Travelling safely with batteries

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Batteries are used to charge most of our portable electronic devices and pose a unique hazard when flying as they are capable of causing a fire if not transported correctly.

This happened in 2014 in Melbourne when undeclared lithium batteries were packed into a passenger’s checked bag and short-circuited, igniting a fire in the aircraft’s cargo hold before passengers boarded a flight to Fiji.

Spare batteries, regardless of size, must be in your carry-on luggage. You also need to take precautions to protect the batteries against short-circuiting and overheating.

The only time batteries can be in your checked-in luggage is when they are installed in your device. But make sure your device can’t be accidentally activated once it is packed.

It you want to take more powerful batteries—above 100 watt-hours—check with your airline before you fly. If you have any doubts about the batteries you are carrying, always check with the airline or airline staff.

CASA has produced a variety of safety materials to help you make sure your luggage is safe. Watch the travelling safely with lithium batteries video, download the Can I pack that? dangerous goods app and find out more information at www.casa.gov.au/dg

5 COMMENTS

  1. I am surprised I never read in the context of travelling with (rechargeable) batteries that they should be discharged prior to travel. If there is no energy stored in these batteries they would be harmless and cannot cause a fire, right?

  2. Hi Jos, thanks for your interest in Flight Safety Australia. It is true that a fully discharged battery has less energy and little potential to cause trouble. But in the real world where discharged batteries look the same as fully charged ones, and there is no practical way to quickly and accurately test each battery at check-in, we have decided to keep the rules simple and consistent. The risk is of a passenger mistakenly packing a charged battery in good faith.

  3. HI We have 6 hand held two way radio’s with batteries attached as well as the charger unit for these batteries, can we take them on the flight either as carry on or in the cargo hold as luggage
    Cheers

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