Be safe on your plane – risks with batteries

Some types of batteries can’t be taken onto planes because there are risks with them exploding, catching fire, leaking acid or caustic chemicals, harming people and property.  It’s not safe to take them on the plane - they’re ‘restricted from carriage’.

Avsec x-rays bags going on planes to make sure there is nothing dangerous in them.  If something comes up on the x-ray that needs checking, the bag will be opened and searched.

What can you take on the plane?

You can take these common battery-powered items but they need to be packed in different ways. Refer to this table to see what to do:

Battery-powered items

Electronic devices

Carry-on bag

Check-in bag 

More information

 

Yes 

Yes 

Read more...


E-cigarettes

Carry-on bag

Check-in bag 

 

 

Yes 

No 

  Read more...


Spare lithium (ION and metal) batteries

Carry-on bag

Check-in bag 

 

 

Yes 

No 

Read more...


Power banks

Carry-on bag

Check-in bag 

 

 

Yes 

No 

Read more...


Power tools

Carry-on bag

Check-in bag 

 

No

Yes

Read more...


 Heat-producing articles

Carry-on bag 

Check-in bag 

 

 torch Yes Yes  Read more... 

Smart bags (with lithium battery for recharging devices)

Carry-on bag

Check-in bag 

 
smart bags Yes No Read more... 

 

When to contact your airline?

You need to get in contact with your airline if you want to take:

  • Battery-powered medical device/s
  • A portable electronic device such as a laptop that contains fuel cells rather than the more usual lithium battery
  • Battery powered wheelchair – must be approved by your airline
  • Lithium ‘metal’ batteries that exceed 2 grams[1] – must be approved by your airline
  • Lithium ION batteries that exceed 100Wh[2] – must be approved by your airline
  • Smart bags – must be approved by your airline
  • Devices that generate heat – must be approved by your airline.

What types of batteries can I take on the plane without approval from the airline?

The kinds that are OK are:

  • lithium ION that do not exceed 100Wh
  • lithium Metal that do not exceed 2g

These kinds of batteries must be in an electronic device if they are to go in check-in luggage.

Not sure if you can take it?  Contact your airline and check with them.

What about portable electronic devices?

If the device is to go in check-in luggage make sure it is turned off [not in sleep or hibernation modes], cannot unintentionally activate and is protected from damage.

  • Want to use it during the flight?  Its OK to take your laptop, tablet or cellphone.
  • They can go in your check-in or carry-on luggage – but not a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cellphone, these are prohibited.

If the device uses a non-spillable lead acid battery, check it can travel on an aircraft.

  • These batteries cannot travel if:

× They exceed100wh or 12V

× There is no proof the battery is compliant with Special Provision A67.

  • Information on Special Provision A67 [3]

✓ Make sure printed information that the battery complies with Special Provision A67 travels with the battery.

What about e-cigarettes?

  • Have an e-cigarette?  You can’t smoke it on the plane but it must be in your carry-on luggage, with you in the cabin - not in check-in luggage.

What about spare lithium [ION and metal] batteries?

  • OK to have in your carry-on luggage.
  • They must NOT go in check-in luggage under any circumstances.
  • You can take up to two spare batteries that exceed 100Wh (but not 160Wh).  These, batteries must have electrical tape placed across their terminals, to protect from accidental activation and they must be in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch.

What about powerbanks?

  • OK to have in your carry-on luggage.
  • They must NOT go in check-in luggage under any circumstances.
  • You can take up to two that exceed 100Wh (but they must not exceed 160Wh).

Powerbanks are considered to be spare batteries.  You can take up to two in total (for example two powerbanks; or one powerbank and one battery).

What about power tools?

Pack power tools and other devices you won’t be using during the flight into your check-in luggage. 

  • Make your tools safe to travel by:
    • Removing all drill-bits, blades and other tool attachments from the tool and pack separately with your check-in luggage.
    • Place the tool with the battery in it, into its fitted moulded tool case.  Any spare battery must be carried in your carry-on luggage.
  • If the tool is not travelling in a fitted moulded tool case:
    • place electrical tape across the terminal and reinsert the battery into the device [if this will not damage the tool]; or
    • place electrical tape across the activation switch when it is in the “Off” position [the battery can remain inserted into the tool]; or
    • remove the battery from the device and carry separately in your carry-on luggage as a spare.

What about devices that produce heat?

What about underwater torches, soldering irons and other devices that generate heat? Its okay to take onto the plane but only if approved by your airline and only if the battery does not exceed 160Wh.

What about smart bags that can recharge other devices?

  • OK to have as carry-on luggage.
  • You will require airline approval if the battery exceeds 100Wh (but it must not exceed 160Wh)
  • They cannot be used as checked-in luggage.

These batteries are considered to be "spare lithium batteries" (refer above).

 

Other battery related information:

Why are lithium batteries dangerous? Lithium Batteries - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Carriage of Small Lithium Battery Powered Personal Transportation Devices, including Hover Boards

TSA surveillance footage of lithium battery exploding in bag


[1] Lithium metal batteries for medical devices may exceed 2g but not 8g
[2] Lithium batteries must not exceed 160wh
[3] Special Provision A67 identifies batteries as safe to travel by air. Information on compliance can be found on the battery, in an operating manual, on a Material Safety Data Sheet or from the manufacturer’s webpage [print copy].