New Rules On Bringing Batteries Onto Planes

January 9, 2008

Wanna make sure your laptop has enough juice to last all through the DC-to-LA flight? Bring extra batteries, but just make sure you aren’t running afoul of new FAA restrictions on bringing batteries onto planes.

Thanks to a helpful Yahoo tech blog post, I’m able to make sense of the restrictions. I’m surprised I haven’t seen this news elsewhere in the blog-a-verse.

In a nutshell:

  • Alkaline and nickel batteries (nearly all of our non-rechargeable AA / AAA / C / D / etc batteries) aren’t covered by these new rules.  So, it’s ok to bring many of these batteries in your checked luggage (the luggage that you check through and which is stored in the plane’s ‘belly’) as well as in your carry-on bag (the bag you carry onto the plane with you and stow under a seat or in an overhead compartment).
  • Lithium-based batteries (especially the popular li-on batteries) are what are covered under the new rules.
  • You can’t bring batteries with more than 8 grams of lithium content. But nearly all li-on laptop batteries — even the long rectangular ones — have much less than 8 grams of lithium content. Only the really large, lap-sized, all-day batteries have more than 8 grams of lithium content.
  • The Yahoo tech blog post has a very helpful explanation on how to calculate whether your laptop batteries have less than 8 grams:

How do you know how much lithium is in a battery? An 8-gram battery equals about 100 watt-hours of power. Now, your battery won’t say how many watt-hours it provides, but it’s easy to do the math. Look on the bottom and you’ll find a voltage rating and a mAh (milliamp-hours) rating. Multiply these two together and divide by 1,000. That’s your watt-hours. In the (big) battery I’m looking at as an example, it offers 11.1 volts and 7,800 mAh. Multiply and divide by 1,000 and you get 86.58 watt-hours, acceptable under the new rules.

  • Any batteries with lithium content cannot be stored in your checked luggage unless it’s installed in an equipment (like inside a camera or laptop). Loose / spare batteries have to be carried onto the plane in your carry-on plane.
  • However, you can bring a maximum of two batteries that break the 8 gram rule — but, combined, these two monster batteries cannot have more than 25 grams of lithium.

Also see FAA’s safety tips for when you’re carrying several lithium-ion batteries. These tips were actually very helpful for me — I hadn’t realized that just letting these batteries rattle around in your bag could be dangerous. Whoops.

Happy trails!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: