What are lithium batteries?
If you're planning a trip, you may bring your laptop computer, cell phone, camera, personal digital assistant, or other battery-powered devices as these items are still safe to fly! Batteries pose little risk when contained within the devices they power if steps are taken to prevent inadvertent activation. Spare batteries can be packed in carry-on baggage if steps are taken to protect against short circuits.
How do I protect my batteries?
A battery's electrical connections (also called contacts or terminals,) must be protected from contact with metal or other batteries, which may cause the battery to short circuit. You can do this several ways:
- Keep batteries in their original packaging. This packaging is specifically designed to protect batteries during transportation, at the store, and in your home or worksite.
- If original packaging is unavailable, tape over the electrical connections (contacts or terminals). Electrical tape is great for this job, but all adhesive tapes not made of metallic material will work! Placing each battery in its own individual plastic bag also will isolate the battery's terminals.
- Every rechargeable battery-powered device comes with a charger that is right for that device. When you travel, locate the charger that is compatible with the device - don't mix and match!
- Use protective packaging and safety measures such as trigger locks to prevent inadvertent activation of power tools, especially in checked baggage!
- If you must carry a battery-powered device in any baggage, package it to prevent inadvertent activation. For instance, you should pack a cordless power tool in a protective case, with the trigger lock engaged.
What about large batteries?
Larger Lithium Ion Batteries exceed a Watt-hour rating of100 watt-hours but do not exceed 160 watt-hours. Some very large after-market laptop computer batteries, and some batteries used for professional audio-visual application, fall within this definition. Larger Lithium Metal Batteries contain more than two grams of lithium, and are forbidden in air travel. (No common consumer lithium metal batteries are in the "larger" category.) Most laptop batteries are rated below 100 watt-hours and are not considered to be large batteries.
May I travel with a damaged or recalled lithium battery or battery-powered device?
Damaged or recalled batteries and battery-powered devices, which are likely to create sparks or generate a dangerous evolution of heat may be carried aboard an aircraft by passenger or crew only if packaged and/or handled in a manner which would preclude such an occurrence. Such batteries and devices should not be placed in checked baggage. Check battery or battery-powered device recall information at the manufacturer’s website, or visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.