|The powers that be at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHSMA) have determined that batteries are a potential fire risk. As a result, you will no longer be allowed to bring spare batteries in your checked luggage.|
|Batteries actually installed inside devices are OK, and most spare batteries in your carry-on are fine, too. But carry-on batteries are now governed by a complicated new set of rules.|
|You can carry batteries with 8 grams of lithium or less in them in your carry on bags. They now, however, must be carried now in plastic bags. Cell phone, PDA and other gadget batteries, plus most laptop batteries, contain less than 8 grams of lithium.|
I carry lots of batteries with me. Spare laptop batteries, rechargeables, and the usual disposable kind included. And I haven’t run across any trouble so far. But I haven’t flown since January 1, when Mike published this.
Gordon Haff unpacks the rules a bit more, saying,
|The “two-battery limit” applies only to lithium ion batteries with more than “8 grams of equivalent lithium content, (which) is approximately 100 watt-hours.” The Reader’s Digest version is that this limit roughly corresponds to the largest notebook batteries.|
|In other words, this limit shouldn’t much affect most travelers because there’s no limit on typical camera, cell phone, toy, and notebook batteries. So what is affected? Things like external notebook and professional videographer batteries. (I suspect that independent videographers will be one of the groups this new rule could inconvenience.)|
|One issue is that implementing the rule in the field is basically impossible, unless the screeners are just given some rule of thumb like “no limit on notebook batteries or anything smaller.”…|
|Finally, I think it’s worth noting that–much fevered commentary aside–this is not some new inane security rule. It’s a response to lithium batteries being suspected as the cause in at least one cargo plane fire.|
In practice, how will the TSA people know what the right size battery is? I guess we’ll see.
Anybody experience problems with this yet?
As it happens I don’t have any big spare laptop batteries with me, this time. But I do have a pile of little rechargeable ones. We’ll see how they do on Friday at LAX.
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