Can You Put Mobile Phones in Checked Baggage? Full Guide

It can be quite an ordeal figuring out the dos and don’ts of packing electronics for air travel. Ever wondered if you can put your mobile phone in checked baggage?

According to TSA and FAA regulations, mobile phones can be put in checked baggage. Airline policies differ and some discourage placing smartphones in your luggage due to potential damage risks, especially on international flights. Secure and power off your phone if packing in any bags for safety.

Stick around to make sure you’re fully armed with the correct knowledge to make the right decision for your next flight.

Man at airport ticket counter holding smartphone wondering can you put mobile phones in checked baggage

Review of TSA and FAA Regulations

Both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) weigh in on carrying mobile phones in checked baggage. Generally speaking, the TSA allows both carry-on and checked bags to contain mobile phones.

However, the FAA has set a few more restrictions, specifically when it comes to lithium batteries that power our phones. They mandate that spare lithium batteries must be packed in carry-on luggage. But what about the phone itself? If you’re thinking of tucking your phone in your checked luggage, the FAA allows that with a catch: the device must be protected from damage and turned off, not on standby or sleep mode. This is to prevent accidental activation or short-circuiting.

It might seem a little complicated, but worry not because rules are in place for the safety of all passengers. Let’s delve further into airline specific policies in our next segment.

Examination of Airline Policies

As a frequent traveler, it’s crucial to understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to putting mobile phones in checked baggage. Indeed, policies can differ from one airline to another.

While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows phones in both carry-on and checked bags, some airlines might discourage the latter due to potential damage risks. Let’s face it, the journey our checked baggage undertakes can sometimes be quite bumpy!

In such scenarios, your phone can get damaged. Therefore, it’s always advisable to check your airline’s specific policy on the subject. You would rather not take any chances when it comes to safeguarding your phone, which, for most of us, is an essential connection to the world around us.

Remember, rules can change, and practices that worked before might not be valid forever. It’s a good habit to double-check before you leave for your trip, that way you’ll be prepared, and there will be no unpleasant surprises.

Risks and Considerations with Mobile Phones in Checked Baggage

Many travelers wonder if they can put mobile phones in their checked baggage. While TSA does allow this, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential risks and considerations involved.

Potential Damage

One of the significant risks is potential damage. Baggage can be subject to rough handling during transportation, and this could lead to your phone getting damaged. Some airlines discourage packing phones in checked bags for this reason. It’s also important to note that airlines don’t usually take responsibility for electronic devices damaged in transit.

Lithium Battery Regulations

The FAA places restrictions on packing devices with lithium batteries in checked luggage due to safety considerations. Mobile phones, like many other electronic items, contain lithium batteries, which can pose a fire risk if they’re damaged. Therefore, the FAA allows only certain in-flight devices with lithium batteries to be packed in checked luggage. Ensure you’re aware of these regulations to avoid complications at the airport.

Advice: Keep Phones in Carry-On

Given the risks mentioned above, it’s generally wiser to pack your phone in your carry-on bag to keep it safer and more secure. Handy access to your phone also benefits travelers for reasons such as in-flight entertainment and locating luggage or transportation at your destination. Remember, it’s not just about following the rules; it’s also about ensuring your phone’s safety during travel.

Guidelines for International Flights and Packing Precautions

International flights can sometimes have different policies when it comes to packing mobile phones in checked baggage. Therefore, it is always a good idea to confirm with your airline before your trip.

Varied Policies on International Flights

Policies for carrying electronic devices, particularly those with lithium batteries, may differ considerably between domestic and international flights. Some countries and airlines have more stringent rules, especially with the recent concern over lithium battery safety. So, before you pack your mobile phone in your checked luggage for an international flight, make sure you confirm the policy with your airline.

Secure Packing of Mobile Phones

If you choose to pack your phone in your checked luggage, be sure to secure it properly to prevent any damage. A hard-shell case is advisable, and you might want to consider wrapping it further with clothing or placing it in the middle of your suitcase for added protection.

Charging and Powering Off Phones

Also, it’s not just how you pack your phone that matters, but also what state you leave it in. As much as possible, fully try to charge your phone and then power it off. This will not only save battery life but may also be a requirement by some airlines as powered-off devices pose less of a safety risk.


As we wrap up our comprehensive review on the question “can you put mobile phones in checked baggage?” let’s summarize the key points we’ve learned:

  • TSA and FAA regulations allow mobile phones in both carry-on and checked bags, but there are strict rules about lithium batteries in checked luggage.
  • The policies on carrying mobile phones in checked bags can vary among airlines, with some discouraging it due to potential damage risks.
  • There are considerable risks and considerations related to packing mobile phones in checked baggage, chief among them being the regulations surrounding lithium batteries and the potential for damage if not packed correctly.
  • For international flights, the policies can differ, so it’s advisable to confirm with the airline before you travel.
  • When packing mobile phones in luggage, it is important to take precautions such as securing the phone properly and considering charging or powering it off to prevent any mishap.
  • While other consumer electronics are allowed in both carry-on and checked baggage, the best practice is to keep them in carry-on bags for safety reasons.

In conclusion, while it’s possible to store mobile phones in checked baggage, careful consideration must be given to the regulations, airline policies, and risks involved. Always ensure your mobile devices are packed securely and safely, regardless of where they are stored during your flight.

Other Questions You Might Have

Can you pack mobile phones in checked luggage?

Yes, from a legal standpoint, you can pack mobile phones in checked luggage. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have strict guidelines, particularly regarding the carrying of lithium batteries that power these devices.

Do airlines have different policies regarding mobile phones in checked bags?

Yes, airlines often have differing policies. While some may discourage packing phones in checked bags due to potential damage risks, others may outright prohibit it. Therefore, it’s recommended you check the details with your airline before travelling.

Are there specific risks associated with packing mobile phones in checked baggage?

Packing mobile phones in checked baggage may lead to potential risks such as damage due to poor handling or loss. Additionally, lithium batteries, which power these devices, have caused safety concerns due to overheating or short circuit issues. As such, regulations are in place regarding carrying lithium batteries in checked luggage.

Can you put mobile phones in checked baggage for international flights?

For International flights, the policies can be different or even stricter, depending on the regulations of the destination country. So, always confirm the rules with your airline before packing.

How should I pack my mobile phone if I have to place it in checked luggage?

If you decide to place your mobile phone in your checked luggage, ensure it’s securely packed to prevent any potential damage. It’s also advised to power it off and, if possible, separate the lithium battery from the device for safety.

Mike Chu

Mike is a web developer and content writer living as a digital nomad. With more than 20 years of devops experience, he brings his "programmer with people skills" approach to help explain technology to the average user. Check out his full author bio by clicking here.

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