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TSA Limits Lithium Batteries on Airplanes

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the best-kind-of-theatre-is-the-funny-kind dept.

Security 595

yali writes "The U.S. Transportation and Security Administration has issued new rules limiting travel with lithium batteries. As of January 1, no spare lithium batteries are allowed in checked luggage. Batteries carried in the cabin are subject to limitations on per-battery and total lithium content, and spare batteries must have the terminals covered. If you're returning home from the holidays with new toys, be sure to check out the new restrictions before you pack."

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595 comments

awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842446)

And as usual, there is no explanation as to *why* lithium batteries are now illegal to carry. I assume this is to reduce the possibility of a lithium battery shorting out, but if the batteries are contained in their shipping packages, they should be no more dangerous than many other items that you can carry on planes. This of course means a whole new hassle for those folks that use lithium batteries for their work such as photographers who need to travel by air to many of their assignments among many other folks and carry with them batteries to sometimes remote locations. What is the rationale? Have they examined the potential impact before coming up with yet another new restriction on travel? Are they worried about this as a terrorist act? Because, look, if someone really wants to bring down a plane, there are many ways to do it even without using lithium batteries. Think sodium metal or any explosive really, that is keister stashed until the terrorist gets to the lavatory. Think any common item on a plane that can be used as a weapon including newspaper, components of the interior finish and cabin materials,

Every time I come back into my own country after spending time abroad, I am frustrated and depressed over how bad things are getting here. I talked about some of it including the marketing problem we are manufacturing for ourselves here [utah.edu] after my last trip to Japan.

It also makes one wonder how much all this is costing the US in terms of lost business, lost productivity, airline delays, increased cost burdens on airlines and passengers and more... And this is all being done in the name of safety and terrorism, but you know... it's funny because I remember flying back in the 70's and 80's where people routinely carried firearms on planes. The restriction was that they had to be long guns and unloaded. I even remember one Texan getting on a plane and commenting to his friend that he would never check his shotgun because it might get damaged by the baggage handlers. I also routinely used to carry a pocket knife with me wherever I went even up to a few years ago on planes before they were outlawed... which leads me to wonder if the per capita risk of hijacking is any different now versus what it was back then.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (3, Funny)

Bootle (816136) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842526)

Think sodium metal or any explosive really, that is keister stashed until the terrorist gets to the lavatory.
Keister stashed? Slashdot, you teach me something new every single day!

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842542)

And as usual, there is no explanation as to *why* lithium batteries are now illegal to carry.

Obviously, they don't want terrorists buying black market Sony batteries that will explode during the flight.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842570)

Why? So that lithium battery companies can have their stock prices jump when the batteries are being thrown out at the airport and rebought at the destination. Just like the beverage items that have to be thrown out so you can rebuy it on the other side of the security gate.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (4, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842618)

which leads me to wonder if the per capita risk of hijacking is any different now versus what it was back then.

And that makes me wonder what the risk of hijacking would be if carrying guns was allowed (even encouraged?) on airplanes. I'd love to see a terrorist managing to take control of a plane for more than 5 minutes if other passengers had guns.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842680)

Can we put some restrictions on the ammo that you can carry? It is ok with me if you kill a hijacker, but I don't want you putting holes in the plane.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (5, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842750)

I recall a rather nasty home-defense weapon that a friend of mine had for his wife to use ( they were in a rather rural area with slow police response ). It was a short-barrel .44 revolver - light, easy to use, won't jam - with a load that looked like a miniature shotgun shell. It had a bunch of pellets about 1 mm in diameter. He said that it could rip a person apart at close range, but could not penetrate 2 sheets of drywall.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842782)

Glaser rounds.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842876)

Don't believe everything you see in movies.

Putting a few bullet holes in the outer skin of the aircraft won't be as exciting as Hollywood makes it out to be.

you can't put packages in roadside drop bins (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842644)

anymore because of the unabomber

like anything, it's costs versus benefits. costs of having to go to the post office if you have a package, costs of not flying with my trusty shotgun: neglible

benefits: also neglible

it's a tempest in teapot, both in terms of more security restrictions, and less security restrictions

no big deal. and yet people get their panties in a twist. it impresses me more that some people just have a psychosomatic need to get upset about neglible things

there are guys who would hijack airplanes. it's rare. so people have to bend over backwards now every time they want to get on an airplane. oh well

but it seems to me the same sort who whine and moan about more security at airports are the same who would whine and moan about the government not doing more to protect us when a terrorist hijacking happens. people like to whine and moan. for the most part, the balance of their "concerns" are stupid. there are a lot of real concerns in the world. there are a lot of people with real problems in the world. but most of the concerns we hear about are the cosmetic paperweight issues of upper middle class busybodies. nonissues

feel free to whine and moan about my post because i see no need to whine and moan about more security at airports

Re:you can't put packages in roadside drop bins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842738)

Your entire attitude reminds me of a joke I heard overseas - and wholeheartedly agree with...

Q: Why are so many Americans ignorant and apathetic about the problems they are facing.

A: *Yawns and shrugs* Don't know, don't care...

Re:you can't put packages in roadside drop bins (1)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842788)

With an outlook like that, you should run for President. Imagine all the problems that we could ignore! Imagine how bad we could make life for the middle class, and it would be all OK! After all, nothing that affects mostly the middle class matters, because they aren't poor enough.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (1)

pheared (446683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842650)

It's obviously just a scheme by the electronics industry to sell more devices, since you can carry more batteries so long as they are installed.

I have to admit that while this is stupid, it's really not as bad as the TSA restrictions that actually make flying a complete nightmare. I don't think you need to get too upset over this one. I'd take weird lithium battery restrictions over draconian liquid restrictions any day. TSA is probably going to make me pee before I get on my next flight because I am transporting more than 3oz. of liquid and in the wrong kind of container.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (1)

Pensacola Tiger (538962) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842658)

What else do you expect from the Department of Homeland Insanity?

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842674)

What is the rationale?

Obviously, it's a conspiracy by Amtrak and Greyhound!

Safety issue not terrorism (4, Informative)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842684)

Restrictions on shipping lithium primary batteries by air cargo have been in place for over a year now and this also applied to equipment with lithium primary batteries. There are similar restriction for shipping large lithium secondary batteries.


The news rules do make sense, a in-flight fire on an airliner is pretty serious, especially if there is no nearby place to land (e.g. halfway between California and Hawaii).

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (2, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842686)

When you outlaw common everyday items on planes, only forgetful people and outlaws will try to board the plane with those items.

Given that a good laptop battery or a high-quality pocket knife can approach the price of a cheap off-season weekend ticket on a discount airline, just ditching your stuff looks pretty unappealing. It's a pain to leave the security screening, go back to the luggage check, check your stuff in your carry-on, and then get screened by security again. I'm not sure all airports will even let you do that.

It'd be nice if there was a way to combined baggage check and security so that knives, lighters, and other such things normally carried in pockets could be checked straight from your pockets into your checked luggage. Even a good reminder system to get fewer people forgetting to check those items in their checked bags would be nice.

The lithium battery limit in the checked bags makes this situation even more of a hassle. I guess soon people buying large quantities of laptop batteries will need to register with the government just like farmers with anhydrous ammonia and pseudoephidrine purchasers do in problem meth states,

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842688)

Maybe we should be taking notes from the gun nut lobby and do a 180 on how to deal with terrorism in the skies. After all, an armed cabin is a polite cabin.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842936)

After all, an armed cabin is a polite cabin.

... until the first accidental discharge (oops, forgot to engage the safety!). Then it's a bloodbath.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (2, Informative)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842694)

In all fairness lithium is a highly reactive substance. You could conceivably take a number of batteries on a flight head back to the restroom crack them open and construct and incendiary device. Check out this link for a little more info The Preparatory Manual of Black Powder and Pyrotechnics [google.com]

Granted the laptop batteries aren't lithium nitride but they are close.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (2, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842760)

head back to the restroom crack them open and construct and incendiary device.


And you can't do the same thing with sodium and water or a hundred other items that can be brought on board?

I said it in a previous posting, but soon, the only way to get onto a plane will be like this [mwctoys.com] .

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842854)

I won't argue that the rule is dumb just that it is possible to use them to make an explosive. You and I both know that a quick trip to the supermarket you could purchase all the chemicals you need to make an explosive device. The truth is that unless you completely restrain everyone or sedate them there is alway going to be a risk that someone will sneak something on a plane and use it to hijack the plane.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (5, Informative)

Roogna (9643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842718)

Figures the one time I don't have mod points is the one time I see a post by someone who obviously didn't read the actual links. Lithium batteries are NOT "now illegal to carry". There's just some rules being put in place for when they can be in checked baggage or must be carried on, and how they must be stored. Looking at the actual page on the subject, it looks like they went to great lengths to make sure it won't directly impact most travelers with regards to the batteries people tend to travel with. On that note I see nothing anywhere suggesting that this has anything to do with terrorism. And as you say if it's "to reduce the possibility of a lithium battery shorting out" then they can be in their shipping packages and be "no more dangerous than many other items that you can carry on planes". Which is exactly what they suggest for storing spare batteries.

I'm all for government conspiracy theories and thinking most of this stuff is completely idiotic. But nothing is going to improve if we go around making grossly inaccurate statements about what a rule actually is.

Re:Why (2, Informative)

jj00 (599158) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842720)


From their FAQ [dot.gov] :
"...In the passenger compartment, flight crews can better monitor safety conditions to prevent an incident, and can access fire extinguishers, if an incident does happen."

I'd say the real reason is that they don't want a fire to start in the luggage compartment.

Re:Why (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842806)


I can understand the "no ckecked batteries" part of this but the restrictions on carry on batteries could be a real issue for some people. Im going to japan in a few months and I would like to bring at least one extra laptop battery just for the flight. Im not even a battery heavy traveler like a photographer might be.

Re:Why (1)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842898)

Read the rules- you'll be fine.

RTFA (2, Informative)

KingBozo (137671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842732)

There is a reason given if you take the time to read.

The FAA has found that current systems for putting out aircraft cargo fires could not suppress a fire if a shipment of non-rechargeable batteries ignited during flight, the release said.

-Dave

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842734)

I doubt this has much to do with terrorism and everything to do with safety.
A lithium battery in checked luggage that shorts out could be a major disaster. Take a look at what happened when some oxygen generators where not shipped properly.

If a fire happens in the passenger cabin it will be noticed and hopefully put out quickly. One in the luggage hold could be a bigger problem.
When I think about just how battery/energy crazy we are getting I have to wonder if it really is a good idea.
I have a six gigabyte memory card in my cellphone. When my wife and I travel we have two notebooks, two Nintendo DS's, two cell phones, an iPod video, and at least one digital camera!
I wonder just how many batteries are being made a year these days?

Frankly these rules are a lot more logical than the restrictions on screwdrivers, nail files, nail clippers, and pocketknives.
BTW great pictures on your blog.

Re:awww jeez, not this $#!^ again (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842774)

As long as it increases my false sense of security with a token effort aimed at the appearance of security, with no substance, I'm okay with it. I'm all for doing whatever it takes to defeat Osama Bin Laden and his gang of music pirates in Iraq.

You are 100% wrong (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842922)

And as usual, there is no explanation as to *why* lithium batteries are now illegal to carry.

They are not. Read the article. This will only affect people with more than 2 large spare batteries or who want to carry really large spare batteries.

For everyone else, you just can't check a bag with spare batteries. You can carry it on.

Why do you have to go nuts about something so minor?

Nicely clear rules, easy to follow...NOT! (5, Insightful)

DaRat (678130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842450)

Given how well current TSA rules are implemented by the agents, I expect that there will be considerable confusion at the security checkpoints.

Hell, I'm a geek, and I'm not sure how many grams of lithium metal are in my laptop's batteries. How should I expect a nontechnical person be able to size up a battery and tell which batteries should be allowed and which shouldn't?

And, are they even going to count batteries in cellphones and iPods?

I expect that many spare batteries will simply be seized and tossed in the trash.

Re:Nicely clear rules, easy to follow...NOT! (4, Informative)

Obyron (615547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842556)

I expect that many spare batteries will simply be seized and tossed in the trash.

Try sold on eBay [ebay.com] instead. Seized property is typically sold by the states in Surplus Property [ky.gov] auctions, where it can be bid on by the public at large, or in some cases the airports themselves sell the stuff in lots on eBay. The government is making a buck on the battery it confiscates from you.

Re:Nicely clear rules, easy to follow...NOT! (2, Informative)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842578)

Read the article - it clearly states that installed batteries are exempt. Therefore, your cellphones, cameras, iPods and laptops aren't affected. They're talking about spare batteries that are loose in the luggage, and they even mention that placing your batteries in their original packaging or in a zip-lock bag is deemed a safe storage location that prevents shorting.

It took longer to type this response than it did to read and comprehend the article itself.

Re:Nicely clear rules, easy to follow...NOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842714)

Indeed... RTFA:

The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of "equivalent lithium content." 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:

        * Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.
        * You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.
        * For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.
        * Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!


So even if it's installed, it has to be under 25 grams of lithium total.

Considering the normal travel equipment I bring is a cell, a laptop (with two installed batteries), a digital camera (EOS XT) with two installed batteries, and sometimes a second camera for underwater photography, how are they going to know exactly what number I'm up to? what if I actually wanted to be the smart photograher and bring an extra battery for each?
 
AND How is it any safer to have batteries INSTALLED in checked on luggage than to just have them in proper packaging?
 
Eventually we're going to have to find some way (other than not buying plane tickets) to fight these kinds of regulations.

Re:Nicely clear rules, easy to follow...NOT! (1)

spiritgreywolf (683532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842744)

That's not how I read it. TFA says:

"The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of "equivalent lithium content." 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours"

They highlighted the word BOTH in the sentence above.

So I wonder - I travel with a laptop, 1 spare laptop battery, an iPod, a Samsung phone with Litihium battery and a spare battery for the cell. I even have a Sony reader which I believe has an internal lithium battery in it.

The way I read the article it looks like the bastards at the TSA are going to make some money selling some of my stuff they'll ultimately confiscate. And it will ultimately be at the whim of whichever retard I get that starts riffling through my carry on.

I swear, there are so many 3-letter agencies now that need a serious restructuring in Amerika that it's getting rather frightening.

Re:Nicely clear rules, easy to follow...NOT! (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842790)

Read the rules on the DOT site itself. Here is a quote

"The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of "equivalent lithium content." 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:"

If your going to complain about someone else not stating the facts, be sure that you have yours correct.

Re:Nicely clear rules, easy to follow...NOT! (4, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842828)

Read the article - it clearly states that installed batteries are exempt.
The AP article may state this, but the DOT page does not. Installed batteries are also subject to limits -- from the DOT page [dot.gov] :

The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of "equivalent lithium content." 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:

Re:Nicely clear rules, easy to follow...NOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842590)

I wonder how much electronic gizmoage you have to have, and how far you have to be travelling for it to make more economic sense for you to turn around at security and keep your stuff (but waste your ticket) than to travel but chuck the stuff. Particularly for integrated batteries like those in ipods where you're going to have to leave the whole machine with security, not just the battery.

Re:Nicely clear rules, easy to follow...NOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842934)

Did you read the fucking article? Clearly not, and therefor YOU SUCK. Idiot.

Wait let me get this straight... (4, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842488)

Spare batteries are more dangerous than installed batteries? Maybe it's just me, but the large majority of the lithium batteries that I've read about exploding were ones that were installed. I've yet to hear about a spare one going jihad on the luggage next to it.

Re:Wait let me get this straight... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842538)

All this means is you have to remember to swap out your optical drive for the spare battery before going through the security line. The TSA folks probably would not appreciate it if you forgot and had to do it in front of them, they're not allowed to have a sense of humor.

Quick question: Can you actually short out a spare battery enough to cause it to explode by putting a paperclip between the terminals? That sounds like a saftey hazard if true. All of the battery explosions I've heard about are caused by malfunctioning current limiters on the charging side though.

Re:Wait let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842642)

I don't know about whole battery packs, but some lithium ion cells I replaced in a laptop battery pack became too hot to touch after ~2 seconds of (accidental!) shorting out, so I think that, barring some type of circuit breaker/fuse between the contacts and the cells, it would be possible.

Don't get me started on how stupid most of these restrictions are...

Re:Wait let me get this straight... (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842560)

I have one better for you. W(hy)TF is the restriction on checked baggage and not on carry on baggage, if they think there is a safety issue?

"Why yes sir, those batteries are very, very dangerous. So please keep them as close to yourself and the other passengers as possible instead of storing them away safely in our baggage area."

Re:Wait let me get this straight... (1)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842702)

Well, that at least is completely obvious. The gorillas who "handle" the checked baggage are likely to crack the casing on poorly-packed batteries, but most people are reasonably careful with their own stuff.

Re:Wait let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842762)

If they start on fire, it's more likely to be recognized and contained quickly if humans are 4 inches away from it, rather than down in the hold that no one's watching that may or may not have automatic fire suppressant (I honestly don't know, I suspect they probably have to..).. but the human nose and eyes and sense of touch are much better than the automated "Oh crap it just got hot in here, stuff must already be REALLY freaking on fire sesnsors.

Re:Wait let me get this straight... (1)

scheme (19778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842832)

I have one better for you. W(hy)TF is the restriction on checked baggage and not on carry on baggage, if they think there is a safety issue?

"Why yes sir, those batteries are very, very dangerous. So please keep them as close to yourself and the other passengers as possible instead of storing them away safely in our baggage area."

If you read the article, they say that they prefer the batteries in carry-on luggage so that the cabin crews can extinguish the fire if the batteries do short. The fire suppression systems in the luggage compartment may not be able to handle this scenario.

Re:Wait let me get this straight... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842568)

The problem with spare Li batteries is that the contacts are often exposed and easy to short out. When that happens if the safety circuit doesn't kick in they will "vent" with flame.

Re:Wait let me get this straight... (0)

Twanfox (185252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842704)

Pardon my ignorance for a second, but is this not a problem for ALL batteries, and Li just seems to be the flavor of the week? Unmoderated and rapid discharge of any battery will cause them to overheat and rupture/catch fire/catch other things on fire.

Oops. I probably just gave the TSA another idea of something to ban on flights. *sigh*

New rule (4, Funny)

Etrias (1121031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842494)

There must be a contest at the TSA to come up with the most ridiculous ideas for restrictions. Winners get a tote bag, mug and an "I is stoppin' der terrarists" t-shirt.

Can't tell from the link (4, Insightful)

Lookin4Trouble (1112649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842500)

Does this mean I can't bring the external 4-hour battery I bought for my laptop? My laptop's battery lasts ~2 hours, and I bought the external with the sole purpose of USING IT ON THE FREAKING PLANE for the additional four hours it takes to get from East Coast to West Coast...

Re:Can't tell from the link (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842600)

Hey, the airlines gotcha covered. Just pay an extra $500 for the seat with the 'convenience jack'.

Think I'm kidding? The last flight I was on wanted a $30 premium for the exit row seat, and $2 for a ubag of chips.

I just invented that word - ubag == microbag - those tiny bags the airlines used to call 'snacks' and give away when they stopped serving real food. Now they're selling them for $2....

The cosmetics that used to come in 8 oz. sizes are now "NEW AND IMPROVED" - same size bottle, same price, but only 3.4 oz.

Never underestimate the ability to make a buck.

Exit row seats (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842846)

The last flight I was on wanted a $30 premium for the exit row seat...
Thirty dollars is a deal for us tall people. Which airline was that?

Re:Can't tell from the link (1)

Why2K (29813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842780)

As the summary itself said, this rule only applies to checked luggage, so unless you were planning on running a cord to the cargo hold to use your spare battery you should have no problems.

Re:Can't tell from the link (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842878)

FT[next sentence in the]S:

Batteries carried in the cabin are subject to limitations on per-battery and total lithium content, and spare batteries must have the terminals covered.

$1 Camcorder (3, Insightful)

muffel (42979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842514)

So all you need is a really cheap and small camcorder -- which doesn't really work but still uses a lithium battery. Thus turning your forbidden spare into an allowed non-spare battery?

Gotta go, fill out my patent application...

NOT Lithium-Ion, just Lithium (1, Informative)

jettoblack (683831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842522)

From TFA, this ruling only covers NON-rechargable lithium batteries, like the AA/AAA lithium cells sold by Energizer, etc. Also, batteries that are installed in equipment don't count. You just can't check loose lithium batteries or carry-on more than 2 loose batteries.

Again, to stress, this has NOTHING to do with rechargable Lithium-Ion or Lithium-Polymer batteries that are in most laptops, digital cameras, celphones, iPods, portable DVD players, etc...

Re:NOT Lithium-Ion, just Lithium (4, Informative)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842606)

Sorry, I don't think so. Check out the handy chart in TFA.

Re:NOT Lithium-Ion, just Lithium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842614)

Read the safetravel.dot.gov link.

Lithium-Ion Battery Installed in a Device
(up to 8 grams lithium equivalent content)

Permitted

Spare Lithium-Ion Battery (Not Installed in a Device)
(up to 8 grams lithium equivalent content)

Forbidden

The other article just says that non-rechargeable lithium batteries will be affected. It does not say "just" non-rechargeable will be affected.

Re:NOT Lithium-Ion, just Lithium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842654)

Again, to stress, this has NOTHING to do with rechargable Lithium-Ion
Well, TFA [dot.gov] clearly uses the term "Lithium-Ion" repeatedly, and even shows a picture of a laptop battery pack. Their itemized list indicates that such batteries are forbidden in checked baggage and limited in carry-on.

I'm sure the same rules will apply to Lithium-polymer. In fact, given that these rules will be implemented by TSA checkpoint workers, you can bet that they will simply apply to rule to anything that looks "battery-like." So the de facto end result is that all batteries (single use or rechargeable) will be limited by this new rule.

Re:NOT Lithium-Ion, just Lithium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842668)

This is not true. If you continue reading you will see lithium Ion batteries are also restricted:

Spare Lithium-Ion Battery (Not Installed in a Device)
(up to 8 grams lithium equivalent content)

Forbidden
Permitted in carry-on baggage 2

Lithium Ion too - just not as restrictive (5, Informative)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842676)

From the TSA webpage, it does apply to some Lithium-Ion batteries.
        Batteries up to 8-grams "equivalent lithium content" installed in devices or as spares are allowed. For Lithium-ion batteries between 8 and 25 grams aggregate lithium equivalent content are also allowed, but you can only have 2 total (both spare and installed).
        Lithium Metal batteries just have tighter restrictions.

As for the reasons behind this (since some apparantly didn't read TFA)- it sounds like there was a cargo hold fire on one plane caused by lithium batteries and apparently the current fire control systems in planes can't handle lithium fires.

Let me sell you a device... (1)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842536)

"When batteries are installed in a device, they are not considered spare batteries."

I think I'll build a device which holds batteries. It will tell you the weight of the contained batteries. So you'll be able to follow the rules for installed batteries as well as the weight limit on installed batteries.

Retarded (3, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842548)

From an Administration whose keynote from the word Go has been, "Failure," this is just fscking retarded. What, exactly, is this supposed to accomplish?

I have LIon batteries in my laptop, my cell phone, my Bluetooth earpiece, my Nintendo DS, and probably my shoes for all I know. I already have to remove my screwdrivers from my carry-on bag and place them in checked baggage or leave them at home, because they are Official Threats To The Integrity Of The Republic ("Take this plane to Cuba or I'll unscrew the wings from the plane").

Someone needs to slap around the retards coming up with this stuff and force-feed them a clue.

Schwab

Re:Retarded (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842584)

The article said *non rechargeable* lithium batteries.

Your rechargeables don't count for this particular ban.

Don't tell them that it is the rechargable LiIon batteries installed in laptops that have been exploding.

Re:Retarded (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842634)

The article said *non rechargeable* lithium batteries.

The AP article says that, but the chart on TFTSA website has limits/bans on rechargeables, too.

Still Fscking Retarded (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842716)

Okay, so the TSA Web site expressly discusses lithium batteries, and not lithium-ion batteries, the latter of which are used in laptops, cell phones, etc.

However, the confusion is understandable, since the TSA Web page has a picture of a fscking laptop computer as the article's headline.

But even given that, it's still fscking stupid. I suppose they imagine, by limiting power sources, they can do an end-run around that abject security failure [washingtonpost.com] that let simulated bomb parts through.

Is there an event horizon for national embarrassment? 'Cause I think we're getting damned close to it...

Schwab

Re:Still Fscking Retarded (2)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842864)

No, the TSA website lists both lithium, and lithium ion batteries, but with varying quantities of lithium installed in each type. The article, which I did not read, instead I just hit up the TSA website, but the article appears to be incorrect based on what people are posting.

Re:Still Fscking Retarded (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842868)

Okay, so the TSA Web site expressly discusses lithium batteries, and not lithium-ion batteries, the latter of which are used in laptops, cell phones, etc.
What is it about this article that people seem to have difficulty reading it? The DOT page clearly gives limits for Lithium-ion batteries. For example:

Lithium-Ion Battery Installed in a Device (up to 8 grams lithium equivalent content)

simple really (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842552)

I just have one question...WHY? why are these batteries bad and nickel-cadmium not? I mean it would be cool if they told us of the danger but big brother needs to let us know why something is bad.

Re:simple really (1)

jkerman (74317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842754)

google for "lithium battery fire" (or better yet, youtube)

no, im not talking about that one guy whose dell caught fire. im talking about what happens if you remove the protection circuit and short the leads of a lithium cell together...... its not the lithium thats the issue, its the entire lithium battery package.

For reference, lithium content of non-rechargeable (3, Informative)

amper (33785) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842566)

Energizer AA (L91) ~.98 grams
Energizer AAA (L92) ~.5 grams
Energizer 123 ~.55 grams

as per Energizer technical data PDF's

*sigh* (4, Insightful)

WizMaster (974384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842576)

At this point, I don't care anymore. Really, is anyone actually bothered by this? Should've seen it comming though. This is a waste of my tax money. Hell, it would be worth it if they were transparent and we knew the reasons for all of these rules. This goes far below checking shoes for bombs and even not allowing nail clippers on board. Whatever. Hopefully the next administration would bring some sense (*HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA*) to the US government.

Re:*sigh* (1)

psued0ch (1200431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842764)

You know, at least be thankful that you are even able to use aerial transportation.

Re:*sigh* (1)

WizMaster (974384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842838)

Wow. I thought that was funny but, after I thought about it, I agree with you. That just makes me feel sad.

Re:*sigh* (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842894)

This almost makes me want to blow up an airplane just to prove how stupid and pointless these restrictions are. The only thing a terrorist can really do to the airplane anymore is blow it up, and there are too many ways to blow up an airplane without batteries that these restrictions are dumb beyond all belief.

Two possible reasons. (1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842588)

I see two possible reasons why.

1. They felt there name had not been in the news paper recently enough.

2. They have heard of threats to blow lithium batteries up in a plane, possibly causing some kind of mid-air disaster. Can you honestly tell me that the x-ray machine guy has enough knowledge to recongnize a cd player LOOKING device that has 8 batteries inside, is actually a small bomb? Certainly I am talking *very* small. But, combine this with some hard liquor and you hav a much larger bomb.

Here's an idea. (1)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842662)

Perhaps you could read the article, which states the reason why a ban was put into effect.

Spare, exposed lithium batteries are capable of shorting out. In response to the flaming cargo plane that graced Philadelphia a few months ago, I think the TSA is just trying to play it safe.

Re:Here's an idea. (1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842924)

Woah woah woah. You must be new hear.. RTFA? NEVAH!!

Re:Two possible reasons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842706)

Are we talking about hard liquor as fuel for a bomb or fuel for the x-ray machine guy?

"I knowsh what I shaw. I wash a bomb!" *hiccup*

Re:Two possible reasons. (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842812)

Certainly I am talking *very* small. But, combine this with some hard liquor and you hav a much larger bomb.


Yea, I'm going to create a bomb using batteries and nail-scissors that I combine with things I buy on the tax free, like liqour, propane-propelled deoeodrant, crushed glass shrapnel, matches, razor blades... In fact, forget about the batteries and scissors.

Seriously, if I'm allowed to bring a 2kg candle through the security check, then I can't quite see the use in confiscating any liquid container in excess of 100ml (as if 100ml of explosives isn't enough to take down an airliner anyway ). If nothing else the OMGTERRORISTS could just set of their bombs in the security queue. Must have been thousands of people there last time I used the airport.

Stop allowing humans on flights (5, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842626)

Because of the risk of an in-flight hazard [wikipedia.org] , humans should no longer be allowed on aircraft. Airlines will, however, continue to fly your luggage anywhere you please, provided it contains no shoes, liquids, or lithium batteries.

Re:Stop allowing humans on flights (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842724)

It'd be an easy enough conclusion to leap to, given the length and breadth of the average TSA employee's experience with actual humans.

I wouldn't be surprised if a major TSA advisor dreams this one up on his own tonight, while snuggled up safe and sound with his cold, unfeeling wireframe mother. [psywww.com]

I imagine... (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842638)

...that this is in response to all the horror stories of the last year of batteries catching fire and/or exploding. Neither of which would be unique to lithium batteries, and is more a product of lousy quality control than rogue individuals. If Firestone/Bridgestone could end up having to explain themselves to Congress, and face hefty consequences, then why not do the same to battery makers who produce lithium bombs? You don't see bans on Jeeps or SUVs with Bridgestone tires on roll-on/roll-off/roll-over ferries, but far more vehicles were impacted (and far more severely) by the tire issue than computers have been by the battery issue.

There have been numerous comments on the inept handling of existing regulations by the TSA, including on here and including many by people currently or formerly employed by the TSA itself. Journalists and Government watchdog officials are forever getting banned items that are infinitely more dangerous than a battery past screeners. Mind you, other countries aren't any better. The French managed to lose a whole load of plastic explosives during a test run at a busy airport.

Re:I imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842886)

Which moron decided to mod this "insightful"?

"You don't see bans on Jeeps or SUVs with Bridgestone tires on roll-on/roll-off/roll-over ferries, but far more vehicles were impacted (and far more severely) by the tire issue than computers have been by the battery issue."

Exactly how many of those accidents occurred on RoRo ferries? Given that the blowouts generally needed to happen at speed for anybody to be injured (let alone killed), I'm going to guess "none".

Quit trying to be clever when you haven't got a clue what you're talking about.

What I'm waiting for... (1)

Mad Quacker (3327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842646)

Is for the trash cans at TSA checkpoints to explode from TSA idiots tossing your charged battery packs into it at random. You thought one laptop exploding was bad.

You can't cure stupid.

Lead acid it is .... (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842726)

pretty soon we'll all be carry car batteries on with us ....

Captain: Scotty, I need more power to the engines we're not lifting
1st Officer: I canna do it sir - there's a party of geeks in the back and they all brought batteries for their laptops

Um.... Only Regular Lithium Batteries (2)

TheOddOne (208550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842736)

from TFA:

The ban affects shipments of non-rechargeable lithium batteries, such as those made by Energizer Holdings Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Duracell brand.


So this does not appear to affect RECHARGABLE Batteries... Once again, out great save-us-from-ourselves administration making rules so difficult to understand that we cant help us help ourselves to not hurt ourselves, so that they will have to help us not hurt us... I think...

Re:Um.... Only Regular Lithium Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842816)

honestly, if you find the quoted material so hard to understand i'm guessing that it's not the current administration that is the problem. or do you find it cute to be among the other blabbering idiots on here who have a reading comprehension problem?

More potent batteries are coming... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842752)

When the even more potent energy-storing methods become available — like nuclear decay-based "batteries" or fuel-cells — they will, probably, be banned from aircraft outright.

And that would be even more of a shame, than not being able to have a spare with you :-(

Bass Ackwards (2, Interesting)

Quila (201335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842778)

The TSA seems to be able to implement all sorts of insane, useless rules on a moment's notice.

But when it comes to a rule that averts something that actually has a reasonable chance of endangering a flight, they wait months after the hazard was known to the whole world before taking any action.

How low... can you go?!!! (4, Insightful)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842784)

Maybe they want to see what they can make us do. They said one time you couldn't carry water bottles on-board. Then you could carry them on as long as they were purchased after the security check. I don't know what it is now... then they said that cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, etc. containing liquids had to be less that 4 oz and all of them had to fit in a quart bag, my sizes might be off, but something like that. Why quart size? Maybe it's a carefully determined threshold, above which everyone is still resentful, but not so much that they'd protest. Or maybe they made it up, as long as they were making stuff up anyway. Or maybe the water-boarded guy said they had a plot to use 2 quart bags.. then they water-boarded him some more and he said one-and-a-half qt bags; so they decided they'd allow only 1 qt bags so that the evil ones did have anything to blow up. Now it's 1 spare battery (or whatever number). I suppose we hear that and go, hey, they allow a spare, and that's good around. I mean, who needs a hundred spares anyway? And so we accept one more thing, more or less unquestioningly.

I know this sounds like a slippery slope argument, but this stuff is being made up as we go along. They got the idiot shoe guy trying to light a match, so they said we've got to take our shoes off and run them through the machines. I mean, this could go on ad infinitum.

Chuck Norris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21842792)

With the TSA so worried about people bringing possible weapons onto planes, I can help but wonder, how does Chuck Norris fly?

So let me get this straight... (1)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842814)

I can't walk through an airport with a trenchcoat lined with batteries and claim that "All tech men carry batteries [wikipedia.org] "?

The TSA found the terrorist instruction manual (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842820)

Page 37:

To blow up an airplane
  1. obtain lithium battery
  2. board aircraft with battery
  3. Wait until airborn at 30,000 ft
  4. Short out terminals
  5. Hold under shoe
  6. ???????????
  7. 48 virgins are yours! Enjoy!

You people still fly?? Amazing.. (1)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842836)

I last flew on 9-10-2001. Yes, the day before the infamous 9-11, from Laguardia. It's not the terrorists, it's the hassle that dissuaded me from flying after that. I don't need to travel internationally and, since I'm in the middle of the country, it's not too bad to drive anywhere. Washington in a day, Florida in a day and a half, Phoenix or Vegas in two.

Very vague information (4, Informative)

amper (33785) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842842)

What really bothers me about this is that the info page from the TSA provides only very vague information concerning exactly what is or is not permitted, and the rules seem to be defined so poorly as to beg for inadvertent violation of the rules by passengers as well as violation of passengers' rights by overzealous security personnel.

There is no distinction made between non-rechargeable and rechargeable batteries. This may be for a good reason, but the TSA page seems to refer primarily to rechargeable batteries.

  • Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.
  • You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.
  • For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.
  • Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!


Note the specification of the word "aggregate" in the second item. That word doesn't appear in the first item. Does that mean I can bring *any number* of batteries that have an individual lithium content of less than 8-grams?

Note the specification of "lithium metal battery" in the third and fourth items. This term does not appear in either of the first or second items. The first and second items refer to "lithium ion batteries". What is the distinction between a "lithium ion battery" and a "lithium metal battery"? Even worse, in the second item, the term "lithium ion battery" is only referred to as an example. The operative phrase only says "up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold".

Can anyone cite the relevant regulations rather than this public info disaster?

Re:Very vague information (1)

facetiousprogrammer (966842) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842874)

Does it mean I can't travel with 2 laptops?

Worry or Don't Worry? (2, Interesting)

madsheep (984404) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842862)

Well I am not sure whether people should worry much about this. Why you ask? Well the TSA folks generally aren't that bright. This means one of two things will happen.

1) The TSA agents won't know what a Lithium battery is and people that have extra batteries won't be affected - should they forget about or ignore the rule.

2) The TSA agent won't know what a Lithium battery is and people that don't have Lithium batteries will have them confiscated/removed because they are idiots.

Which one is more likely and should we worry in either case? :D

If humans are involved (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842890)

there's no sure-fire way to 100% guarantee nothing will happen on an airplane. A person could shove several pounds of semtec up their ass and detonate it that way. Or they could always do the good 'ole 12 Monkeys and infect themselves with Ebola before getting on the flight.

What the TSA and government in general should seriously consider is that, by pulling this kind of nonsense, they teach normally law-abiding citizens that the government is a more serious and pervasive threat to their freedom than any two-bit terrorist ever could be.

The TSA amazes me (1)

adsl (595429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21842908)

No spare Lithium batteries, because they are dangerous.OK. Meantime aircraft wiring still can and does go thru a plane's fuel tanks and as the fuel is used up a highly flammable gas surrounds such wiring. The Fix? A comparatively cheap and reusable cylinder of inert gas which fills the emptying tank and reduces the possibility of sparks causing explosions to zero. Has any TSA or other regulator mandated such a quick and easy fix? Nope, they regulate batteries instead...... Where is the prioritizing?
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