Batteries Carried by Airline Passengers - part 1 of 1 2 3

by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2017

Q1. What kinds of batteries does the FAA allow in carry-on baggage (in the aircraft cabin)?

A1. For carry-on baggage checked at the gate or planeside, see Q2, below. Passengers can carry most consumertype batteries and portable battery-powered electronic devices for their own personal use in carry-on baggage. Spare batteries must be protected from damage and short circuit. Battery-powered devices must be protected from accidental activation and heat generation. Damaged or recalled batteries, including when in a device, must not be carried. Batteries allowed in carry-on baggage include:

• Dry cell alkaline batteries: typical AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, button-sized cells, etc.

• Dry cell rechargeable batteries such as Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCad). For rechargeable lithium ion batteries; see next paragraph.

• Lithium ion batteries (a.k.a.: rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer, LIPO, secondary lithium). Passengers may carry all consumer-sized lithium ion batteries (up to 100 watt hours per battery). This size covers AA, AAA, cell phone, PDA, camera, camcorder, handheld game, tablet, portable drill, and standard laptop computer batteries. The watt hours (Wh) rating is marked on newer lithium ion batteries and is explained in #3 below. External chargers are also considered to be a battery.

With airline approval, devices can contain larger lithium ion batteries (101-160 watt hours per battery), but spares of this size are limited to two batteries in carry-on baggage only. This size covers the largest aftermarket extended-life laptop batteries and most lithium ion batteries for professional-grade audio/visual equipment.

• Lithium metal batteries (a.k.a.: non-rechargeable lithium, primary lithium). These batteries are often used with cameras and other small personal electronics. Consumer-sized batteries (up to 2 grams of lithium per battery) may be carried. This includes all the typical non-rechargeable lithium batteries used in cameras (AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, etc.) as well as the flat round lithium button cells.

• Nonspillable wet batteries (absorbed electrolyte), limited to 12 volts and 100 watt hours per battery.

These batteries must be the absorbed electrolyte type (gel cells, AGM, etc.) that meet the requirements of 49 CFR 173.159a(d); i.e., no electrolyte will flow from a cracked battery case. Batteries must be in strong outer packagings or installed in equipment. Passengers are also limited to two (2) spare (uninstalled) batteries. Spare batteries’ terminals must be protected (non-conductive caps, tape, etc.) within the outer packaging. Batteries and outer packaging must be marked “nonspillable” or “nonspillable battery.” Note: This exception is for portable electronic devices, not for vehicle batteries. There are separate exceptions for powered wheelchairs.

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1st Published 01/02/2017
last update 18/05/2017 12:19:23

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