “nonspillable battery.”
  • Battery-powered equipment must be protected against accidental activation.

There are separate exceptions for powered wheelchairs.

Nonspillable wet battery
Photo via

Commonly brought items with batteries

Personal electronic devices

Pretty much every traveler is walking around with multiple personal electronic devices nowadays.

These include things like: cell phones, cell phone battery charging cases, laptops, cameras, tablets, watches, etc.

If you’re electronic device has lithium metal or lithium ion batteries (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) it is allowed in checked baggage but should be carried in carry-on baggage when possible.

When portable electronic devices powered by lithium batteries are in checked baggage, they must:

  • Be completely powered off
  • Protected to prevent unintentional activation or damage

If the device can generate extreme heat, the heating elements should be isolated by removing the heating element, battery, or other components.

The FAA allows you to bring in as many personal electronic devices as you want for personal use but just keep in mind the quantity restrictions on larger lithium batteries and spare nonspillable wet batteries.

Smart luggage with batteries

Some luggage comes with battery-powered features.

Baggage equipped with lithium batteries must be carried as carry-on baggage unless the batteries are removed from the baggage.

The exception to this is if the smart luggage contains lithium metal batteries with a lithium content not exceeding 0.3 grams or lithium ion batteries with a watt-hour rating not exceeding 2.7 Wh.

In those cases, it can go in checked baggage.

Battery-powered E-cigarettes (e-cigs), vaporizers, vape pens

TSA allows passengers to bring electronic cigarettes and similar devices (vaporizers, vape pens, mods, atomizers, and electronic nicotine delivery systems) through airport security as a carry-on.

However, these devices are prohibited in checked baggage.

Read more about bringing vapes through TSA here.

Lithium Battery Powered Lighters

Tesla coil lighters, flux lighters, arc lighters, double arc lighters are allowed in your carry-on but not in checked baggage.

We have a full breakdown bringing lighters through airport security and you should check that out if interested.

Recreational vehicles powered by lithium ion batteries

Recreational vehicles are those battery powered hoverboards and other similar small electronics that people love to wipe out on. See YouTube.

You can bring these in your checked or carry-on bag but the airline must approve of them. Many airlines do not allow these so it’s not a guarantee.

Remember, a device with a lithium ion battery that exceeds 160 watt hours (Wh) is prohibited as carry-on or checked baggage.

Medical devices

If you have a medical device like a pacemaker with a lithium ion battery, whether implanted, externally fitted, or carried on your person, the same limits for personal electronic devices apply.

So basically there are no quantity limits unless you are carrying larger lithium batteries and spare nonspillable wet batteries.

Checking your bag at the gate or plane side

Sometimes you may have to check your bag at the gate just before departure. This usually happens whenever you are flying basic economy or have a boarding position towards the end of boarding.

If this happens, you need to make sure that the bag you are checking complies with all of the rules above.

If you get stuck in this situation my device would be to just tell the flight attendant or crew member that your bag has lots of lithium-ion items in it and you would prefer to not carry them with you in the cabin.

This may be enough for them to choose someone else over you to check their bags.

Final word

Hopefully, after reading this article you can see that bringing batteries through airport security and in your checked bag is doable.

As long as you pay attention to the size and quantity limitations and take care to prevent short-circuiting, you can bring a lot of batteries with you on your travels.

Sources: FAA chart, Packsafe