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Travel Advice/Travel Tips -  New Rules on Carrying Spare Batteries

 

The material below was issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation to help educate the public on new rules regarding transportation of lithium batteries, the type commonly found in cell phones, laptops, cameras (both still and video) and other devices commonly carried by travelers.

Effective January 1, 2008, the following rules apply to the spare lithium batteries you carry with you in case the battery in a device runs low:

  • Spare batteries are the batteries you carry separately from the devices they power. When batteries are installed in a device, they are not considered spare batteries.
  • You may not pack a spare lithium battery in your checked baggage
  • You may bring spare lithium batteries with you in carry-on baggage – see our spare battery tips  to find out how to pack spare batteries safely!
  • Even though we recommend carrying your devices with you in carry-on baggage as well, if you must bring one in checked baggage, you may check it with the batteries installed.

The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of “equivalent lithium content.” 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:

  • Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.
  • You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.
  • For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.

Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!

 

TIPS

  • Pack spare batteries in carry-on baggage. In the passenger compartment, flight crews can better monitor safety conditions to prevent an incident, and can access fire extinguishers, if an incident does happen.
  • Keep spare batteries in the original retail packaging, to prevent unintentional activation or short-circuiting.
  • For loose batteries, place tape across the battery's contacts to isolate terminals. Isolating terminals prevents short-circuiting.
  • If original packaging is not available, effectively insulate battery terminals by isolating spare batteries from contact with other batteries and metal. Place each battery in its own protective case, plastic bag, or package. Do not permit a loose battery to come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys, or jewelry.
  • Only charge batteries which you are sure are rechargeable! Non-rechargeable batteries are not designed for re-charging, and become hazards if they are placed in a battery charger. NEVER attempt to recharge a battery unless you know it is rechargeable.
  • If you have already charged a non-rechargeable battery, do NOT bring such a battery on board an aircraft.
  • Use only chargers designed for your type of batteries. If unsure about compatibility, contact the product manufacturer.
  • Take steps to prevent crushing, puncturing, or putting a high degree of pressure on the battery, as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating.

GUIDE TO RULES EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2008

Type Of Battery/Batteries

In Checked Baggage

In Carry-On Baggage:

Lithium Metal Battery, Installed in a Device (up to 2 grams lithium)

Permitted 1

Recommended 1

Spare Lithium Metal Battery (Not Installed In a Device) (up to 2 grams lithium)

(up to 2 grams lithium)

Forbidden

Permitted in carry-on baggage 2

Lithium Metal Battery, Spare or Installed

(over 2 grams lithium)

Forbidden

Forbidden

Lithium-Ion Battery Installed in a Device

(up to 8 grams lithium equivalent content)

Permitted 1

Recommended 1

Spare Lithium-Ion Battery (Not Installed in a Device)

(up to 8 grams lithium equivalent content)

Forbidden

Permitted in carry-on baggage 2

“Special Case”

Up to 2 Lithium-Ion Batteries, Spare or Installed

(between 8 and 25 grams aggregate lithium equivalent content)

Spare Batteries: Forbidden!

Installed in Devices: Permitted 1

Spare Batteries: Permitted 2

Installed in Devices: Permitted 1

1. Although you may carry some devices and installed batteries in checked baggage, carrying them in carry-on baggage, when practicable, is preferred. Whether in checked or carry-on baggage, ensure that devices remain switched off, either by built-in switch/trigger locks, by taping the activation switch in the “off” postion, or by other appropriate measures.

2. Be sure to take protective measures to prevent against short-circuits.

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