Since electronic devices have become more prevalent, it is no wonder that people ask about the safety precautions when it comes to taking batteries on planes.
Depending on the type of battery that you bring, the rules vary. Also, make sure to check with the airlines about the rules when it comes to carrying them on board.
This post is for the US Transportation Security Administration’s rules for carrying batteries on planes. If you’re flying from another country, check the country’s regulations.
Although it can be a bit annoying to have to follow the rules around carrying batteries on a plane, it is necessary for the safety of the passengers.
Are Batteries Allow on a Plane?
Although most people can travel with batteries on planes, carrying large lithium batteries and spare lithium batteries are still very special. It’s also important to make sure that the batteries you bring on board are for personal use.
Lithium-ion and metal batteries, including those used for cell phone charging cases and power banks, are only allowed to be placed in checked luggage. They should be removed from the bag when checked or placed inside the aircraft cabin.
Since batteries are very flammable, they are often required to be in carry-on bags. However, there are some rules and limitations when it comes to carrying them in hand luggage.
What Kind Of Batteries Are Permitted In Carry-On Luggage?
Passengers can carry most types of batteries and portable electronic devices in their carry-on baggage. However, these items must be protected from damage and are only suitable for personal use.
Batteries Allowed On Airplanes
- Alkaline dry cell batteries: AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, button-sized cells, and so on.
- Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium dry cell rechargeable batteries (NiCad). See the next paragraph for further information about rechargeable lithium ion batteries.
- Lithium ion batteries are rechargeable batteries that are used for various applications. They can be carried in carry-on bags for use with various consumer devices such as mobile phones, camcorders, and portable computers. On the label of newer lithium ion batteries, the watt hours rating is indicated. Also, external chargers are considered to be batteries.
- Lithium metal batteries are commonly used in camera and other small electronic devices. They are charged by either a non-rechargeable lithium or a primary lithium. Most of the time, these batteries are used with non-rechargeable batteries for cameras.
- Non-spillable wet batteries are limited to 12 volts and 100 watts per battery. They must be absorbed by a type of electrolyte that meets the requirements of 49 CFR 173.159. Passengers are also limited to two spare (uninstalled) batteries. The batteries must be protected with non-conductive caps and tape.
All batteries that are allowed in checked baggage are required to be protected from damage and are installed in a device. Lithium metal and plastic batteries are not allowed in checked baggage. Also, electronic cigarettes and vaporizing devices are not allowed in checked baggage.
Batteries Are Not Allowed On Airplanes
- Lithium Batteries for Spare: Lithium polymer and lithium metal are both prohibited in carry-on and checked baggage on aircraft. In recent months, lithium batteries have made headlines. Consider what would happen if a single cell caught fire due to the dangers of thermal runways. On YouTube, there have been viral videos involving a variety of devices, ranging from hoverboards to a set of earphones. These footage showed the devices engulfed in flames. Some of these devices have been banned from flying, including the Samsung Note 7 smartphone, which was recently banned in the United States after it was discovered to cause fire and explosives. If batteries must be brought onto the plane, they must be kept completely isolated from other flammable goods.
- Spillable Batteries: Wet batteries, sometimes known as automobile batteries, are not permitted on planes. However, if you have a wheelchair or are using the battery to charge a scooter, you may be allowed to enter with such batteries. It’s possible that you’ll be allowed to keep the batteries on the plane. However, you should alert the plane crew so that they can take the required precautions to properly pack the batteries for a safe flight.
Lithium Batteries: Can They Keep You From Flying
It’s a good idea to inform passengers about the limitations when using rechargeable batteries on airplanes.
Here Are Some Guidelines:
- Carry Fewer PEDs: PEDs are portable electronic devices that run on lithium batteries. Electronic equipment such as cameras, cellphones, computers, e-readers, and medical devices such as portable oxygen generators are examples of this type of material. When flying, you are allowed to bring no more than fifteen electronic gadgets in your carry-on or checked baggage.
- Battery Content and Ratings: Every installed battery in a PED must not exceed the following for lithium metal or lithium alloy batteries, no lithium weighing more than two grams is allowed. They should have an hour watt rating of less than 100 Wh for lithium-ion batteries. I know you’re wondering about that battery with no Wh rating; you’ll have to compute the watts hours rating using the formula below. Watts hours = Volts* ampere-hours If the capacity of your battery is listed in milliampere-hours, multiply the ampere-hours by 1000 before doing the math.
- Protection From Damages: Measures should be put in place to avoid any damage to the batteries that may be allowed on the plane and transported in checked luggage, as well as any unintended fires.
- Complete Devices Switch Off: The lithium-ion batteries used on board must be turned off completely, not in sleep mode or hibernation.
Not knowing the details of the shipping and handling of lithium batteries can prevent people from safely traveling.
The Best Way To Travel With Lithium Batteries
- Smart Luggage – Some of the newest luggage include an inbuilt charging system to keep your phone charged. It’s vital to realize that, no matter how laid-back they appear to be, many airline restrictions prohibit them from flying. Lithium batteries are built into these luggage. It’s a good idea to double-check your luggage for lithium batteries. Remove them from the luggage and take them with you on the plane.
- Lithium Spare Batteries — If you really need to travel with extra lithium batteries, you should pack them separately in your carry-on luggage to protect against short circuits. We suggest keeping them in their original packaging and covering the exposed terminals with tape.
- Electronic Cigarettes and Vape Pens — While some airlines still consider vape pens to be risky, it’s best to double-check with them ahead of time in case policies and procedures have changed. Electronic cigarettes using lithium batteries, on the other hand, are permitted on airlines but only in carry-on luggage.
- Power Banks and External Chargers — Lithium-ion batteries are built into power banks and external chargers that are used to charge other gadgets. It is recommended that you move them with the same caution as spare lithium batteries.
- Lithium Battery Shipping – All shipping needs must adhere to aviation authority norms. If you are unsure whether the cargo containing lithium battery gadgets – computers and phones is being sent separately and you as a staff member are not sure, please contact your company representative for more assistance.
Which Batteries Can Be Carried In A Carry-On Versus Checked Bags
Fortunately, the Transportation Security Administration has your back when it comes to informing passengers about the restrictions on carrying certain kinds of liquids and electronic equipment.
Batteries Allowed In Carry-On Bags:
- Alkaline dry cell batteries, such as AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, button cells, and so on.
- Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium dry cell rechargeable batteries (NiCad).
- Lithium-ion batteries are used in jump starters.
- Lithium-ion batteries are a type of rechargeable battery (a.k.a.: rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer, LIPO, secondary lithium).
- Lithium ion batteries for consumers [no more than 8 grams of equivalent lithium material per battery or 100 watt hours (wh) per battery]. AA, AAA, 9-volt, mobile phone, PDA, camera, camcorder, Gameboy, and ordinary laptop computer batteries are all covered by this size.
- In their carry-on, they can bring up to two bigger lithium ion batteries (each weighing more than 8 grams and containing up to 25 grams of equivalent lithium content). This dimension accommodates larger, longer-lasting laptop batteries. The majority of consumer lithium ion batteries are smaller than this. With airline permission, lithium ion batteries with a power rating of 101 to 160 watts are allowed in carry-on bags.
- Batteries made of lithium metal (a.k.a.: non-rechargeable lithium, primary lithium). Cameras and other small personal electronics frequently use these batteries. Consumer-sized batteries (with up to 2 grams of lithium per battery) are allowed to be transported. All non-rechargeable batteries for personal film cameras and digital cameras (AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, and so on) are included, as well as flat round lithium button cells.
Batteries Allowed In Checked Bags:
- All batteries authorized in carry-on luggage are also allowed in checked baggage, with the exception of lithium batteries; however, we prefer that you pack them in your carry-on bag whenever possible. Airline flight personnel can better monitor conditions in the cabin and have access to the batteries or gadget in the event of a fire.
- Unless they are being used to power a scooter or wheelchair, vehicle batteries, wet batteries, or spillable batteries are prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage. You must notify the airline operator if you need to bring a spare battery for a scooter or wheelchair so that the battery can be properly packaged for air travel.
- In checked luggage, spare lithium batteries (both lithium metal and lithium ion/polymer) are forbidden.
- The most prevalent rechargeable cell types found in Portable Chargers are Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Polymer. Only carry-on baggage are allowed to have portable chargers.
- External battery chargers, power banks, and uninstalled or spare lithium ion batteries must all be transported in carry-on luggage.
When objects such as keys, coins, and tools get in contact with a battery, its terminals can create a short circuit that can generate intense heat and ignite a fire.
To prevent short circuits, keep the spare batteries inside their original packaging. Also, make sure that the unpackaged batteries are not moved around.
In case of emergency, travelers can carry multiple dry batteries in their checked luggage. The Transportation Security Administration doesn’t have a limit to how many batteries can be carried on.
However, the FAA also prohibits the possession of large amounts of batteries for resell. This means that many packs that are for personal use could not be carried in checked luggage.
Lithium batteries and power packs are allowed in checked luggage. However, they are not allowed to be used inside the hold luggage since it could cause a fire.
Lithium batteries are considered dangerous items that can cause fires on airplanes. In most cases, they are not allowed to be carried on board. However, there are some exceptions.
Due to the seriousness of the issue, the aviation authorities have decided to ban the use of lithium batteries on planes. Despite having fire extinguishers on board, the authorities believe that a fire caused by the batteries could still spread.