Don’t Be a Grinch! PRBA Urges Holiday Flyers to Heed DOT Battery Safety Rules

With the holiday travel season set to begin this weekend, PRBA –The Rechargeable Battery Association is reminding airline passengers to follow U.S. Department of Transportation safety regulations on lithium batteries and battery-powered consumer products in checked and carry-on baggage.

“If airline passengers comply with the DOT regulations on lithium batteries and take appropriate packaging and other precautions, they can minimize mistakes that could raise safety issues this holiday season,” said PRBA Executive Director George Kerchner.

“Holiday flyers should be aware that the DOT prohibits spare lithium batteries in checked baggage but not carry-ons, including packages and presents,” Kerchner said. “Consumer electronic devices powered by lithium batteries such as cameras, cell phones, tablets and watches are permitted in either checked or carry-on baggage,” he added.

Airlines for America, an industry trade group, is projecting 38.1 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines during the 2015 holiday season from December 18 until January 3, up 3 percent per day from 2014.

In October, DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration reiterated its longstanding lithium battery regulations and “strongly urged” airlines to inform passengers during ticketing, check in and at the gate that spare lithium batteries are prohibited in checked luggage.

Below is a summary of DOT lithium battery regulations applicable to airline passengers.

Prohibited in checked baggage

* Spare lithium ion and lithium metal batteries

* Battery-powered portable smoking devices, including e-cigarettes and vaporizers

Permitted in checked baggage and carry-ons

* Virtually every consumer electronic product powered by lithium ion or lithium metal batteries, but the devices must be protected from accidental activation

Permitted in carry-ons

* Spare lithium ion batteries with a Watt-hour rating of no more than 100 Wh and lithium metal batteries containing no more than 2 grams of lithium content. This size covers AA, AAA, camera, cell phone, tablet, and handheld game batteries. The Wh rating is marked on newer lithium ion batteries.

* With airline approval, a limit of two larger-sized lithium ion batteries up to 160 Wh plus another contained in a product such as audio-visual equipment,

* Battery-powered portable smoking devices, including e-cigarettes and vaporizers, but crew and passengers barred from charging these devices aboard the aircraft.

In a recent development, numerous airlines have banned “Hoverboards,” a battery-powered two-wheel glider and a popular holiday gift, in checked and carry-on baggage. Passengers should check with their airline before traveling to the airport with these devices.

Airline passengers can also improve safety by following the safety precautions listed below.

· Keep spare batteries in their original packaging, a battery case, a separate pouch/pocket or tape over the electrical connections.

· Prevent loose batteries from moving around or coming in contact with metal objects such as coins.

· Charge only rechargeable batteries.

· Every battery comes with a compatible charger. Don’t mix and match. Use only the charger designed for the specific battery.

· If you must carry a battery-powered device in any baggage, package it to prevent inadvertent activation.

· Take steps to prevent crushing or puncturing of batteries.

“Batteries must be used, treated and packaged correctly to ensure safety during the holidays,” Kerchner emphasized.