New Lithium Battery Rules for U.S. Airplanes
Starting in 2008, there are new rules for bringing lithium batteries on airplanes:
The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of “equivalent lithium content.” 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:
- Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.
- You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.
- For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.
- Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!
Near as I can tell, this affects pretty much no one except audio/visual professionals. And the TSA isn’t saying whether this is a safety issue or a security issue. They aren’t giving any reason. But those of you who paid close attention to the Second Movie-Plot Threat Contest know of the dangers:
Terrorists camouflages bombs as college textbooks, with detonators hidden in the lithium-ion batteries of various electronics. The terrorist nonchalantly wanders up by the cockpit with his armed textbook and detonates it right after the seat belt sign goes off, but while the plane is still over an inhabited area. Thousands die, with most of the casualties on the ground.
Chat about the ban on FlyerTalk. Does any other country have any similar restrictions?
EDITED TO ADD (12/28): It’s not a TSA rule; it’s an FAA rule.
The FAA has found that current systems for putting out aircraft cargo fires could not suppress a fire if a shipment of non-rechargeable batteries ignited during flight, the release said.
Here’s the actual rule; it’s the DOT that published it. Lithium batteries have been banned as cargo for a long time now. This is the DC-8 fire that led to the ban.
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