Nope, it wasn’t a scene from the 2006 film “Snakes On A Plane”, starring Samuel L Jackson as an FBI agent who takes on a plane full of deadly venomous snakes.

Rather, the video that has since gone viral was about a “power bank incident” that occurred onboard Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) flight BI 636 that was en route from Hong Kong to Brunei Darussalam on January 3, 2019 .

And unlike the movie “Snakes On A Plane” that was full of chaotic moments, Thursday’s incident onboard the RB flight was quickly contained thanks to the fast work of the well-trained crew members.

“Our cabin crews are trained to follow standard operating procedures to handle such incidents professionally and to ensure the safety of our guests at all times,” the Sultanate’s national carrier said in a statement, adding that all passengers and crew members were unharmed. The flight landed in Bandar Seri Begawan safely and as scheduled.

A photo of the ‘power bank incident’ that was made public by Facebook user Francis Ngu Hown Hua

Why Are Power Banks Not Allowed In Check-In Luggage?

Edwei Alagich, an employee at Qantas, explained why airlines would prefer handling the risk of lithium batteries (in this case, power banks) inside the passenger aircraft rather than in the baggage compartment.

”As they (power banks) are effectively batteries, and can in some situations catch fire, you don’t want them in the baggage compartment. If they’re taken on board as hand baggage, in the rare situation that they may catch fire, they can be dealt with more easily as there are fire extinguishers in the cabin,” he was quoted as saying in an online report.

RB’s Guide To Dangerous Goods

According to the RB’s “Guide To Dangerous Goods”, all batteries, spare or loose, including lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries, for portable electronic devices must be carried in cabin baggage only.

For lithium metal batteries, the lithium metal content must not exceed 2 grammes and for lithium ion batteries the Watt-hour rating must not exceed 100 Wh .

Articles which have the primary purpose as a power source, for example, power banks are considered as spare batteries. These batteries must be individually protected to prevent short circuits. Each person is limited to a maximum of four (4) spare lithium batteries.

How Is Wh Calculated? 

Calculating the watt hours of your power bank is particularly easy. Here’s the formula:

(mAh)/1000 x (V) = (Wh)

In other words, Milliamp Hours/1000 x Nominal Voltage = Watt Hours

When asked to comment on the ‘power bank incident’, a Neue reader said, “I guess the power bank overheated! Sometimes, users aren’t aware that they have overcharged it, resulting in overheating.”

Speaking to Neue, a jet-setting executive based in Brunei said he hoped the airline (RB) would not ban all power banks because of the recent incident.

But What About E-Cigarettes?

“I am glad that the power bank was not stored in cargo (check-in luggage),” he said. “However, I am concerned about passengers who may have unknowingly been storing their e-cigarettes in their luggage. Aren’t they technically considered power banks too?”

According to RB, all e-cigarettes (including e-cigars, e-pipes, other personal vaporizers) containing batteries must be individually protected to prevent accidental activation. They are NOT allowed in your check-in luggage for safety reasons!

Share Your Thoughts

Do you think that power banks are a necessity? Have you ever accidentally or unknowingly left your power banks in your checked-in luggage (cargo)? Do let us know in the comments section below!