Print 47 comment(s) - last by spluurfg.. on Jan 2 at 10:49 PM

The U.S. DOT advises that any spare batteries should be stored in a zip-lock bag or the factory packaging to prevent short-circuits.  (Source: U.S. Department of Transportation)
New rules limit lithium content in batteries carried on aircraft

New rules went into effect today that could affect travelers who carry portable electronics on flights. The new regulations limit the amount of lithium in luggage and carry-on items -- specifically with regards to lithium in batteries.

The new rules state that spare batteries cannot be packed inside checked luggage, but spare batteries can be carried on board in carry-on baggage. Those brave enough to check baggage with electronic devices inside can leave installed batteries in the devices.

The U.S. Department of Transportation does not specify how many batteries are acceptable for travel.  The Department states passengers can carry spare batteries for electronic devices and that the lithium content in all batteries must weigh less than 25 grams.

To help explain the strange equivalent lithium content rule, uses an example dividing the total amount of lithium as Watt-hours. The DOT claims lithium grams is roughly equivalent to 300 Watt-hours of battery time.

The popular Dell XPS m1330 notebook uses several different batteries. The 9-cell batteries, the largest available for the system, are rated at 85 Watt-hours. That would mean a pair of spare batteries for the notebook (170 Watt-hours) are well within the 25 gram (300 Watt-hours) total aggregate lithium content.   However, a passenger can only care the installed 9-cell battery with two spares before exceeding the 25g limit.

Devices that use lithium-metal batteries have a limit of two grams of lithium-metal per battery and according to almost all lithium-metal batteries used in consumer devices comply with that limit. However, devices with lithium metal-batteries over the two gram limit are barred from the aircraft entirely.

These new rules are due to the potential fire hazard posed by rechargeable lithium batteries. The massive recalls and wide spread reports of fires resulting from laptop batteries resulting in the massive battery recalls of 2007 sparked the new battery policies now in effect.

However, the FAA is very clear on why such strict limits must be imposed.  In a statement released yesterday, the Administration stated, "Safety testing conducted by the FAA found that current aircraft cargo fire suppression system would not be capable of suppressing a fire if a shipment of non-rechargeable lithium batteries were ignited in flight."

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Anyone find this stupid?
By tdktank59 on 1/1/2008 1:39:23 PM , Rating: 2
So does anyone else find this kinda stupid...

ive only heard of 3 batteries explode in my life... (or ignight). Ive heard of the chargers catching fire more often.

So what happens on those really long flights from LA to Japan or NY to Japan (w/e way it is i dont fly those but you get the idea) where you might have to do work for the 13 hours the trip is? 2 batteries just dont cut it...

Unlike the macbooks (pro) with the bulit in battery other laptops normaly draw a ton more power...

I know they are trying to prevent a once in a blue moon thing turning into a big thing with a plane crashing to the ground. but come on have you heard of a fire on a plane casue by Lithium batteries?

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Lifted on 1/1/2008 2:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
Long international flights usually have power outlets available for all or many of the seats.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By BikeDude on 1/1/2008 6:02:26 PM , Rating: 2

...but perhaps you implied business class?

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Lifted on 1/1/2008 7:00:50 PM , Rating: 2
I clearly over estimated the amount of airlines that had this policy as I aparently always fly airlines that have the option. I usually fly premium economy or business on long hauls anyway so it's never really an issue, but I always notice that it's either available to all economy seats or shared between a few on the flights I take. The option is available to you if you care that much about it, just choose an airline that offers it in economy, like American, Continental, etc. You're obviously going to get squat with airlines like United and the like.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Alexstarfire on 1/1/2008 6:17:00 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure about you, but I know for a fact that when I flew from Atlanta to Taiwan that we had NO power outlets. Business or First Class might, but I can't afford that.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By spluurfg on 1/2/2008 10:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
Whether you have power sockets depends mostly on how old the plane is. Newer planes generally seem to have sockets on long-haul flights even in economy. Unfortunately it's pretty random whether the plane you end up on is old or new. I've even been on flights where there were power sockets on some, but not all of the economy seats, and short-haul domestirc economy flights that had more legroom and better entertainment systems than the connecting international flight. It's not very consistent.

As for batteries, it does make sense... for primary lithium batteries (non-rechargables), transporting them in bulk is strictly banned on planes, due to a few incidents where they caught fire in the holds of cargo planes. The fire suppression systems on board simply couldn't cope with them, since primary lithium battery fires are particularly nasty. Simple precautions like taping the contacts of batteries and keeping batteries in carry on baggage where possible makes a lot of sense -- if it's in the passenger compartment, at least you should notice a fire pretty quickly. Besides, the new rules only seem to affect those who are carrying quite a lot of spare batteries around.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Samus on 1/1/2008 3:00:39 PM , Rating: 3
I'm with tank, this is really dumb. Battery explosions are extremely rare. About as common as a car exploding from a fuel pump short in the gas tank...and when's the last time you saw a car rolling down the street explode?

In the extremely rare circumstance that a battery on an aircraft explodes, it likely wouldn't cause anything but a containable gas release. There would be no cabin preasure loss, and worst case scenerio the gas would spread so everyone would have to put on their o2 feed masks until it was cleared out through the HVAC system.

A 747-400 (very large aircraft) can purge its cabin supply and recycle in about 10 minutes, in-flight, with no harm to passengers provided they are wearing their masks and don't mind getting a little chilly.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Ratwar on 1/1/2008 5:25:44 PM , Rating: 1
So, let me get this straight, you really want to rely on 400 (or more) passengers to get their air masks on while there's a fire on someone's lap?

I'll let you in on a little secret, the FAA is hyper safety oriented for a good reason. Every time a plane crashes for any reason, there's a public outcry, and millions of dollar are lost (not to mention the 200 dead people). The regulations are what makes planes so safe.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By BikeDude on 1/1/08, Rating: -1
RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By PandaBear on 1/2/08, Rating: 0
RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Alexstarfire on 1/1/2008 6:29:32 PM , Rating: 5
Because of how rare it is to have a battery explode, yes I would rely on the passengers being smart enough to put on their masks.

I haven't heard of any public outcry when a plane crashes, cept from the people who were related to the victims in some way. That's understandable though. If the plane crashed because someone was lazy and decided to skip maintenance checks or something, then that's call for a public outcry, but not because something completely random happened like a battery exploding.

They say it's no brain surgery, but even I don't understand what the hell these guys are talking about. I don't understand why we can't have spares just sitting out. From what I recall, the only batteries that exploded were the ones that were IN USE.

Airlines keep getting worse these days. They tell you to be at the airport 90 minutes early for a domestic flight, so I got my GF there about 90 minutes before her flight left. They had 2 people to process perhaps about 50 people, could have been more. Anyways, long story short is that she didn't make her flight and no one wants to pay for it, so it comes out of our pocket. That's just bad business practices. United Airlines isn't getting our business anymore.

How about they stop implementing stupid rules and regulations so that the common person doesn't get screwed over. If a terrorist really wanted to blow up a plane they'd be able to do it with relative ease. It's not like you couldn't just walk through the metal detector with a tube of "toothpaste" in your pocket. They don't force you to turn your pockets inside out or anything. No bomb sniffing dogs, or anything that detects explosive compounds. It's a freakin embarrassment and a waste of time. Only time they are gonna stop something is when the terrorist just happens to be blacklisted. Ohh, that's another thing. Some random people happen to have the same name as terrorist. Glad to know that they'll stop a baby from boarding a plane because he/she is blacklisted. Thanks for saving my live you retards.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Christopher1 on 1/1/08, Rating: 0
RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Alexstarfire on 1/2/2008 12:20:32 AM , Rating: 4
Too bad a lighter won't set off C4, you need an electrical charge for that. But you basically got my point. They can walk in with any number of explosives and no one would really stop them.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By walk2k on 1/1/2008 5:22:45 PM , Rating: 4
Of course it's stupid. It's the TSA, they are the king of stupid.

Such as, I have travel-size tube of toothpaste in my bag, but I can't carry it on unless it's in a ziplock baggie? The hell is that? Like I can't open a ziplock baggie in flight, if I really was making a bomb out of it??

Then they don't even know their own rules. I asked one lady if it's okay to carry on my toothpaste, she said "oh yeah just have it out in your hand when you go thru security", then I get to the gate with toothpaste in hand and that lady makes me throw it out.

Stupid is their middle name.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By eye smite on 1/1/2008 7:51:37 PM , Rating: 1
Sure it's stupid, and I can't think of many FAA mandates that don't seem stupid. I'm willing to bet though that this over cautious behaviour is probably why you don't see very many plane crashes each year.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Christopher1 on 1/1/2008 8:00:52 PM , Rating: 1
No, the reason that you don't see very many plane crashes yearly is because plane maintenance people are very good at their work, there is so much redundency on planes (some can fly with only one engine working), etc.

Not because of thse stupid rules.

The only thing that this overcaution does is make people just ignore the really important and sane rules because they figure the TSA and FAA puts out so many stupid rules that all of them must be stupid.

By AlexandertheBlue on 1/1/2008 9:07:29 PM , Rating: 3
You are only partly right. Some of those "stupid rules" are why there are redundant systems.

RE: Anyone find this stupid?
By Keeir on 1/2/2008 12:31:10 AM , Rating: 2
Really? I can think of many FAA mandates and Airworthiness Directives that are not stupid. The thing to keep in mind with FAA mandates for Large Commercial Transports is that most of the aircraft are intended to last for 50,000-75,000 flight cycles. -70- years at 3 flights a day. Or 35 years at 6 flights a day.

FAA mandates and rules are ment to govern air travel in the macroscopic sense. Sometimes, these rules are for passenger PR, but most are based on risk assesments that look at riskes to planes flying far longer, far faster, and with a heck of alot more milage that your average automobile.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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