There always seems to be some confusion over which electronic devices you can take on a plane and when you can use them. The changing rules over technology mean that you’re never quite sure what can go in your hand luggage and what needs to be checked into the hold. Read our guide to electronics on a plane to get the facts about taking tech on your flight, such as whether you can take iPads on planes.
Can I take my iPad on a plane?
In short, yes. Since the lifting of the electronics ban last year, most flights to the UK will allow you to have your phone, laptop, tablet, e-reader or MP3 player in your hand luggage.
However, there are certain security procedures in place and airport staff may ask you to turn on any of your electronic items, including iPads, to show that they function. If they won’t turn on, you won’t be able to take them on the plane, so make sure all devices are fully charged before you arrive at the airport. If a device like your iPod has run out of power or is broken, make sure it’s packed in your hold luggage.
If you have connecting flights, make sure you leave enough charge in your devices for them to be allowed on to your next flight.
If you’re flying to the UK from either Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia, there remain special restrictions on what electronic items you can take in your hand luggage. If your phone, laptop, tablet or e-reader is larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm width or 1.5cm depth, it will have to go in your hold luggage and be switched off.
Most phones, such as the iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge, are smaller than this, so can be kept with you on the flight. Accessories such as keyboards, power supplies and hard drives larger than these measurements must also be packed in your hold luggage.
The rules for batteries in luggage are a little more complex. As long as it’s a standard Lithium ion/metal battery, is kept in the device and is no more powerful than 100Wh, then you’re fine. That covers the vast majority of phones, laptops, tablets and digital cameras. You’re also allowed to take up to four spare batteries, but these need to be carried in your hand luggage.
Some video or medical equipment requires more powerful batteries, which go up to 100-160Wh. In this case, you should contact your airline to get specific approval.
When can I use my iPad on the plane?
As long as your iPad, phone, other tablet or e-reader is switched onto ‘flight mode’, you can use them at any point during your flight, including take-off and landing. If your device can transmit or receive data but doesn’t have a flight mode, you’ll have to turn it off completely before your flight departs and you won’t be able to use it during the entire flight.
What about using a laptop?
You can use a laptop on a flight, but it must be stowed away safely when the plane is taxiing, taking off, when the plane begins its descent and on landing. Bluetooth-enabled devices such as wireless keyboards or headphones can be used on a plane but must also be turned off during taxi, take-off and landing.
Follow airline instructions
The rules about which devices you can use when change by airline and with government regulation. Always listen to the instructions given to you by your airline's crew before take-off.