PRBA Reminds Travelers Flying Over the Holidays To Observe DOT Rules for Lithium Batteries

Washington (December 18, 2014)—As the holiday travel season reaches its peak the next two weeks, airline passengers should remember the importance of following the U.S. Department of Transportation safety regulations that apply to lithium batteries and battery-powered consumer electronic products in checked baggage or carry-on luggage, PRBA – The Rechargeable Battery Association said today.

“If airline passengers observe the Department of Transportation safety requirements, they will minimize mistakes that can cause problems with lithium batteries and every day products such as cell phones, tablets, e-readers and laptops containing these batteries,” said PRBA Executive Director George Kerchner.

An estimated 45 million people are expected to fly on U.S. airlines during the holiday season that started Wednesday, December 17 and continues through Sunday, January 4, according to estimates by Airlines for America, an industry trade group.

Below are the regulations applicable to lithium ion and lithium metal batteries and products containing those batteries carried on aircraft by passengers.

  • Spare lithium ion and lithium metal batteries are strictly prohibited in checked baggage but are permitted in carry-on baggage. But there are size restrictions. Lithium metal batteries may not contain more than two grams of lithium metal and lithium ion batteries may not exceed a Watt-hour (Wh) rating of 100 Wh.
  • Portable electronic equipment containing lithium ion batteries with a Wh rating not exceeding 100 Wh or lithium metal batteries not exceeding two grams of lithium metal may be placed in checked or carry-on baggage.
  • In addition, lithium ion batteries larger than 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh may be carried aboard the aircraft if approved by the airline. These larger lithium ion batteries are limited to two spares plus one installed in the equipment and must always be placed in carry-on baggage. These larger lithium ion batteries can be found in professional audio-visual and “extended life” after-market notebook computer applications.
  • Damaged or recalled batteries are strictly prohibited from being carried aboard the aircraft.

Lithium batteries pose minimal risk aboard aircraft if recommended safety precautions such as the ones listed below are undertaken.

  • Keep spare batteries in their original retail packaging. If the original packaging is unavailable, tape over the electrical connections or place in a separate plastic bag.
  • Prevent loose batteries from coming in contact with metal objects.
  • Charge only rechargeable batteries.
  • Use only the charger designed for the specific battery. Every battery comes with a compatible charger. Don’t mix and match.
  • 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. Travelers must understand that even the minimal risk associated with batteries and battery-powered products is further reduced if DOT regulations and procedures are followed,” Kerchner added.