The UK Rules
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Lithium Batteries

Lithium Battery Restrictions

Information for passengers travelling with items containing lithium ion batteries such as mobile phones and computers.

ICAO LITHIUM BATTERY FLIGHT RULES:

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and UK airline operators have restrictions for flying with certain batteries carried either on your person or in your baggage.

Battery-powered devices may need to meet flight safety laws and require approval by airport authorities before you fly.

If you are flying with items which contain batteries - especially a lithium ion rechargeable battery - you should follow the information below. The rules are taken from the International Civil Aviation Organisation Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.

Restrictions implemented by other countries in the interests of aviation security may further limit or forbid the carriage of some of the items listed in these pages. Additionally, the airlines and security screening agencies have the right to refuse the carriage of certain items on board a plane.

Passengers must contact their airline in advance for clarification of the flying rules and regulations, or when planning to travel with lithium batteries or other dangerous goods that require the airline’s approval - as indicated in the tables below. Non-spillable batteries are also known as wet filled with acid or alkali or gel-type batteries.

Lithium Batteries

ICAO Lithium Battery Flight RulesThe term 'lithium battery' refers to a family of batteries with different chemistries, comprising of many types of cathodes and electrolytes. They are separated into two battery types;

Lithium Metal Batteries

By comparison, lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable batteries in which lithium ions move between the anode and the cathode, using an intercalated lithium compound as the electrode material instead of the metallic lithium used in lithium batteries.

Lithium-ion Batteries (Li-ion batteries)

Battery Powered Equipment

UK aviation restrictions apply to battery-powered equipment which is capable of generating extreme heat because it could cause a fire if activated - such as underwater high intensity lamps.

The heat-producing component and the battery are isolated from each other by the removal of the heat-producing component, the battery or another component (e.g. fuse). Any battery that has been removed must be protected against short circuit by placing in its original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating the terminals. This could mean taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate bag or protective pouch.

Items Containing Batteries Carry On Baggage Hold Baggage Hand Carry Approval
Battery-powered equipment (might generate extreme heat) Yes Yes No Required

Battery Powered Suitcases

UK aviation restrictions apply to battery powered suitcases which are usually powered by nickel-metal hydride batteries. Any electrical battery or battery powered device which has the potential of a dangerous evolution of heat must be prepared for transport so as to prevent;

The airline’s approval is not required to carry a battery-powered suitcase. However, the passenger must contact their airline prior to travel to obtain information contained within the ICAO Technical Instructions.

Items Containing Batteries Carry On Baggage Hold Baggage Hand Carry Approval
Battery powered suitcases (powered by nickel-metal hydride) Yes Yes N/A Not Required

Portable Electronic Devices

UK aviation restrictions apply to portable electronic devices containing lithium ion batteries exceeding a Watt-hour rating of 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh - when carried for personal use. Batteries and cells must be of a type which meets the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3. It may be necessary to contact the battery manufacturer prior to travel to confirm they have complied with the requirements. These items should be carried as carry-on baggage.

Items Containing Batteries Carry On Baggage Hold Baggage Hand Carry Approval
Portable electronic devices containing lithium ion batteries Yes Yes Yes Required
Devices powered by fuel cells (e.g. camera, phone, laptop) Yes No Yes Not Required
Devices carried for personal use (e.g. watch, cameras, phone) Yes Yes Yes Not Required
Equipment containing a non-spillable battery Yes Yes No Not Required
Travelling with Lithium Batteries; UK Rules Updated 2017