At a glance
- Thousands of people are expected to be flying this Christmas period.
- Many will be travelling with presents or party kits that contain lithium batteries or party materials if faulty or damaged these can catch fire.
- The UK Civil Aviation Authority is asking passengers to follow the safety advice and pack correctly.
Ahead of the busiest travel period for the aviation sector, the UK Civil Aviation Authority is warning passengers to travel safely and pack correctly so that presents and party materials reach their destinations without any disruption.
Every year, hundreds of gifts, packages, and party materials are transported by passengers to and from the UK over the festive period that may contain a lithium battery.
The regulator has issued advice to consumers to help them pack their Christmas gifts and party materials correctly to make sure they are flight-ready and aware of the risks of lithium batteries.
Lithium batteries power everything from vapes and mobile phones to cameras and power banks. If they become faulty or damaged, they can cause an intense fire that is difficult to extinguish – both in the cabin or hold of an aircraft that can be a significant issue.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s top tips include:
- Sleigh it smartly: When it comes to your lithium batteries, keep the joy close by carrying them in your carry-on baggage, this includes vapes and e-cigarettes. Any power banks or spare batteries must be in a cabin bag. Passengers can only carry a maximum of two extra batteries. By carrying on this helps ensure a swift and secure screening process. Passengers should also put the devices in airplane mode when asked by the cabin crew.
- Check It Twice: Be sure to check things twice and be aware that if devices or presents containing lithium batteries are in a checked-in bag they should be completely turned off and not in standby mode.
- Stay Informed, Fly Informed: Before you take off, stay informed about the airline's specific policies regarding lithium batteries. Different carriers may have slight variations, so double-checking keeps the yuletide vibes flowing smoothly. Most passengers will also receive an email from their airline before they fly that sets out what they can pack and where. If in doubt, check the advice available on the UK Civil Aviation Authority website.
Tendai Mutambirwa, Interim Group Director of Safety and Airspace Regulation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:
“Christmas is one of the busiest times for international air travel with people flying across the world to see friends and family. Almost all of them will be carrying their own devices or presents that contain lithium batteries.
“Our advice to passengers will help them understand the rules for carrying devices and batteries so everyone can power up the holiday spirit responsibly.”
Passengers may also be travelling with Christmas or New Year party materials that contain explosives.
For the UK that includes party poppers and Christmas crackers. Party poppers are banned from being flown in aircraft, while Christmas crackers can be carried but must be in their original packaging.
Safety rules also apply for items with lithium batteries and explosive material being sent by air.
Anyone sending presents by air must state if they contain lithium batteries. Normally this would be when you give it to the company arranging to transport it, for example a post office or courier. This enables them to correctly package the item and make sure it travels safely. In many countries domestic post also travels by air.
Notes to editors
The UK is also running a separate awareness campaign aimed at companies and individuals shipping larger amounts of lithium batteries and devoices with batteries in them. These have extra safety precautions in place that must be complied with