Some Spare Batteries Banned On Flights

Because some have been known to spontaneously combust, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is banning some lithium batteries from your checked-in luggage. In the spring, a laptop battery related fire erupted in the overhead compartment of a Jetblue flight, and on an American Airlines flight from Argentina, prompting the DOT to issue a warning about packing spare batteries. Lithium batteries are commonly used in laptops and cellphones. However, the rules mainly apply to professionals and/or people who travel with spare batteries. For the most part, batteries installed in the electronic device are fine. Inside, a handy chart to tell you what’s been banned.


New Battery Rules [DOT]


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  1. Falconfire says:

    A LOT of DV camera’s are effected by this ban, meaning you will not be able to travel with your camcorders now.

  2. bms says:

    Where is the information on the amount of Lithium in a battery?

  3. hypnotik_jello says:

    @Falconfire: You can still carry on spare Lion batteries in your carry-on, as per the above chart.

  4. drzeller says:

    @Falconfire: From reading at other sites, I’m not sure this is accurate, Falconfire. Can you indicate what batteries in DV cameras would result in the restriction? Most consumer electronic batteries should cruise through this fine. The batteries most likely to be restricted would be the large external multi-hour laptop batteries and professional-level external batteries for various cameras/etc.

  5. Falconfire says:

    @hypnotik_jello: a lot of older DV cameras use Lithium Metal, not Ion… which means they will not be able to be brought.

  6. suburbancowboy says:

    I thought that you could bring them, as long as they were in a plastic bag. The ban was on loose batteries (ie just floating around in your baggage). Is that correct?

  7. Sam2k says:

    @suburbancowboy: From reading, the concern seems to be spontaneous combustion. As a plastic bag is rather flammable, I doubt that that is an acceptable remedy. Of course, the only type of battery expressly forbidden in any manner is a Lithium Metal battery with over 2 grams of Lithium.

  8. formatc says:

    As a recurring comment I see in a lot of threads on this topic, I need to ask it myself – how does one know how much lithium is in a given battery? I’ve checked the lithium-based batteries in my devices and none of them indicate their content.

  9. @Sam2k: Yes, plastic is flammable, but the most likely cause of a battery fire is an electrical short caused by something metallic touching both of the battery’s contacts simultaneously. The plastic bag isn’t fireproofing, it’s electrical insulation.

  10. tripnman says:

    “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 [sic], or by other appropriate measures.”

    How convenient, since every time I’ve flown recently the TSA monkeys ask me to turn on both my laptop and camera. “But, but… you told me to tape them in the off postion!”

  11. ShadowFalls says:

    @Michael Bauser:

    Exactly. These issues more likely arise when an item come in contant with another metallic item, more probably the zippers of a suitcase or carry-on bag.

    The big issue is determining lithium content. Batteries don’t seem to provide such information.

    By the time we are done this decade, we won’t be able to bring anything of our own onboard except our bodies. They will even assign people clothing.

  12. suburbancowboy says:

    @Sam2k: To quote an article posted the other day here on consumerist: “Passengers can still check baggage with lithium batteries if they are installed in electronic devices, such as cameras, cell phones and laptop computers. If packed in plastic bags, batteries may be in carryon baggage. The limit is two batteries per passenger.”

    “Doing something as simple as keeping a spare battery in its original retail packaging or a plastic zip-lock bag will prevent unintentional short-circuiting and fires,” Krista Edwards, deputy administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said in a release.”


  13. Ben07 says:

    this is what said about the level of lithium in devices:

    “According to the DOT, 8 grams of lithium is approximately 100 Watt-Hours (WH)

    My Palm Centro’s Lithium-Ion battery says that it has 3.7 volts, and 1,150 mAh.

    Here’s the formula to convert those numbers into WH:
    WH= Volts x mAh / 1,000
    WH= Volts x Amps

    So 3.7 x 1,150 / 1,000 = 4.255 WH, or well under 2 grams of lithium.

    Conveniently, my Dell 700m’s Lithium-Ion battery says right on it that it is 71WH, which should be under 6 grams of lithium.”

    dan also clarified a lot of other confusion on this topic in this article:


  14. FLConsumer says:

    Like the TSA monkeys will be able to figure out the difference between NiMH & LiION. I’ll be pissed if the JFK TSA monkeys won’t let me carry my close to $150 worth of new NiMH batteries onboard with me tomorrow

  15. Shinobuu says:

    Eh, I’m assuming I can still carry around my hearing aid batteries. I’d hate my battery die in the middle of a flight and I can’t hear what someone is saying.