In preparation for my most recent flight, the airline sent me an update on their new baggage regulations in regards to batteries. Going forward, some airlines will be imposing new rules when it comes to flying with batteries. These new regulations are especially annoying to photographers as we not only tend to often fly with batteries, but we also like to bring along several sets of backup batteries as well.
Note: that these regulations may vary from location to location and airline to airline so it is always best to double check with your airline before flying.
No Naked Batteries in Checked Luggage
This one rather surprised me but it seems to be out of some sort of fear of the batteries leaking or causing a fire. Perhaps fear related to Samsung's recent battery problems in their phones. Who knows? The rule is rather simple. Batteries installed within devices may be checked in your luggage as usual but batteries that are on their own cannot be placed in checked baggage.
Naked Batteries in Carry-on
Naked batteries, however, are still allowed in carry-on with one caveat. There must be no risk of their ends ever touching the ends of another battery. The airline I flew with addresses this problem by demanding spare batteries be packed in one of four ways.
- The batteries are still in their retail packaging.
- The batteries each are in their own isolated container. (Such as wrapping each battery in cling wrap)
- The batteries have the connectors on either end completely covered with tape.
- The batteries are stored in a protective battery container.
This particular one seems incredibly unnecessary to me and after spending an hour taping sixty batteries it also reached a level of mythic frustration. There isn't anything to be done, though, unfortunately. The airlines and airports make the rules and if we want to use that service we need to follow them. Personally, I opted for the tape route as I had no time to go hunting for a battery case that met their requirements.
As more and more airline security becomes layered on traveling becomes more and more annoying for photographers. Half of our gear can easily be misconstrued as a threat while the other half already has bizarre limitations or rules about how it can be transported. Make sure to stay vigilante and always be mindful of what the latest regulations may be as it could save you from encountering a giant headache next time you wish to fly.