Muscat: After prohibiting the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on flights, a large number of airlines, including the national carrier Oman Air, are no longer allowing fliers to carry power banks in checked-in baggage.
“Carrying power banks in check-in baggage is not allowed in Oman Air. However, each passenger is allowed to carry two power banks in the carry-on bags (hand baggage),” a spokesperson of Oman Air said.
Mannu Anand, general manager of Jet Airways in Oman, also confirmed that passengers cannot carry power banks in checked-in baggage but can carry them in cabin bags.
He said that this was done after the airline received guidelines from its flight operations team. “We have enforced this new guideline from early November 2016, and the airport has been instructing all the travellers on this issue,” Anand said.
A notice from Indigo, a low-cost carrier from India, said, “Leave your power bank in your hand baggage and your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at home.”
Officials said that airlines took the decision after the International Air Transport Association labelled power banks as a “dangerous item” in its flight regulations. “Battery packs are hazardous objects. A lithium battery can catch fire if the temperature exceeds the limit. For the safety and protection of passengers, we have decided to enforce this,” a senior airline official said.
Officials said that the United States had notified a long time back that spare lithium batteries were dangerous items on flights after reports that they could overheat, catch fire, and explode.
However, power banks are batteries, officials said, so they do not pose much risk in cabin baggage as they can be monitored.
A passenger, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Indian airport authorities took away his power bank from his check-in baggage while he was boarding a flight to Muscat. “It was in my checked-in baggage. I had to remove my power bank from my bag and put it through the X-ray separately at the security check and then put it in my hand luggage,” the passenger said.