Travelling with Items that contain Batteries

Information for passengers travelling with items such as mobile phones and computers

The following information is taken from the current edition of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.

Passengers must contact their airline in advance to gain approval when planning to travel with certain types of dangerous goods as indicated below. 

Restrictions implemented by other countries in the interests of aviation security may further limit or forbid the carriage of some of the items listed in these pages.  Additionally, airlines and security screening agencies have the right to refuse the carriage of certain items.

Lithium Batteries

The term “lithium battery” refers to a family of batteries with different chemistries, comprising of many types of cathodes and electrolytes. They are separated into:

  • Lithium metal batteries 
    generally non-rechargeable batteries that have lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode.
    Lithium metal batteries are generally used to power devices such as watches, calculators, cameras, temperature data loggers.
     
  • Lithium-ion batteries (sometimes abbreviated Li-ion batteries) 
    a type of rechargeable battery commonly used in consumer electronics. Also included within lithium-ion batteries are lithium polymer batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are generally found in mobile telephones, laptop computers, etc.

 

Items containing batteries

Carry-on Baggage

Checked (hold) Baggage

On One's Person

Airline approval required 

Battery-powered equipment capable of generating extreme heat, which could cause a fire if activated (e.g. underwater high intensity lamps).

The heat-producing component and the battery are isolated from each other by the removal of the heat-producing component, the battery or another component (e.g. fuse).

Any battery that has been removed must be protected against short circuit (by placing in its original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, e.g. by taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate bag or protective pouch).

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Battery powered suitcases powered by nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Any electrical battery or battery powered device which has the potential of a dangerous evolution of heat must be prepared for transport so as to prevent:

a) short-circuit by disconnection of the battery and effective insulation of exposed terminals; and

b) accidental activation.

The airline’s approval is not required to carry a battery-powered suitcase. However, the passenger must contact their airline prior to travel to obtain information contained within the ICAO Technical Instructions.

Yes

Yes

N/A
No

Portable Electronic Devices 

Carry-on Baggage

Checked (hold) Baggage

On One's Person

Airline approval required 

Portable electronic devices containing lithium ion batteries exceeding a watt-hour rating of 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh in equipment when carried by passengers for personal use.

Batteries and cells must be of a type which meets the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3. It may be necessary to contact the manufacturer to confirm that they have complied.

Should be carried as carry-on baggage.

Travelling with spare lithium ion batteries

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Portable electronic devices powered by fuel cells

(for example cameras, mobile phones, laptop computers and camcorders).

Fuel cells containing fuel are permitted in carry-on baggage only.

Fuel cells and fuel cell cartridges may only contain flammable liquids, corrosive substances, liquefied flammable gas, water reactive substances or hydrogen in metal hydride.

Travelling with spare fuel cell cartridges

Yes

No

Yes

No

Portable electronic devices containing lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries

(watches, calculating machines, cameras, cellular phones, laptop computers, camcorders, etc.) when carried by passengers or crew for personal use.

Each installed or spare battery must not exceed the following:

  • lithium metal batteries, a lithium content of not more than 2 grams;

or

  • lithium ion batteries, a watt-hour rating of not more than 100 Wh.

Batteries and cells must be of a type which meets the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3. It may be necessary to contact the manufacturer to confirm that this has been complied with.

Should be carried as carry-on baggage. If a device is carried in checked baggage, measures must be taken to prevent unintentional activation.

Travelling with spare lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Portable electronic devices containing a non-spillable battery

These items must meet the requirements of the ICAO Technical Instructions.

The battery must not have a voltage greater than 12 volts and a watt-hour rating of not greater than 100 Wh; and the equipment either must be protected from inadvertent activation, or the battery must be disconnected and exposed terminals must be insulated.

Batteries can be considered as non-spillable provided that they are capable of withstanding the vibration and pressure differential tests given below, without leakage of battery fluid.
 

Vibration test: The passenger must contact the airline for further guidance.

Pressure differential test: The passenger must contact the airline for further guidance.

Non-spillable type batteries which are an integral part of, and necessary for the operation of, mechanical or electronic equipment must be securely fastened in the battery holder on the equipment and protected in such a manner so as to prevent damage and short circuit.

It is required that at a temperature of 55°C, the electrolyte will not flow from a ruptured or cracked case. The battery must not contain any free or unabsorbed liquid. Equipment having the potential of dangerous evolution of heat must be prepared for transport so as to prevent:

a) a short circuit (e.g. in the case of batteries, by the effective insulation of exposed terminals; or, in the case of equipment, by disconnection of the battery and protection of exposed terminals); and

b) inadvertent activation.

Travelling with spare non-spillable batteries

Yes

Yes

No

No