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Airline travel with lithium batteries

Fri May 2, 2008 - 10:19 AM EDT - By Dan Nimtz

Palm.com reminds us all to understand the new rules put in place on January 1, 2008 by the U.S. Department of Transporation regarding rechargable, and as it pertains to us Palm and smartphone users, lithium batteries. The primary reason for the new regulations on lithium batteries seems to be related to fire hazard concerns.

Basically, when the lithium battery is in your Palm/Treo/Centro device you can either carry it on-board, or place it into your check-in baggage.

Bringing spare lithium batteries on-board

If you want to bring spare batteries on-board with you, be aware that there are some weight restrictions. Most consumer lithium ion batteries will meet the weight restriction if they are less than 100 watts, which would certainly include Palm batteries. Larger laptop and some professional audio visual batteries could exceed this restriction though. Check the exact details at this U.S. DOT website [edit: Thanks to Greg Hausman for pointing out that it's not the total weight of the battery that is the concern, but the amount of lithium (ELC - Equivalen Lithium Content) that the battery contains.]

Any spare batteries you plan on bringing on-board with you must be either:

  • in their original packaging
  • wrapped in individual clear plastic bags
  • have non-conductive tape across the terminals

No spare batteries in checked-in baggage

Spare batteries by themselves can NOT be in checked-in baggage (boy is that one gonna be tough to remember - especially on trips lasting weeks or more).

The Palm.com article lists these useful links for all the gory details and some tips:

Treo accessory store
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