TSA restricts lithium batteries on airplanes

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TH O, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. TH O

    TH O Guest

    The TSA is going to restrict lithium battery carrying on airplanes
    beginning Jan 1. The rules are ridiculously complicated but it sounds
    like the max in carryon is two or three lithium batteries (counting the
    installed battery as one of the two max per the chart, or two spares
    allowed per the text) and there is a maximum total lithium weight

    What are people who carry an SLR, P&S, cellphone, and laptop -- all of
    which use lithium batteries -- supposed to do?


    TH O, Dec 29, 2007
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  2. Not fly and reduce global warming, obviously.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Dec 29, 2007
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  3. TH O

    Roy Guest

    I agree that the presentation is confusing; but the way I read the
    rules, I don't think cell phone and most laptop batteries count
    against the limit. Quoting from the above web site:

    "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."

    Important note: they aren't talking about the actual weight of the
    battery, but rather the equivalent weight of the lithium it contains.

    Note the use of the word "aggregate" to indicate that it means total
    weight when referring to the spares. Also note the phrase "*any*
    batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold". And in this bit:

    "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."

    Note the absence of the word "aggregate" or any other indication that
    the 8-gram limit is a total weight of all batteries. I think what
    they mean is that you can bring any number of lithium ion batteries
    which, individually, have less than the 8-gram equivalent lithium
    content. And they say that includes all cell phones and most laptop
    batteries. In other words, those don't count against the limit.

    The only limit on spare batteries appears to be on those that
    individually exceed the 8-gram equivalent limit. I haven't done the
    homework yet to see what the equivalent lithium content of my D80
    battery is, so I don't know whether that might be an issue; but the
    way I read it, cell phones and laptops won't enter into it.
    Roy, Dec 29, 2007
  4. TH O

    Robert Haar Guest

    According to the rules, batteries installed in equipment that is in checked
    baggage are OK - and we all confident that our checked baggage is safe. But
    spare batteries not installed in equipment are prohibited, What is the
    reasoning behind that?

    Pity anyone who has to travel with cordless power tools using Lithium
    batteries. I'm sue my small collection would be way over the top of the
    quantity limit.

    Is TSA worried about the batteries catching fire. If so, maybe the Feds
    should do a better job of regulating safety in consumer devices.

    Also, the regulations don't seem to differentiate between Lithium Ion
    rechargeable batteries and disposable Lithium batteries. Are the risks the
    Robert Haar, Dec 29, 2007
  5. TH O

    Guest Guest

    something metal could short the exposed contacts. they are also saying
    batteries in carry-on luggage should be in plastic bags.
    Guest, Dec 29, 2007
  6. TH O

    Paul Coen Guest

    Yes, that's what it looks like. Any number under 8 grams, plus two over
    8 grams with a total aggregate weight lithium content below 25 grams.
    Overall, it's not a bad idea - shorting a larger Lithium-ion battery
    would be an issue. And trying to keep it in the cabin where at least
    someone can see the smoke and get a fire extinguisher is probably smart
    as well.

    In practice - having seen a TSA employee go nuts over a woman who
    dropped down to her two-carry-on limit by putting a small fanny pack
    inside a larger (but still under the maximum size) bag (I'd say the
    average TSA security checker has about 0% chance of working this out.

    People are going to be losing a lot of expensive batteries - I'd say
    that extra laptop batteries not in the computer, and any "funny"
    batteries not in equipment are going to get rejected. The only good
    thing is that a lot of well-heeled, connected travelers - the sort of
    people who can really make a stink - are going to get hassled first.

    Oh, and that woman at Newark airport who got hassled? When the TSA
    person called her supervisor, the supervisor told them to send her
    through, and he would meet the passenger at the actual gate to question
    them. I'd take that to mean the supervisor thought the TSA employee was
    a bit nutty and didn't take it too seriously.
    Paul Coen, Dec 29, 2007
  7. TH O

    Father Kodak Guest

    For several years now, it has been a _colossal_ pain to travel with
    film and film cameras. Especially high-speed film. That factor alone
    is a reason to go digital.

    Now that I've (finally) gotten a D SLR, I learn that I apparently
    can't take spare batteries with me. What am I supposed to do? _Buy_
    spare batteries at my destination city and then discard them before I
    return home??

    And spare batteries for the flash unit(s) and the personal storage
    device(s), never mind the laptop?

    Somebody better tell the airlines quick that this is going to screw up
    a lot of their leisure travel business, as well as business travel. If
    I were a professional photographer, I'd be on the phone right now with
    my Congressman.

    Amtrak, anyone?

    Father Kodak
    Father Kodak, Dec 29, 2007
  8. TH O

    snapper Guest

    Just hide them in a bag of cocaine. They seem to have forgotten about drugs. ;-)
    snapper, Dec 29, 2007
  9. TH O

    Ryan Robbins Guest

    Right off the bat, the Web page you cite defines "spare battery." So there's
    nothing wrong with carrying a cell phone, camera, laptop, GPS receiver, etc.
    onto the plane if they each use a lithium battery.
    Ryan Robbins, Dec 29, 2007
  10. TH O

    mscotgrove Guest

    Quote ---
    "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"

    It s both SPARE and INSTALLED

    Just to add to UK problems, Gatwick will not relax the one carry on
    rule on Jan 7th, though Heathrow will.

    mscotgrove, Dec 29, 2007
  11. TH O

    Ron Hunter Guest

    TSA is famous for implementing things without rational considerations.
    Many people have NO IDEA what kind of batteries are in their devices,
    nor do they care. Just how do they plan to implement this without
    monumental delays. While it is fairly trivial to discard a $10 pocket
    knife you forgot to put in your checked bags, ditching a $500 camera or
    your cell phone is going to cause serious disruptions.

    My take on this idea is that it won't fly, anywhere.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 29, 2007
  12. TH O

    Ron Hunter Guest

    My wife carries a large bag on trips, and puts her regular purse, and
    several other things in it to come in under the carry on limit. No one
    has ever complained. As long as the bag isn't large enough to impede
    boarding, I can't see why an airline would object to this, and it is NO
    business of TSA how many bags one has at the security checkin, as long
    as they aren't too large. Putting one bag inside another is a common
    practice for convenience.
    Let's face it, some of the TSA employees aren't the brightest bulbs in
    the chandelier.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 29, 2007
  13. TH O

    Ron Hunter Guest

    They are NOT there to find drugs. Drugs don't blow up airplanes.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 29, 2007
  14. Exactly what folk going on mountaineering expeditions have been
    having to do for years, with respect to backpacking stoves and fuel.

    We're lucky the airlines having yet realised how useful a stabbing
    weapon a strong pen can be, or we wouldn't even be able to carry on
    Chris Malcolm, Dec 29, 2007
  15. TH O

    Anonymous Guest


    Now *that* was funny. :)
    Anonymous, Dec 29, 2007
  16. TH O

    Anonymous Guest

    Does there have to be any "reason" involved? ;-)

    Obviously, this is just another feel-good do-nothing rule designed to
    placate the dumb sheeple who will never have a clue, and to a lesser
    degree cover the asses of the TSA.

    If Lithium batteries were any sort of credible threat to begin with
    this rule would be a joke. The BadGuys(tm) could trivially circumvent
    it by carrying as many various devices with installed batteries as
    necessary, or combining resources after boarding.

    Since Lithium batteries are *not* any sort of credible threat to
    aircraft safety, this new rule is nothing but a *pathetic* joke that
    accomplishes nothing but inconveniencing innocent travelers.
    Anonymous, Dec 29, 2007
  17. TH O

    TH O Guest

    Take a look again. As I mentioned in my second sentence, the page counts
    the internal battery as one of the two in one place.
    TH O, Dec 29, 2007
  18. TH O

    TH O Guest

    So you walked to Japan, huh?
    TH O, Dec 29, 2007
  19. TH O

    TH O Guest

    Now to confuse things more, a press release implies that the rules
    affect huge extended life batteries.

    It's pretty pathetic that these three agencies couldn't provide clear
    rules. Did anyone review these announcements to figure out if anyone
    would know what they were talking about??
    TH O, Dec 29, 2007
  20. It's not about bad guys, it's about fires. And it appears to be complete
    brain damage.


    "Safety testing conducted by the FAA found that current aircraft cargo fire
    suppression system would not be capable of suppressing a fire if a shipment
    of non-rechargeable lithium batteries were ignited in flight."

    What restricting passengers from carrying a few batteries has to do with
    fires in _commercial shipments_ of batteries is beyond me...

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Dec 29, 2007
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