Lithium batteries are safe to take with you on an airplane as long as you make a few preparations before you fly. In this article, we are going to talk about all the concerns with lithium ion batteries, what they are, and why we need to take a few extra steps to transport the batteries. Follow these tips and we will get you through an airport with little difficulty.
First off, let’s understand the discussion around the safety of the lithium ion battery and what it is. Lithium Ion batteries are made with a hard thick outer casing and two compartments in the middle separated by a plastic lining between them. They are designed to be safe and can take some punishment such as dropping the battery on the ground or bumping up against objects like a table. However you want to avoid extreme damage to the battery. If the lining in the center of the battery should break, and the material in the two chambers meet, it could be possible for the battery to catch fire or explode. Since the casing is extremely durable, the chances are greater to be in a plane crash, than a battery to spontaneously combust. Think of the gas pipes in your stove at home. Unless the gas pipes are broken and the gas is exposed to fire, your stove or heater will not explode. Most of us live under a roof with a gas heating or cooking and it’s not likely to change any time soon.
One other way a battery can catch fire is if the metal contact points of two lithium batteries touch one another and make contact. Since power banks and rechargeable batteries do not have exposed contact points this is almost impossible.
Now that you know what the concern is with lithium ion batteries here is what you do before check-in at an airport.
How to prepare batteries for a security check
- Remove the batteries from your device before check-in
- Cover the opening port of the battery with a piece of tape (see image below)
- If using more than one battery, place each battery in a separate compartment in your hand luggage or use a small bag or container to stow each one apart.
- Make sure the batteries you are carrying, show the wattage on the batteries outer case.
- Present the batteries to the agent to show you have done your due diligence in securing your battery. Never try to hide the fact you are traveling with batteries.
All security agents want to see is that you have secured your battery properly and that your battery is under 100 watts. If you prove you have done your part, you should get a green light. If you are flying with more than two lithium batteries be sure to check with your airline on the allowed number of batteries you are able to fly with. Some airlines in different countries may impose stricter regulations. Be sure you know what they are before you go.
A Few Rules to Remember When Flying With Lithium Ion Batteries:
- Batteries must be under 100 watts
- Batteries must not be damaged
- If traveling with more than one battery, stow each battery in a separate location or use a protective cover.
- Batteries must be removed from the device and only placed in carry-on luggage. Carrying the batteries in checked luggage is not permitted.