In today’s world, there are tons of electronics, from phones to laptops, that all require batteries to function. Let’s not forget about the cameras, portable fans, and even devices with lithium-ion batteries.
It can be difficult to keep track of what you can and cannot bring on a plane, so here is a quick guide on what batteries you can bring on a plane.
- TSA Guidelines
- Passenger Benefits For Having Electronics in Carry-On Bags
- Checked Bags
- Battery Chargers
- Smart Luggage
- Recalled Batteries
- Size Limits
- How To Transport Batteries
- Why Are There Limits?
- What Role Does the FAA Play in These Rules?
- Wrapping Up
The TSA has strict guidelines about what items are allowed on airplanes. These guidelines often change in order to ensure the safety of all passengers. Guidelines exist for carry-on and checked bags for enhanced safety.
The guidelines for batteries in carry-on bags are below.
Dry Cell Alkaline
Believe it or not, these guidelines are pretty relaxed. When it comes down to your typical dry cell alkaline batteries, you can carry AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, and button-sized cell batteries.
Rechargeable dry cell batteries like Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) are also allowed as long as they are under 100-watt hours.
Lithium-ion batteries are a little different, however. You must carry these rechargeable batteries in your carry-on bag, and they are limited to two per passenger.
This means if you have a laptop, camera, and phone, you can only bring two of those devices with you on the plane.
Non-rechargeable Lithium batteries usually power devices like watches and calculators. These batteries you can bring in both carry-on and checked baggage, but there is a limit of five spare batteries per passenger.
You can bring wet batteries in carry-on luggage, but they must be placed in spill-proof containers and cannot exceed 12 volts and 100 watt-hours.
Passenger Benefits For Having Electronics in Carry-On Bags
The main benefit of having your lithium-ion batteries in your carry-on bag is that if your device accidentally turns on, you are right beside it to turn it off rather than it being in the cargo hold where you have no control over what is happening.
This lowers the risk of a fire starting in the cargo hold which would be devastating for everyone on board.
Another benefit is the decreased risk of theft or loss. Your devices are more likely to be stolen from the cargo hold than your carry-on bag. It reassures you that your expensive electronics are with you at all times.
The guidelines for batteries in checked baggage are much more strict than for carry-on. To clarify, most of the batteries acceptable in carry-on baggage you can also bring for checked bags.
However, most airlines recommend passengers pack them in their carry-on bags whenever they can. The process adds another layer of safety for the batteries, and it also means you’ll have access to them during the flight if you need them.
Also, it’s much easier for flight attendants to put out a fire in a carry-on bag than in a checked bag in the case of a fire.
Batteries not allowed in checked bags are car, spillable, and wet batteries. The only exception to transporting these batteries is if they are used to power a scooter or wheelchair.
An important note is that if you must pack a spare battery, please advise the airline so they know there is a battery in the bag.
E-cigarettes and vape pens are also not allowed in checked bags, even if void of the battery. Passengers have to pack these devices in their carry-on cabin baggage. They are not to be used or charged during the flight.
This is due to the fact that the lithium-ion batteries that power these devices can overheat and cause a fire.
Outside of that, spare lithium batteries that are metal and ion/polymer are entirely banned from both carry-on and checked baggage.
Battery chargers are a big subject because they are the devices that power the batteries on all of our electronics. They serve as a backup battery to ensure you have access to your electronic device when you need it.
Most battery chargers are allowed on airplanes, but there are some exceptions—for example, power banks. The good news is that you can bring battery chargers in your carry-on baggage.
Smart luggage is any piece of luggage with an integrated battery. While the concept is still relatively new, a few companies have released smart suitcases. The most notable being the Bluesmart One.
These suitcases get advertised as being able to charge your devices, weigh themselves, and even lock themselves.
The issue with some of the smart luggage is that the battery cannot be removed.
Unfortunately, this means that if the battery were to overheat, it would be challenging to put out the fire. Not to mention, the bag cannot be stored in checked baggage if the battery is not removable.
For this reason, some airlines have banned smart luggage altogether. Other airlines have said they will allow it, but the battery must be removable.
If purchasing smart luggage, look for carry-on luggage that has a removable battery. This way, you can take advantage of the features without having to worry about airline restrictions.
Before attempting to bring batteries on board an aircraft, please check to see if they have any recalls. Batteries with active recalls are prohibited.
There are a few reasons batteries may be recalled. The most common is because they have a high number of reported instances of overheating and causing fires.
To find out if your battery has any recalls, you can check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.
Now that we’ve covered what batteries can be brought on airplanes let’s talk about size limits.
Lithium metal, non-rechargeable batteries are limited to two grams of lithium per battery. In special cases, passengers can carry up to two larger lithium-ion or metal batteries that don’t exceed 8 grams.
Usually, these batteries power devices like electric shavers, toothbrushes, and even professional visual and audio equipment.
Keep in mind that airline approval is required to carry the larger batteries. Passengers can also bring multiple lithium-ion batteries as long as they don’t exceed 8 grams.
How To Transport Batteries
Now that we know what types of batteries are allowed on airplanes, and the size limits for each battery, let’s talk about how to transport these batteries properly.
The TSA recommends that you keep spare batteries in their original packaging. If the packaging gets damaged or disregarded, it’s best to wrap the battery in clear plastic.
It will help prevent the terminals from coming into contact with metal objects and causing a fire.
It would help if you also kept batteries separated from each other and other electronic devices. It will help prevent short circuits.
When packing batteries in your carry-on bag, keeping them close to you is a good idea. It lowers the chances of damaging your electronics compared to if your bag is tossed around in the checked baggage area during the flight.
If you have any questions about bringing batteries on a plane, it’s always best to check with your airline. They will be able to give you the most up-to-date information on their policies.
Why Are There Limits?
The TSA says that these limits are in place to ensure that all passengers are safe. The danger with batteries is that they can overheat and cause fires.
It is why it’s essential to keep them in a cool, dry place and never to leave them unattended.
There have been incidents where laptops packed in checked baggage have caught on fire because the battery overheated. Fortunately, battery fires don’t happen very often.
However, the TSA takes them very seriously because of the safety hazard it poses to passengers and the flight itself.
Not to mention, the FAA limits battery transport to personal use. That means that if you are trying to bring a battery-powered device that is not for personal use, you will need special permission.
In short, the TSA has put these guidelines and limits in place to make sure that all passengers are safe and to limit the number of fires that occur on airplanes.
What Role Does the FAA Play in These Rules?
The FAA is the Federal Aviation Administration. They are responsible for regulating the safety of all commercial flights. It includes making sure that all airlines follow specific guidelines and regulations.
The TSA works with the FAA to make sure that all passengers are safe while in transit. That’s why they have put these battery limits in place.
Bringing batteries on board an aircraft is risky business. Over the years, new procedures created work to protect passengers and make the process of transporting batteries easier.
The TSA and FAA have put these guidelines to ensure that all passengers are safe while flying. It’s important to remember that batteries can overheat and cause fires.
The bottom line is whether you bring batteries in your carry-on or checked baggage, it is crucial to know the regulations. It will help ensure that your travel process is as smooth as possible.