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TSA Rules for Batteries

Airport SecurityThe Transportation Security Administration has struck again, changing the rules without warning. First it was the new liquid rules, then it was large portable electronics, now it’s batteries. But with the frequency of battery explosions in devices like laptops, I really can’t blame the man for this one.

Okay, it was actually the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHSMA) who changed the rules, but the end result is the same. The PHSMA has determined that some batteries are a potential fire risk. Because of the risk associated with batteries, airline passengers cannot bring spare batteries in their checked luggage. Who checks luggage, anyway?

Yes, you are still allowed to bring batteries that are installed in your devices, like your camera, phone, crackberry and laptop.

Carry on luggage is a different matter altogether. You can still bring spare batteries in your carry on luggage, provided they contain 8 grams of lithium or less. Bag manufacturers around the globe will rejoice, as you now must carry these batteries in plastic bags. According to Computer World, “cell phone, PDA and other gadget batteries, plus most laptop batteries, contain less than 8 grams of lithium.” So it really shouldn’t affect your travel too much.

Passengers may only take two batteries with between 8 and 25 grams of lithium in them. Batteries of this size are found in larger devices like “extended life” laptop batteries and projectors. If you go over the large battery limit, they can be confiscated by airport security.

I went through security this morning with no additional problems or wait time, so as far as I know the new rules are being implemented without huge hiccups to the transportation system.