The Real Lithium Story

(commentary)

I’m already seeing the usual paranoia and panic over news stories reporting that lithium batteries will be restricted on passenger planes starting April 1st due to the adoption of an interim set of regulations worldwide.

Don’t panic, and always remember to carry a towel.

Here are the real regulations when it comes to lithium batteries on planes:

<100 Watt Hours

  • If installed in equipment: may be in your carry-on or may be in your checked bag.
  • If carried as individual batteries (outside equipment): may be in your carry on, but not in your checked bag. There is no limit to the number of such separate batteries you can carry.
  • You do not need the approval of the airline for this.

100 to 160 Watt Hours

  • If installed in equipment: may be in your carry-on or may be in your checked bag.
  • If carried as individual batteries (outside equipment): you may carry a maximum of two such batteries in your carry on, you cannot have any in your checked bag.
  • You may need the airline’s approval to carry batteries of this size.

> 160 Watt Hours

  • Cannot be on passenger planes. Must be presented as cargo and shipped according to IATA Dangerous Goods regulations.

You determine Watt Hours by multiplying Amperage Hours times voltage [actual formula: (mAh)*(V)/1000 = (Wh)]. An Nikon EN-EL15, for example, is 14Wh (1900mAh * 7v).  

The full update can be found at IATA site, look specifically for the “Lithium Battery Passenger Pamphlet."

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