The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released updated guidance this week for airline passengers who carry lithium battery-powered devices or spare lithium batteries aboard aircraft.
The new guide lists size limits for spare lithium batteries, batteries in electronic devices, and batteries in medical devices packed in both carry-on and checked luggage.
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IATA’s updated 2018 document
also includes requirements for spare lithium batteries, electronic cigarettes (i.e., e-cigs, vape pens) containing lithium batteries, and “smart luggage.”
Spare lithium batteries and e-cigarettes
Spare lithium batteries—which are prohibited in checked luggage—must be protected against short circuit. Travelers can protect lithium batteries by placing them inside the original retail packaging or a plastic bag. Or, passengers can insulate (i.e., cover) the battery terminals with tape.
“Vape pens” and e-cigarettes likewise are restricted to carry-on baggage only. Charging these devices in flight is not permitted, and passengers must “take measures to prevent accidental activation.”
“Smart luggage” powered by lithium batteries
“Smart luggage”—bags that contain lithium batteries for various applications during travel, i.e., geo-tracking, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi access, or charging other devices—pose a conundrum for airlines.
To check “smart luggage,” passengers must remove the lithium battery from the bag and carry it aboard the plane.
Alternatively, passengers can carry the entire bag on board (if allowed).
From the new guidance document: “Baggage where the lithium battery is designed to charge other devices and cannot be removed is forbidden for carriage.”
See the full IATA lithium battery guidance document.
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