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Travel Tips Tuesday: Safely Packing Batteries for Your Trip

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

If you’re traveling on vacation this summer, you’ll most likely need to bring some batteries along, whether they’re for your camera, personal electronics or other battery-operated equipment. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has implemented safety guidelines for batteries being transported on airplanes designed to prevent fire-related incidents from occurring. TSA works closely with the FAA on potential aviation safety and security issues, and TSA security officers are trained to identify potential safety and security battery-related threats in carry-on and checked bags.

Here is the breakdown on what batteries are allowed and prohibited in carry-on and checked bags, along with some packing tips for safe travel with batteries:

Batteries Allowed in Carry-on Bags:

  • Dry cell alkaline batteries; typical AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, button sized cells, etc.
  • Dry cell rechargeable batteries such as Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCad).
  • Lithium ion batteries (a.k.a.: rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer, LIPO, secondary lithium).
  • Consumer-sized lithium ion batteries [no more than 8 grams of equivalent lithium content or 100 watt hours (wh) per battery]. This size covers AA, AAA, 9-volt, cell phone, PDA, camera, camcorder, Gameboy, and standard laptop computer batteries.
  • Up to two larger lithium ion batteries (more than 8 grams, up to 25 grams of equivalent lithium content per battery) in their carry-on. This size covers larger extended-life laptop batteries. Most consumer lithium ion batteries are below this size.
  • Lithium metal batteries (a.k.a.: non-rechargeable lithium, primary lithium). These batteries are often used with cameras and other small personal electronics. Consumer-sized batteries (up to 2 grams of lithium per battery) may be carried. This includes all the typical non-rechargeable batteries for personal film cameras and digital cameras (AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, etc.) as well as the flat round lithium button cells.

Batteries Allowed in Checked Bags:

  • Except for spare (uninstalled) lithium batteries, all the batteries allowed in carry-on baggage are also allowed in checked baggage; however, we recommend that you pack them in your carry-on bag whenever possible. In the cabin, airline flight crews can better monitor conditions, and have access to the batteries or device if a fire does occur.

Prohibited Batteries:

  • Car batteries, wet batteries, or spillable batteries are prohibited from both carry-on and checked baggage unless they are being used to power a scooter or wheelchair. If you need to pack a spare battery for a scooter or wheelchair, you must advise the aircraft operator so that the battery can be properly packaged for air travel.
  • Spare lithium batteries (both lithium metal and lithium ion/polymer) are prohibited in checked baggage.

Packing Tips for Batteries:

  • If you’re traveling with spare batteries in addition to the ones inside your devices, consider placing each battery in its own protective case, plastic bag, or package, or place tape across the battery's contacts to isolate terminals. Isolating terminals prevents hazards due to short-circuiting.
  • If you must carry a battery-powered device in any baggage, please package it so it won’t accidentally turn on during the flight. If there is an on-off switch or a safety switch, tape it in the "off" position.
  • Check out the Department of Transportation’s spare battery tips page for more information on safely packing spare batteries, and this FAA webpage for more information on permitted and permitted batteries that includes helpful photos.

Battery Chargers:

  • You can pack battery chargers in carry-on and checked bags. If the charger has an electrical cord, be sure to wrap it tightly around the charger.
  • Don’t pack regular batteries in a rechargeable battery charger. Non-rechargeable batteries are not designed for recharging, and become hazardous if placed in a battery charger.

Safe travels!

TSA Blog Team


Submitted by Unknown on

Thank you! I am bringing home spare batteries in my carry on luggage and spare alkalines in my check in.

Submitted by Tribs on

Correct. I respect individual opinion but there is a place for it.

Submitted by Ed Dobson on

We want to pack a Coleman CampVac rechargeable air mattress inflator in our checked luggage. According to the specs it has a lead acid, sealed rechargeable battery. Is this Ok to take?

Submitted by New Yorker on

Very useful article per batteries. Cleared up some confusion after reading about it in newspaper.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can I put my sealed free lead acid (power supply for a desktop) on the carry on or should be checked bag? Thanks!

Submitted by Esther on

I will be traveling to Puerto Rico in the next few weeks and would like to take batteries for persons there. Would I be allowed to take a carry on entirely filled with batteries or would they not let me go through? Thanks!

Submitted by Devin on

I find some of the info confusing regarding batteries. Im flying home to St.Thomas in the Virgin Islands, our house blew away in Irma.... we are attempting to bring rechargeable batteries for power tools with us with tools....the restrictions on the batteries seems to both say that they are ok and I have no idea...Im also trying to bring a car starter in my carry on for a friends car in st. thomas.....please help

Submitted by Anderson, Lynn, MA on

My mother in law is considering bringing a set of cordless drill with Lithium-Ion batteries to Brazil and She's in doubt if that would be allowed on carry on bags?

Submitted by Hurrincane Reco... on

Can we travel with lithium ion batteries for recharable drills, etc etc

Submitted by Dan on

Can I fly with 20v lithium ion battery (2.5ah)for power tool?

Submitted by What? on


Submitted by Clyde Long on

Apparently, you can bring your device, but no way can you use it on the plane. They suggest emptying your tank(I am not a vaper so I don't know what that is) too as it might leak due to the pressure changes. I hear you cannot charge your device either as it is considered fire hazard.
Try and use one onboard and you will probable face the same federal charges as if you lit a ciggy.

Submitted by Elizabeth Valle... on

How many Dry (C & D)batteries are allowed in a checked luggage?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would say check with the FAA on stuff like that. They actually post useful and interesting stuff.