The amount of technology we all travel with these days means we are carrying a lot of different batteries with us when we get on a plane. This often begs the question as to whether one can take a battery on a plane.
Batteries can be quite hazardous and therefore there are some rules we have to follow when trying to take batteries on a plane. Whether you can or can’t take batteries on a plane depends on the type of battery and whether you put them in your checked bags or in your carry-on.
Join me as I run through all the TSA rules with regard to taking batteries on a plane so you aren’t caught out the next time you travel.
Yes, you can bring certain types of batteries in both your carry-on and checked baggage and other types can only be carried in your carry-on as they pose a fire risk in checked baggage.
Generally speaking, you will have to put your batteries in your carry-on as the restrictions for batteries allowed in checked baggage are quite intense.
Below, you will find all the details about how to travel different battery types, how many of them you are allowed, and more.
Lithium-ion batteries are the standard laptop computer batteries you find in most electronic devices today such as your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. You can board a plane with lithium-ion batteries but it depends on their size.
Consumer lithium-ion batteries under 100-watt hours are allowed in both your carry-on and checked bags but to put them in your checked bag requires more rules.
This is the kind of battery your laptop/phone has and they are best taken in your carry-on baggage. You can also take spare lithium batteries in your carry-on luggage but they have to be protected from short circuit and damage.
If you want to carry Lithium batteries under 100-watt hours in your checked luggage then it has to be attached to the device and the device must be off. For example, if you had to put your phone in your checked luggage, it would need to be off.
In all honesty though, keep all your things like phones and laptops in your carry-on baggage so it doesn’t have any risk of being damaged.
Larger lithium-ion batteries above 100 Watt hours require airline approval to be allowed in carry-on bags. You can also carry this type of lithium-ion battery as a spare with approval too but only a maximum of two spare batteries of this type will be allowed in your carry-on baggage.
A lithium-ion battery with more than 100 Watt hours is not allowed in your checked baggage and this rule stands regardless of whether the lithium batteries are loose or connected to a device.
Dry cell alkaline batteries are your typical AA, AAA, C, and D batteries that you have a draw full of at home for things like your remote or flashlight.
Dry batteries like AA, AAA, and more of the same type batteries are allowed in carry-on luggage and in your checked bags too. There are no limits to the number of these batteries you can carry in your bags but the FAA does state you can only pack batteries for personal use.
You will get away with a few spare batteries but if you are carrying too many then you could get into some trouble as they may think they are for resale.
The exact same rules apply to dry cell rechargeable batteries so you can carry as many of them as you like (for personal use) in both your checked luggage and in your carry-on bags too.
Lithium metal batteries are typical non-rechargeable batteries that are made with lithium. Non-rechargeable lithium batteries are allowed to be taken on a plane in your carry-on luggage but only if they have less than 2 grams of lithium in each battery.
This type of lithium battery is also allowed to be packed loose in your carry-on bags but they have to be protected from short circuits and damage.
Lithium metal batteries are allowed in your checked luggage so long as they are inside a device. Loose batteries of this type are not allowed in your checked bags.
Non-spillable wet batteries are usually valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA) or sealed lead acid batteries (SLA). You take a non-spillable wet battery on a plane in your carry-on baggage but they have to be under 100 Watt hours and under 12 volts.
Two spares are also allowed in carry-on luggage but they have to be packed well with “non-spillable” written on the outside plus be protected from short circuit and damage.
You can also pack as many non-spillable wet batteries as you like in your checked luggage with zero restrictions on size.
These types of batteries are filled with liquid electrolytes and an example of one is a car battery. Spillable Batteries are not allowed in either your carry-on bag or in checked bags that go in the cargo hold.
The only exception is if the spillable battery is a wheelchair battery, more on that next.
If a wheelchair or mobility scooter uses a spillable battery then it will be allowed on the plant but you must notify the airline ahead of time. So long as the battery can stay connected to the wheelchair or scooter and can be stored upright, it shouldn’t be a problem.
In some cases, the battery might be removed from the scooter or wheelchair and be placed in a special container for the duration of the flight.
If you are traveling with a mobility scooter or wheelchair, make sure you arrive early and notify airline staff that it has a spillable battery.
You should also check what type of battery the wheelchair or scooter uses as some can use a non-spillable battery meaning you won’t have to inform the airline.
Battery packs, also referred to as power banks are made with lithium batteries and more specifically lithium-ion batteries.
Battery packs and power banks will be considered spare batteries and therefore you can only carry two of them and you have to put them in your carry-on luggage as spare lithium batteries aren’t allowed in your checked bags.
But, to be able to pack your battery pack or power bank in your carry-on bags it must be a lithium-ion battery under 100 watt-hours.
This is something you should check as a battery pack can be a much larger battery and sometimes will be larger than 100 Watt hours which means it will not be allowed on the plane in either your carry-on bags or your checked luggage.
Smart luggage is pretty much a suitcase with a lithium-ion battery inside it and they are great to travel with as they offer a charging port and some even come with GPS tracking.
But, there are some rules to traveling with smart luggage which you need to be aware of, as it can be a disaster at the airport if you don’t.
If you want to check in your smart luggage, you have to take the battery out of your suitcase and put it in your carry-on luggage to do so.
If you can’t take the battery out of the suitcase, it won’t be able to be checked in and you will have to go and buy a new suitcase at the airport and re-pack if you want to take your things with you.
If your smart luggage is the right size to be allowed as a carry-on, you will still have to remove the battery before getting on the plane and the battery has to be under 100 watt-hours too.
These are just the TSA rules and it is worth checking with the airline as their rules may be tougher.
Generally, bringing batteries on a plane is not a worry since most of the batteries one owns are allowed in your carry-on such as the lithium-ion battery in your phone or laptop or your standard AA, or AAAs.
But, when traveling with rarer batteries or bigger lithium-ion batteries, be sure to follow the rules to the letter or your battery will not be getting on the plane with you.
I hope we have cleared everything up for you so that you can always travel with the batteries you need with you.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!