Traveling with one laptop is allowed in nearly all situations. But bringing two or more is more difficult because sometimes you need to follow extra rules. And the exact rules depend on each airline and country.
TSA and FAA Rules for Bringing Multiple Laptops on Planes
TSA (Transport Security Administration) allows bringing laptops on planes in unlimited amounts – even upwards of eight laptops or more. They’re allowed in hand and checked baggage without any extra restrictions.
FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) also allows bringing multiple laptops on planes. But they recommend packing them in hand luggage if possible. When packed in checked baggage, laptops must be switched off and protected from accidental damage. Faulty laptops that won’t turn on won’t be allowed.
When going through the airport security checkpoint, you’ll need to remove all laptops from your bags and place each one in a separate bin for screening.
If you’re flying with multiple laptops regularly, it’s advised to apply to the TSA PreCheck program. TSA PreCheck passengers don’t have to remove laptops from their bags and have quicker TSA queues.
Airline Rules for Bringing Multiple Laptops
Most airlines don’t have any extra restrictions for flying with multiple laptops. This includes Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier, Spirit, United Airlines, Allegiant Air, Turkish Airlines, and Lufthansa.
But there are a few airlines that limit the number of laptops that each passenger can bring. We’ve listed them down below.
- American Airlines: 2 laptops
- Delta: 15 portable electronic devices
- Air Canada: 15 portable electronic devices
- Ryanair: 15 portable electronic devices
- British Airways: 15 portable electronic devices
- Air France/KLM: 15 portable electronic devices
Flying With Multiple Laptops Internationally
If you’ve purchased a laptop overseas and you’ll be flying home with it, you most likely will have to pay an import tax for it. At the airport, you’ll have to go through the customs area and all your baggage will be inspected there. If you’re traveling with multiple laptops that you didn’t buy overseas, you’ll have to show the receipts to prove that.
The customs duty in the US for laptops ranges between 0-35%, depending on which country you’re arriving from. And it only applies if the total sum of purchased items overseas is over 800$.
When flying internationally, we would recommend only flying with laptops that have a battery below 100 watt-hours. That’s because a lot of countries require airline approval for laptops with a battery of 100-160 watt-hours, and have banned laptops with a battery over 160 watt-hours.
To calculate the watt-hours of your laptop, find out its battery Amp Hours (mAh) and volts (V). To find this, you first need to find out the exact model of your laptop, by looking at the information written on its backside. For example, mine is Lenovo Ideapad 320-15IKB. Then search online for its battery capacity. To calculate watt hours, multiply Amp Hours by Volts and divide by 1000. For example, if the batterie’s capacity is 3600 mAh and it runs on 7.5V, it’s rated at 27 watt-hours (3600 * 7.5 / 1000 = 27).
Laptop Travel Limitations by Country
How to Pack Multiple Laptops for Travel
If possible, you should avoid packing laptops in checked baggage. When packed there, there’s a much higher chance of theft. And airlines usually aren’t responsible for broken or lost electronics when they’re checked in.
All airline regulators and most airlines also recommend against packing your laptop in checked bags. That’s because the flight crews are trained to take out electronic device fires, and it’s much harder to put out a fire in the cargo hold.
When traveling with multiple laptops, pack each one in a separate laptop sleeve, and place them in your carry-on and personal item. They’ll be much safer there and there aren’t any restrictions that don’t allow packing multiple laptops in your hand baggage.
Some Laptop Models Are Banned From Planes
All recalled laptops with battery issues are banned from planes. If you have a 15-Inch Apple MacBook, then airport security will most likely want to inspect your laptop closer. That’s because 15-Inch MacBook Pro laptops manufactured between 2015-2017 have been recalled due to faulty batteries that can overheat and cause a fire.
Other Tips for Traveling With Laptops
- You don’t need to remove chargers and wires when going through airport security. To speed up going through security, only remove devices with lithium batteries that are larger than a cell phone. This includes laptops, wireless headphones, tablets, and power banks. Chargers and wires can stay in your bag.
- Using laptops in airplane mode is allowed during the flight. Airlines allow using laptops during the middle part of the flight, between takeoff and landing. When the seatbelt signs turn off, you’re free to turn on your laptop and start working.
- Pack your main laptop in your personal item. If you plan on working during the flight, accessing your personal item is much easier than taking a laptop out of the overhead compartments from your carry-on.
- Your laptops can be searched at the airport. Remember that airport security is authorized to turn on your laptop and search its contents. So always password-protect your computer and remove any illegally downloaded films and tv shows before flying. They’re also allowed to search your hard drives, SSDs, and flash drives.
- Get a VPN. If you’ll be connecting to a hotel, airport, or other public Wi-Fi network, always connect to a VPN first. It’s a software program that encrypts your data. This reduces the chances of someone intercepting your connection and stealing sensitive data.
Flying with multiple laptops shouldn’t cause any issues if you follow a few principles. First of all, always pack them in your hand luggage instead of checked bags. Second, make sure that their batteries are below 100 watt-hours, otherwise, you’ll need written airline approval. Also, keep all the receipts for them to prove that you haven’t purchased them overseas to avoid paying customs duties. And lastly, remember that if you’re flying with American Airlines, you’re only allowed to bring 2 laptops.