The FAA and the U.S. DoT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), has officially banned lithium-ion batteries from being transported as cargo on passenger aircraft.
So, this means no more checking luggage containing laptops, tablets, or, yep, your camera batteries.
The goal of this rule change is to increase passenger safety by limiting the storage of these batteries to carry-on luggage stored in the cabin. Furthermore, batteries must not be more than 30% charged when aboard cargo-only planes.
If you're a filmmaker who travels a lot, this may not affect you a whole lot. I mean, if you live or travel outside of the U.S. or fly with certain airlines, you've probably already had to deal with this ban before—the inconvenience of which is minimal considering the risk of a fire or explosion occurring in a place that is not as easily accessible as the cabin.
This is the major security factor according to PHMSA Administrator Howard "Skip" Elliott, who says, "PHMSA is enhancing passenger safety by permitting personal electronic devices onboard aircraft while ensuring cargo shipments of batteries are transported separately."
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao says, “This rule will strengthen safety for the traveling public by addressing the unique challenges lithium batteries pose in transportation."
So, the next time you're thinking about some creative travel plans, remember that your camera batteries and other essential personal electronics that have lithium-ion cells are carry-on only. Pack accordingly before you head toward airport security!