Lithium Batteries in Baggage

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

(This is a summary. Find full details in the FAA’s PackSafe webpages.)

Lithium batteries, which power everyday devices, can catch fire if damaged or if battery terminals are short-circuited.

Devices containing lithium metal batteries or lithium ion batteries, including – but not limited to – smartphones, tablets, cameras and laptops, should be kept in carry-on baggage. If these devices are packed in checked baggage, they should be turned completely off, protected from accidental activation and packed so they are protected from damage. Requirements vary based on the type of device and size of battery.

Spare (uninstalled) lithium metal batteries and lithium ion batteries, portable rechargers, electronic cigarettes and vaping devices are prohibited in checked baggage. They must be carried with the passenger in carry-on baggage. Smoke and fire incidents involving lithium batteries can be mitigated by the cabin crew and passengers inside the aircraft cabin.

If carry-on baggage is checked at the gate or planeside, spare lithium batteries, electronic cigarettes, and vaping devices must be removed from the baggage and kept with the passenger in the aircraft cabin. Even in carry-on baggage, these items should be protected from damage, accidental activation and short circuits. Battery terminals should be protected by manufacturer’s packaging or covered with tape and placed in separate bags to prevent short circuits.

Damaged, defective or recalled lithium batteries must not be carried in carry-on or checked baggage if they are likely to be a safety concern by overheating or catching on fire.

When in doubt, leave it out.

Check the FAA’s Pack Safe website for the rules on carrying different types of battery-powered devices, such as luggage trackers, mobility aids, or personal electronics, and other dangerous goods in baggage.