Travelling with Spare Batteries

Information for Passengers who are travelling with batteries that are not installed in devices

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.

 

Spare batteries

Carry-on Baggage

Checked (hold) Baggage

On One's Person

Airline approval required 

Spare lithium ion batteries exceeding a watt-hour rating of 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh when carried by passengers may be carried in carry-on baggage.

Each lithium ion cell or battery must be individually protected so as to prevent short circuits (by placement in original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, e.g. by taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch).

No more than two individually protected spare batteries per person may be carried.

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 with this.

Travelling with portable electronic devices that contain lithium ion batteries

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Spare fuel cell cartridges.

.

Refuelling of fuel cells on board an aircraft is not permitted, although the installation of a spare cartridge is allowed.

No more than two spare fuel cell cartridges may be carried by per passenger.

The airline’s approval is not required to carry spare fuel cell cartridges. However, the passenger must contact their airline prior to travel to obtain information contained within the ICAO Technical Instructions.

Travelling with portable electronic devices powered by fuel cells 

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Spare lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries

When carried by passengers for personal use these must be individually protected so as to prevent short circuits (by placement in original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals, e.g. by taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch) and carried in carry-on baggage only.

Each spare battery must not exceed the following:

  • lithium metal or lithium alloy 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.

Travelling with portable electronic devices containing lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries

Yes

No
Yes

No

Spare non-spillable batteries must meet the requirements of the ICAO Technical Instructions.

  • No more than two individually protected batteries may be carried per person.
  • Batteries must not have a voltage greater than 12 volts and a watt-hour rating of not greater than 100 Wh.
  • Batteries must be protected from short circuit by the effective insulation of exposed terminals.

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 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
  • inadvertent activation.

Travelling with portable electronic devices powered by non spillable batteries.

Yes

Yes

No

No