March 1, 2019

U.S. Officially Jumps Aboard the Lithium-Ion Battery Ban

Your camera batteries have officially become a carry-on only item when flying.

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!     

Your Comment

4 Comments

how the hell are they going to monitor the charge-level in your batteries ? can the xray / scanner read that on the batteries ? what if they catch a battery that's more than thirty percent charged ? you'll have to surrender your expensive batteries ? or fly to your shoot a day early with a bag full of dead batteries and leave 24 hours to get them all charged up ?

March 2, 2019 at 11:32AM

0
Reply
avatar
stephen knifton
owner / creative director
363

I believe the 30% charge state is for shipped batteries(air cargo), not carry-on. Also, Anton Bauer and maybe CoreSWX have chargers that will discharge batteries automatically to 30% remaining power.

March 2, 2019 at 5:09PM

0
Reply
C B
1

Wow! Boarding a flight tomorrow. So glad I caught this article before checking all my gear. Thanks!

March 3, 2019 at 10:04AM

3
Reply
avatar
Anthony Haden Salerno
Writer/Director/Editor
170

None of this is really that new. You haven’t been able to transport li-ion batteries in checked baggage on passenger jets for years, and you can still hand carry them on-board in the cabin with you, as long as they meet the restrictions. The big difference now is it’s a USDOT rule, not just FAA. The notice reads more like li-ion batts can no longer be shipped as cargo shipments(think large quantities from a manufacturer or dealer) aboard passenger aircraft and can only be flown on dedicated cargo aircraft at 30% charge. But again, we haven’t been able to transport our big camera batteries in checked baggage(under the plane/in the cargo hold) for years.

A/B never did away with their HyTron(nickel medal hydride) batteries and now Core has a nickel metal hydride, as well. I waited until after I stopped flying on an almost weekly basis to switch to Li-ion batts from hytron’s(no travel/transport restrictions). I usually ship my gear ahead by ground if I have to fly, but I also have a lot of Core Hypercore Prime 190’s that split into two 95wh halves to meet carry-on travel restrictions and it actually came in handy back in December when there was a shipping snafu.

March 3, 2019 at 12:39PM, Edited March 3, 12:49PM

0
Reply
C B
1