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Batteries Carried by Airline Passengers
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What kinds of batteries does the FAA allow in carry-on baggage (in the aircraft cabin)?
Passengers can carry most consumer-type batteries and portable battery-powered electronic devices for their own personal use.
Spare batteries must be protected from damage and short circuit. Battery-powered devices must be protected from accidental activation and heat generation. Batteries allowed in carry-on baggage include:
Dry cell alkaline batteries
: typical AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, button-sized cells, etc.
Dry cell rechargeable batteries
such as Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCad). For rechargeable
lithium-ion batteries; see next paragraph.
(a.k.a.: rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer, LIPO, secondary lithium). Passengers may carry all
consumer-sized lithium-ion batteries (no more than 8 grams of equivalent lithium content or 100 watt hours per battery). This size covers AA, AAA, cell phone, PDA, camera, camcorder, handheld game, tablet, and standard laptop computer batteries. The watt hours (Wh) rating is marked on newer lithium ion batteries and is explained in #3 below.
Passengers can also bring two (2) larger lithium-ion batteries (more than 8 less than 25 grams of equivalent lithium content per
battery or about 100-300 watt hours per battery) in their carry-on. This size covers the largest aftermarket extended-life laptop batteries and most lithium-ion batteries for professional-grade audio/visual equipment. Most lithium-ion batteries are below this size.
Lithium metal batteries
(a.k.a.: non-rechargeable lithium, primary lithium). These batteries are often used with cameras and
other small personal electronics. Consumer-sized batteries (up to 2 grams of lithium per battery) may be carried. This includes all the typical non-rechargeable lithium batteries used in cameras (AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, etc.) as well as the flat round lithium button cells.
Nonspillable wet batteries (absorbed electrolyte),
limited to 12 volts and 100 watt hours per battery. These batteries must be
the absorbed electrolyte type (gel cells, AGM, etc.) that meet the requirements of 49 CFR 173.159a(d); i.e., no electrolyte will flow from a cracked battery case. Batteries must be in strong outer packagings or installed in equipment. Passengers are limited to two (2) spare (uninstalled) batteries. Spare batteries’ terminals must be protected (non-conductive caps, tape, etc.) within the outer packaging. Batteries and outer packaging must be marked “nonspillable” or “nonspillable battery.” Note: This exception is for portable electronic devices, not for vehicle batteries. There are separate exceptions for powered wheelchairs.
Q2. What kinds of batteries does the FAA allow in checked baggage?
Except for spare (uninstalled) lithium metal and lithium-ion batteries, all the batteries allowed in carry-on baggage are also
allowed in checked baggage. The batteries must be protected from damage and short circuit or installed in a device. Battery-powered
devices—particularly those with moving parts or those that could heat up—must be protected from accidental activation. Spare
lithium metal and lithium ion/polymer batteries are prohibited in checked baggage
Q3. How do I determine the watt hours (Wh) rating of a battery?
To determine watt hours (Wh), multiply the volts (V) by the ampere hours (Ah). Example: A 12-volt battery rated to 8 Amp
hours is rated at 96 watt hours (12 x 8 = 96). For milliamp hours (mAh), multiply by the volts and divide by 1000.
Q4. Is there a limit to the number of batteries I can carry?
There is no limit on the number of most consumer-size batteries or battery-powered devices that a passenger can carry for
personal use. The larger lithium ion batteries are limited to two (2) batteries per passenger; see “Lithium-ion batteries” explanation above. Only two (2) spare/uninstalled nonspillable wet (absorbed electrolyte) batteries may be carried.
Q5. What does “protected from short circuit” mean?
When metal such as keys, coins, tools or other batteries comes in contact with both terminals of a battery it can create a “circuit”
or path for electricity to flow through. Electrical current flowing through this unprotected short circuit can cause extreme heat and sparks and even start a fire. To prevent short circuits, keep spare batteries in their original packaging, a battery case, or a separate pouch or pocket. Make sure loose batteries can’t move around. Placing tape over the terminals of unpackaged batteries also helps to insulate them from short circuit.
For a quick reference guide, see illustrated table on next page…
January 9, 2014 Office of Hazardous Materials Safety http://www.faa.gov/Go/PackSafe
Batteries Allowed in Airline Passenger Baggage in the US
Based on US DOT regulations (49 CFR, Sec. 175.10). TSA security, individual airline, and international rules may, at times, be more restrictive.
Type of Battery
There is no limit Allowed in carry-on
Allowed in checked
to the number of batteries or devices carried for
Dry alkaline batteries
– Nickel Metal Hydride
(rechargeable lithium, lithium
polymer, LIPO) as used in small consumer
electronics, such as cell phones, tablets,
cameras, PDAs, and laptops. Limited to 8 grams
or less equivalent lithium content (100 watt hours2
Larger lithium ion,
Outside the US the limit is 160 watt hours.
Limit: Two (2) batteries per passenger
(non-rechargeable) as used in
small consumer electronics such as cameras,
LED flashlights, watches, etc. (2 grams or less
Nonspillable wet batteries (absorbed
for portable electronic devices.
Limit: Two (2) spare
batteries per passenger.
1Note: TSA security rules prohibit some power tools in carry-on baggage. 2Note: Watt hours (Wh) = Volts (V) x Amp hours (Ah) or V x mAh ÷ 1000
For more information and for rules on battery-powered wheelchairs or assistive devices, please go to http://www.faa.gov/Go/Packsafe or call
the DOT Hazardous Materials Information Center at 1-800-467-4922. For TSA security restrictions please go to http://www.tsa.gov
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