Although the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows passengers to bring laptops and other gadgets when traveling by air, they must strictly follow certain regulations to avoid delays and hassles due to baggage issues.
Since 2008, the FAA released the new regulations about bringing batteries for laptops and gadgets during plane travel. Aside from not allowing spare laptop batteries to be placed in the checked-in baggage, batteries placed in the carry-on bag must also comply with more specific requirements before the passenger can pass through security.
Carry-on Bag Plus Another Personal Item
In general, a passenger is only allowed one piece of carry-on bag and another personal item which may be a purse, briefcase, camera bag, or laptop bag. The laptop can be placed in the carry-on bag or in a separate bag which will then be counted as the personal item. If the laptop is inside the carry-on bag, another personal item may be carried. Depending on the passenger’s booking class and the more specific regulations of the airline company, a passenger’s carry-on bag and personal item must comply with the maximum size and weight of each bag or item. Maximum allowable size and weight are usually 14 inches by 9 inches by 22 inches and 15 pounds, respectively.
Batteries of Laptops and Other Electronic Device
Spare batteries for laptops and any other electronic device are not allowed inside the checked baggage. A spare battery is defined as a battery not physically installed into the electronic device during the travel. This means that if the laptop and the rest of the electronic devices brought have their batteries attached to them, and they have a total of 25 grams of lithium from all batteries, they can be placed in the checked baggage. However, this is still not recommended due to the risk of getting an electronic device broken, given the standard handling done with the checked-in baggage throughout the flight.
For the carry-on luggage, a passenger is allowed to carry spare batteries with 8 grams of lithium or less for each battery. They must also be placed inside plastic bags. Laptop batteries contain less than 8 grams of lithium. A maximum of 25 grams of lithium is allowed to be brought per passenger.
Recalled Batteries and General Product Safety
To avoid security problems when already at the airport, it is the passenger’s responsibility to check their gadgets for product safety. Recalled batteries are not allowed during the flight. Battery recall information is generally available at the manufacturer’s website and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. To make sure that the batteries comply with international safety standards, they should bear the mark of an independent testing or standards organization such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) or the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
“Airline Carry-On Guidelines,” Bags for Me.
“Safe Travel with Batteries and Devices,” Transportation Security Administration.
“Will the FAA Ban Laptop Batteries?” PCWorld.
“New FAA Lithium Ion Battery Rules: Jan. 1, 2008,” IEBA Tech Tech Thoughts.
“New Security Rules for Batteries on Planes,” CNET.
“2009 FAA Fire Safety Highlights,” Federal Aviation Administration.
“FAA Institutes New Bans on Laptop and Gadget Batteries on Planes,” Switched.
“Will the FAA Ban Laptop Batteries?” Computerworld.
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