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Can I carry this in my luggage? Batteries

by on December 16, 2015
 

The main types of batteries are described under the headings below, to help you decide whether you can carry your batteries with you when you travel by air. Generally, if you have lithium batteries, battery powered electronic or other small consumer items, the batteries and items are safe to take with you. There are a few things to consider however, and while there are some variations depending on airlines or jurisdictions most follow a generally common-sense approach. All airlines apply the ‘for personal use’ policy.

In addition IATA held a workshop in Canada at the end of September 2015 to discuss improvements in the carriage of lithium batteries which will be attended by representatives from airlines, battery manufacturers and shippers. This is likely to result in some minor adjustments, though probably more aimed at shippers rather than passengers.

Economy Traveller continues to monitoring the latest restrictions on the carrying of electronic devices (including cameras) larger than a average sized mobile phone.

UPDATES: lithium batteries, battery powered devices

  • Do you use any ‘Smart Baggage’ which uses Integrated Lithium Batteries and/or Electronics? Many airlines, including Malaysia Airlines, who have issued this advisory, restrict their carriage effective 15th January 2018.
  • Since October 2016, the Samsung Note 7 is on the list of prohibited items for carriage following a number of well publicised cases of exploding batteries. The US has issued a blanket ban and other countries and airlines are generally following this advisory.
  • In December 2015 Qantas joined a number of airlines, including American Airlines, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific in updating their dangerous goods policy.  They no longer accept carriage of self-balancing boards, also known as hover boards, in carry-on or checked baggage across its domestic and international network.
  • This includes include devices with single wheels such as uni-wheels and air-wheels, as well as devices with two wheels, including hover boards, air boards, smart scooters and mini segways. These devices usually contain lithium ion batteries and there have been various issues reported relating to their safety. If not properly handled, they may short circuit internally, leading to overheating. Therefore, you’ll have to leave them at home.
  • Following an incident on a Malindo Air flight from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur in October 2015 most airlines have restricted carriage of electronic cigarettes. The device may not be used during the flight and must be turned off. Any spare batteries should not be packed in checked luggage.

We, the travelling public really need to know what we can and can’t carry, so….

Lithium batteries

This includes both rechargeable and non-rechargeable lithium batteries, including

  • cell phone batteries,
  • laptop batteries,
  • external batteries,
  • portable rechargers (or power banks)
  • It also includes the batteries used in your cameras and the little round ones in your camera remote.

These are all fine and you can take them with you. There isn’t generally a limit on the number you can carry, but they must be stored correctly. The + and – terminals must not be allowed to connect, and you should put them in your hand carry baggage.

As the airport bag scanner is usually your first stop at the airport, make sure that any batteries are already removed so you don’t have to remove them at that point.

Check the rating on the battery as well.

Rechargeable lithium ion batteries, such as the ones shown here are limited to a rating of 100 watt hours (Wh) per battery. This should be printed on them.

Non- rechargeable lithium metal batteries are limited to 2 grams of lithium per battery.

If you’re carrying spares for either, ensure they are easy to remove, in case your hand carry bag is overweight. Airlines often take overweight bags at the departure gate to be stored in the hold.

NiMH batteries

Rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries such as the ones shown. These include flash batteries, or if you just happen to be taking a robot vacuum cleaner with you, we’re talking about those. They need to be hand carried as well. If you are taking your robot cleaner (stop laughing!), remove the battery and pack the body in your checked baggage. Just take the battery with you in your hand luggage.

This also applies to Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) batteries. Both types must be 100Wh or less and properly packed to ensure that the terminals can’t touch. (original packing / tape the terminals or pack in individual containers)

Alkaline batteries

batteries-2392These are your everyday AA, AAA, C, D or the rectangular 9V batteries. These are the ones you put in everything from clocks to children’s toys. They are environmentally unfriendly ones you use and throw away.

  • Make sure they are not more than 12volts.
  • Make sure they can’t make connections between + and -.
  • Either keep them in the device, or if spares, in the original packaging.

Other types of batteries

These may include

  • batteries for a mobility device,
  • news camera lighting batteries,
  • childrens’ toy vehicles or
  • an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for computer back-up.

These use Sealed Lead Acid Batteries / Non spillable wet batteries which contain either a gel or Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM). You may take these on board with you, but this type of product is usually heavy. They may be packed as checked baggage, but only when installed in the device. Spares must be carried in hand carry bags.

A number of airlines do have specific guidelines for specific items. However, they don’t vary a lot and batteries are usually added into a list of ‘dangerous goods’. You can usually find this information in the Planning/Before you fly tabs on the airline website.

Virgin Australia has probably the best specific list and Qantas includes batteries in their ‘dangerous goods’ list. Jetstar lists ‘dangerous goods’, but follows the same policies as Qantas.

AirAsia is silent on batteries other than ‘devices with spillable batteries’ which forms part of their dangerous goods policy and US Airlines generally follow the FAA Guidelines.

Singapore Airlines has a general ‘dangerous goods’ policy and Air New Zealand even includes a Avalanche rescue backpack in their list.

For further information IATA have material on Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). If you are unsure or need more information on quantities or type, please contact the airline directly before you fly.

comments
 
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  • hilsha
    March 7, 2018 at 6:28 PM

    can i carry packed nuts in my hand bag in the airasia flight

    Reply

    • March 7, 2018 at 7:07 PM

      If it’s just a small snack, I don’t think anyone will mind. Obviously they wouldn’t be happy if you bring a packed meal with you, but a small bag of nuts should be fine. I’ve done it myself with no problems. Just remember to eat them all if you are travelling to Australia or New Zealand as you can’t take them in with you.

      Reply

  • Abdul wahid
    May 14, 2018 at 5:20 PM

    How can I carry a electric car toy for children…it is 20 kgs and bigger in size.. How can I carry in cabin or luggage..in Malaysian airlines

    Reply

    • May 14, 2018 at 7:01 PM

      You will need to contact the airline directly as they will make the decision on whether or not you can carry this item. It appears that it is too big for your hand luggage. If there is a battery, this is the other consideration.

      Reply

  • Abdul wahid
    May 14, 2018 at 5:22 PM

    I want to carry that car from Kuala Lumpur to Bangalore India

    Reply

  • Mainul Hussain
    June 10, 2018 at 8:34 PM

    Hello I am flying to Bali from London via Kula lumpur, will be be able to carry on my Mavic Pro drone with me with the batteries being in a protective case?
    Thank you

    Reply

    • June 11, 2018 at 12:44 PM

      If the drone is packed with the batteries in separate protective packaging, you should have no problems. Make sure the batteries, at least, are with you in your hand carry bag.

      Reply

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