New Lithium-Ion Battery Airline Restrictions have been announced and need to be understood by photographers who travel by air. Lithium Ion batteries (Li-Ion) are used in most digital cameras and the recent changes introduced by the airlines ensure that photographers are transporting them safely when flying. Full details of the restrictions can be found by going to http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/dgr/Pages/lithium-batteries.aspx or checking with your specific airline directly.
Here are the key points to remember when flying with Lithium Ion batteries:
- Lithium Ion batteries MAY be packed in your carry-on baggage or on your person
- Lithium Ion batteries MAY NOT be packed in any checked baggage.
- Lithium Ion batteries MAY NOT be shipped via Air Freight as air cargo
As long as you carry on your Li-Ion batteries you are fine – when packing for air travel do NOT pack your Li-Ion batteries in your checked baggage. If you end up gate checking your carry-on baggage (common on smaller planes and regional jets such as the Canadair RJ-45 – one of the primary aircraft used by Skywest airlines in the Intermountain west) make sure you remove any Li-Ion batteries before you give your bag to the gate agent.
Traveling with a camera is great, but make sure you keep yourself apprised of the rules and regulations of traveling with your camera to ensure that you don’t run into problems, especially when flying internationally. As photographers sometimes it feels that the airlines are out to keep us from carrying our cameras with the constant barrage of restrictions, but remember that air travel is safe as long as everyone follows the rules. Size and weight restrictions are in place because of physical limits of the airplane. Be sure to select a bag for your gear that will not only accommodate your equipment but also meets the airline guidelines.