We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Spare lithium batteries banned on US flights

Department of Transport warns of fire risk

New rules have gone into effect that prohibit air passengers in the US from carrying spare lithium batteries in their checked baggage.

The new rules, announced on Friday by the US Department of Transport (DOT), are designed to reduce the risk of fires in aircraft. Lithium batteries have been identified as a possible cause of several aircraft fires.

Passengers will still be able to carry lithium batteries in checked bags if they are installed in a device like a laptop or digital camera. But loose batteries will need to be put in a plastic bag and carried on the plane as hand luggage, the DOT said.

The rules also limit each passenger to two 'extended-life' lithium batteries. These are larger batteries with more than 8 grams of equivalent lithium content, examples of which are pictured in the DOT's statement.

The rules are also described at the SafeTravel.dot.gov website.

In February 2006 a United Parcel Service flight landed at Philadelphia International Airport after the crew detected a fire in its cargo. The National Transportation Safety Board said later that it found several burned out laptop batteries on the plane, and could not rule them out as a possible cause of the fire.

Lithium batteries are a fire hazard because of the heat they can generate when they are damaged or suffer a short circuit, the NTSB said at a hearing about the Philadelphia incident last July.

"Several lithium battery incidents have occurred in recent years, including a lithium-ion battery fire that occurred less than two months ago on an airplane in Chicago," the NTSB said.

Several big makers of laptops and cell phones, including Dell and Nokia, have recalled batteries recently because of flaws that created a potential fire hazard.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Why Apple shouldn't be blamed for exploitation in China and Indonesia