As gamers, we all agree that our gaming console is a part of our daily life. So, we’re always tempted to bring our devices with us when travelling, so we can have fun gaming on the go.
And if you’re planning to bring your consoles on the planes, there are a few rules and regulations you need before packing and boarding your favourite devices.
So, can you bring gaming consoles on planes? Feel free to check out our comprehensive guide on the matter. Learn what you can and cannot do when travelling with your beloved gaming consoles.
Can You Bring Gaming Consoles on Planes?
Gaming consoles are allowed in carry-on bags. Please remove all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone and place them in a bin for X-ray screening. For more info, please watch: https://t.co/gAPSwrr6nW— AskTSA (@AskTSA) June 14, 2023
Here’s the official answer from the TSA themselves.
Yes, you can. According to the TSA, you are allowed to bring your full-sized gaming consoles and handhelds on the plane as parts of your belongings. The same can be said for handheld ones, as they will be treated similarly to phones or tablets.
Per the TSA regulations
In some serious cases, the security will even demand you to open your consoles, if they see something suspicious. So, make sure to always be prepared and cooperative. Understand what might be the cause and be confident in your innocence. Plus, remember to back up your hard drive.
According to TSA's updated screening procedures in July 2017, all electronics larger than a smartphone must go in the bin. So, if you have gaming consoles or large power banks, they too, must go through the screening. Wait until your stuff goes into the X-ray machine before getting scanned yourself.
TSA-PreCheck members won’t have to remove items such laptops from their bags.. But in some cases, they will still ask you to take out your stuff for random security checks.
Most of the time, you can bring your consoles to the plane as carry-on baggage. Portable handhelds are like phones. You just need to keep them off during take-offs and landings. And most full-size consoles can fit on the overhead bin or under the front seat.
The TSA recommends travellers pack their items inside a hard case like any other expensive goods. And make sure to add extra padding to minimise any damage from bumps and impacts. This is also highly recommended by us, especially if you choose to have your consoles as checked baggage.
Per Airline Policies
Ask the airline customer support if you have any questions - photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels
You can indeed travel by plane while carrying your gaming consoles. However, different airlines will have their own rules and regulations. Not to mention that international airlines will have their own different policies.
So, don’t forget to contact the airlines and ask them yourself if you want to ensure a comfortable flight. Ask them specifically about the type of gaming consoles that you can bring on board. Check on their certain requirements, then respond accordingly.
Always confirm with the airlines to avoid any issues at the airport that might affect your trip. Check on this baggage fee chart if you still have questions regarding your consoles.
The standard carry-on size is 22 x 14 x 9 in (height x width x Depth). For reference, the PS5 is 16 x 4 x 9 in, and the Xbox Series X is 12 x 6 x 6 in. You can see that there are plenty of room for your beloved machines in the carry-on.
That said, you have to factor in the controllers, power adapters, cases, headphones, accessories, and cables. If your whole baggage is too big, you’ll have to check it in against your will.
Go For Carry-On Every Time
Keep your console as carry-on luggage - photo by Bambi Corro on Unsplash
We always recommend travellers keep their gaming consoles and handhelds as carry-on baggage. This is because airport baggage handlers are famous for being unforgiving when dealing with your luggage.
Even the United State FFA rules require that any device with a lithium battery must be kept inside your carry-on bag. Also, the built-in battery or power bank must be under 100Wh (27,027mAh).
It’s possible for airlines (American, Delta, Southwest, United, etc) to allow customers to bring devices with batteries up to 160Wh (42,000mAh). However, you’ll need to ask them for specific information.
By keeping your gaming devices as carry-on baggage, you can make sure that they’re mistreated during transportation. Not to mention that you can always have a little fun with your handheld gaming consoles during the flights.
Can I Use My Gaming Console On The Plane?
A handheld system would be a better choice if you want to game on the plane. Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
If it’s a portable console like the Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch, passengers will have no trouble playing their favourite games in the air. Just keep in mind that you must switch it to airplane mode and turn off the device during takeoff and landing.
However, if you want to boost on your certain full-sized gaming consoles, such as the PS5 or Xbox Series X, then you’ll probably won’t be able to. This is because the power system on the aeroplanes only supports a limited level of wattage, which won’t be enough to power your consoles.
Not to mention that, nowadays, many aeroplanes have had their seatback screens removed, so you won’t be able to use them to play console games anyway.
As laptops can be easily slipped into their dedicated compartment, gaming laptop makes sense. However, when you play, the fan noise won’t bother other passengers, but your game sounds will be. So make sure to plug in or connect to a separate headset. Don’t be that guy.
Here’s another piece of advice: bring a power bank. Handheld consoles may entertain you for a few hours, but they won't last the whole 8+ flight. Gaming laptops are especially notorious for their bad battery life.
And just like using any electronic device, rest your eyes for every 20-60 minutes of gaming. Stretch your legs with some light exercise or go to the bathroom for a change of pace.
Tips For Flying With Gaming Consoles
Gaming laptops and portable gaming consoles can be a sensible choice. Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash
To make sure that you’re having a safe and comfortable trip with your gaming consoles, the following travel tips are essential:
Pack your bag wisely
One useful packing tip is to put clothes and other soft materials as padding for the consoles. Place it in the middle of your luggage, then use clothes and accessories to fill in the space. This is a much more efficient way of packing your clothes while also protecting the device.
While a backpack is good, a duffle bag is even better. Thanks to their solid structure, your devices and everything else won’t be damaged and scratched in your carry-on.
Protect Your Consoles From Impacts
If you must board your consoles as checked baggage, then make sure to pack them properly to avoid any mishaps. As mentioned, you are recommended to use hard cases and add extra padding to the package.
An outer layer of bubble wrap and other cushioning materials are great for protecting your devices.
Keep your consoles separately
When you’re bringing multiple consoles, try to keep them separately to avoid any collisions. You might end up with a broken screen on your handheld, scratched consoles, and a broken or drifted button on the controller if unlucky. The best option is to cover each of them with bubble wrap and place items tightly inside your suitcases.
Store Your Cords And Cables Efficiently
Try to wrap the power and controller cables properly before putting them inside your luggage. Otherwise, you’ll end up with messy wiring, which will take a lot of effort to untangle. Try to look for a dedicated accessories pouch.
Charge Your Console Before Boarding
To enjoy your gaming sessions on the plane, it’s better to charge your device fully before boarding. Oftentimes, demanding gaming consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X will require a powerful charger port.
And while most aeroplanes offer built-in charging options for each passenger seat, they’re often designed for phones and, therefore, not suited to charge most of your gaming devices efficiently. However, if you have a smaller device, such as a Switch or Steam Deck, it’s possible to use the built-in charging port.
Still, we recommend that travellers use SeatGuru to check the plane’s power options before booking the tickets. Simply enter the flight information and look for the AC Power details in the In-Flight Amenities section.
Furthermore, download your games to the internal storage/sd cards beforehand, as you may have no internet access during the flight.
Pack it right, and hours of endless fun are within your hands. Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.
Bring A Copy Of TSA And Airline Rules
Don’t worry if you’re afraid that you might get into trouble when bringing your gaming consoles on the plane. Just print a copy of the TSA rules and airline regulations to keep alongside.
State to the airline security that you’re allowed to board your consoles on the planes, and you’re fully aware of your rights and responsibilities. And, of course, try to make their job a lot easier by always having your devices ready for security checks, screening, and other procedures if required.
Can You Bring Video Game Discs On The Plane?
Yes, there are no rules that forbid you from bringing video game discs to the plane. You can have them as either carry-on or checked baggage. However, we highly recommend you remove the game discs from your consoles to avoid damaging them during transportation. It’s always best to keep them in their case.
Can I Bring Sealed/Packaged Gaming Consoles On Planes?
Yes. It will be ok if the security can scan the items through an x-ray. But there’s no guarantee whether they want to open your packages for potential checkups or not.
It’s their job, and they can ask to inspect the content inside. Not to mention you are likely to have to put the product out of the box into a separate bin per the procedure.
Furthermore, bringing a sealed electronic may be seen as importing products, and you may have to be subject to further customs fees. So, you can bring that brand new gaming console as a gift to your family and friend back home, but you may have to open them at the security checkpoint.
What About Vr Headset?
Like many other portable electronics, you can also fly with your VR headset. Plus, it’s possible to use them in flight, too. In fact, your headsets will probably go through less checking due to them having a more simple design.
1. Can I Bring My Gaming Console In My Carry-On Bag?
Yes, most of the time, your gaming consoles can be boarded as carry-on baggage. Just make sure that they’re properly packed and can fit inside the overhead bin or under the front seat. If your baggage is too big, chances are you have to check them nonetheless.
2. Can I Bring My Gaming Console In My Checked Bag?
Good news for those own multiple systems.
If you have multiple consoles, then yes, boarding them as checked baggage is a better option. Try to pack items properly and make sure to add extra paddings to avoid any mishandling.
3. Are There Any Restrictions On The Type Of Gaming Console I Can Bring On A Plane?
According to the TSA, there are no restrictions on the type of gaming console that you can carry on the plane. However, some airlines might have their own opinions on the matter. So, make sure to check with yours first before boarding.
In addition, make sure you pack your consoles accordingly with the airlines’ restrictions. Even if your device is allowed, you can’t bring it onboard if the whole baggage isn’t.
A Little Fun On The Air
So, can you bring gaming consoles on planes? Up until now, there are no rules to prevent you from bringing your game consoles to the plane, especially the handhelds. So feel free to have a little fun with your Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck on the fly.
Larger consoles can be easily taken to the plane as both carry-on or checked baggage, as long as you follow the regulations.