New rules re batteries

Dec 29th, 2007, 03:35 AM
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New rules re batteries

(Link to news site)
Carrybean is offline  
Dec 29th, 2007, 03:58 AM
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Also heard this on AM news and just read it on TSA site.

The part I do not fully understand is "two spare batteries". I assume that means 2 batteries not attached to an electronic thing, but one could see a traveler wanting to exceed this with some traveling with spare batteries for cell phones, computer, digital camera.

Also can not imagine how a plastic bag would prevent fire, as stated in the TSA site. Last I knew, Ziplock bags had no fire-retardent properties.
gail is offline  
Dec 29th, 2007, 04:29 AM
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I didn't quite get it either. Does it mean it's OK to have new lithium batteries that are still sealed in their original package or do they just mean loose batteries shouldn't be rattling around in your checked bags?
Carrybean is offline  
Dec 29th, 2007, 04:53 AM
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This is not all that big a deal as few of us travel with spare lithium batteries other than, usually, for a laptop. Replaceable batteries for cameras are rarely, if ever, lithium. And how many people carry a spare cellphone battery around?

This will more affect professional photography equipment.

In all, not a big deal for 99+% of travellers.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Dec 29th, 2007, 07:35 AM
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Agree that it is not going to change what people bring on planes. But read the TSA pronouncement on this. Detailed info about how to pack spare batteries for carry-on.

While I have avoided prior discussions on TSA and security, this is getting ridiculous. For people who do not travel often, they are going to have to read an entire manual on how to pack and act. Next they are going to tell me how to fold my underwear and whther I should roll or fold my clothing.
gail is offline  
Dec 29th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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The TSA site's explanation is that the spare batteries must be in some protective container, such as the original packaging, or a plastic bag. The reason given is that they want the contacts protected so there will be no accidental shorting and subsequent fire.

I looked at my usual complement of qualifying batteries (two for the camera and one for the laptop). The laptop battery is too big for a baggie, but there are no exposed contacts on the battery. One camera battery has a plastic shield protecting the contacts; the other doesn't. While I have nothing against the TSA screeners, I think I will find a way to plasticize all my batteries, as I know they work from a checklist, rather than from an understanding of why something is on the checklist, and getting into a dispute with one of them just delays the line and increases the chance that they will conclude I need a more thorough search.

I didn't find in either cited source that the number of LI batteries is limited to two; I know I regularly carry two spares for my camera and one for my laptop, and I would guess that many fliers carry at least that many, and now can no longer pack the spares in our checked luggage.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Dec 29th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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second paragraph, second line regarding # of batteries.
gail is offline  
Dec 30th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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Ok I have made a zillion adjustments, but this one has me mad! I purposely bought lithium battery type cameras. Then I bought extra batteries and chargers and adapters. I had it so organized.

I travel for many weeks at a time and have 4 2 hour batteries for my small cam corder...and there have been days when I have used up all 4. I often photograph 30 -40 dvds on my trips and watch them often.

I dont like a bigger battery as it makes the camera more bulky and heavier.

This year I bought a small Canon, for still shots, that uses a small rechargeable battery..and I bought 2 of those as I wont use that camera as often.

Now they tell battery in the camera and one more is allowed in my carry on. Im allowed a total of two...and the extra must be in a plastic bag. Of course I dont have the original packaging...I"ve had the camera 3 or 4 years.

So if I take 2 cameras...I can take no extra batteries. I also carry a cell phone in case of emergencies to call home. Now I have to leave one camera behind if I take the cell phone.

I am 64. I travel for fun and the joy of it...but little by little I feel my rights are being diminished. Not being able to take my equip really bothers me and I do feel anger.

LEANNA is offline  
Dec 31st, 2007, 11:42 AM
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I agree this is ridiculous. If there's a problem with the fire extinguishing system, I'd prefer they fix it rather than simply tell folks they can't bring their gear on the plane.

My paranoid brain would hazard a guess that this is a preliminary step to telling folks that they can't carry on electronics anymore.
toedtoes is offline  
Dec 31st, 2007, 11:44 AM
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P.S. Leanna - I read that you can have up to 2 EXTRA batteries not installed in a device. There is no limit to how many devices with batteries installed you can take on.

So, you can take your 2 cameras, laptop and cell phone with batteries installed, but you can only take an additional 2 spare batteries for all of those devices combined.
toedtoes is offline  
Dec 31st, 2007, 04:27 PM
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I'm not technologically knowledgable, but from the TSA website:

"Primary lithium batteries cannot be extinguished with firefighting agents normally carried on aircraft, whereas lithium-ion batteries are easily extinguished by most common extinguishing agents, including those carried on board commercial aircraft."

Despite the apparent lack of danger from the common Lithium-ion batteries (I checked and both my camera and computer us lithium ion batteries), TSA has gone ahead and limited both types of batteries, using the rationale that the fire fighting systems on planes cannot handle fires involving primary lithium batteries! And our safety is in the hands of these clowns.

I tried to imagine why they limited the lithium-ion batteries also, and the only reason I could think of would be that the screeners cannot discern between the two (by reading the label on the battery?), so I may try to pass off my third battery as a candy bar.

They also report on their website that they are training screeners to detect involuntary signs of, among other things, contempt. It is going to get crowded in the SSSS line.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Dec 31st, 2007, 06:59 PM
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Its just every year I get the packing rules down and they change the game!!!!

With all due respect to safety and all....I just sometimes wonder if the terrorists aren't winning anyway!!!! sigh!!!
LEANNA is offline  
Dec 31st, 2007, 08:19 PM
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Just to play devil's advocate, if you travel enough that you carry this many spare batteries, then I don't find this that onerous. The TSA is just doing their job - a possible fire hazard was identified, they have what is a not unreasonable solution, and no one here has offered an alternative. Cut them some slack.
travelgourmet is online now  
Jan 1st, 2008, 01:02 AM
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I don't understand the rationale behind this rule, perhaps because rationality does not seem to be a guiding principle for TSA.

Lithium batteries are a potential risk because of their inherent characteristics. Unlike ordinary batteries, a lithium battery can fully discharge in a few seconds if it is shorted circuited (industrial lithium batteries can discharge in a fraction of a section), which will usually cause it to explode or at least burst into flame. HOWEVER, consumer lithium batteries have special overcurrent protection built into the battery that stops the flow of current (like a fuse) if the battery is accidentally shorted out (the only type of action that would normally cause a sudden discharge). This is why consumer lithium AA batteries have long been allowed aboard aircraft. Those batteries still have this protection, so I'm not sure why a new rule prohibiting them was needed.

There are some industrial lithium primary batteries that lack this protection and can easily explode if shorted out, but they have long been forbidden on aircraft, anyway. And in any case, the ordinary passenger wouldn't be carrying batteries like that to begin with.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 05:41 AM
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I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but maybe the PTB are trying to make flying so miserable we'll all stay home! Or pay for some kind of pre-screening program.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 06:51 AM
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I'm wondering how they found out about this -- was there an incident? More than one incident? Who was thinking about this?

And I'm also thinking that the defining trait of bureaucrats is to take whatever action that most calls attention to their existence. Often it's saying "no" or enacting an impedimentary regulation, so that people KNOW they're there and have power and purpose.

This does seem a little like telling us to put our heads down if the plane is taking a nosedive toward the ground.
Jan 1st, 2008, 07:06 AM
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One more move towards eventual outcome - we will all be required to fly naked with no luggage.
gail is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 09:08 AM
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Thanks for posting this Carrybean.

I carry multiple batteries for a professional sort of DSLR camera, as we sometimes get to more remote places where recharging can be tricky. Because we are remote, we often travel light at those times and don't really need to check a bag, so this would impact us a bit (I love being part of the 1% that doesn't matter)

More brilliant decision making from TSA. Because, of course... if fire extinguishing equipment on board is insufficient to put out this kind of fire, then it would be so much better that the source be buried down in the hold where it's harder to get at and contain. That is, after the bag it's in has been tossed, crushed and banged around, rather than in my camera bag which I treat like it's glass...

Clifton is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Assuming they are as diligent about checking for the batteries as they are for liquids then it shouldn't be an issue. In the past year I've been through airport security more than a dozen times and on those few occasions I bothered to pull out my baggie of liquids I was the only one on line who did , and they barely glanced at it. So just one more thing for them not to do very well, if at all.

isabel is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 11:28 AM
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We flew to San Diego yesterday.

I limited myself to two spare batteries (my son in San Diego has the same model camera, so I could borrow from him, if necessary) that I had wrapped in plastic and thrown in the top and bottom of my carryon. My laptop is new and I had not flown with it before. I wear a warm-up suit when flying, so there is no metal on me, but they always make me remove the shirt, which they insist is a jacket. So I stood in line removing my shoes and shirt to put in a basket, then my laptop and my plastic baq, to the point where the tray was overloaded. I didn't say a word about the batteries, nor dig them out of my carryon. I and my tray and carryon then passed through screening like grain through a goose. They took no notice of my batteries, but they did nab my wife with some contraband bluebery preserves, which she had in her carryon rather than checked luggage; they offered her the option of going back and putting the jar in her checked luggage with the unwrapped Christmas presents, but she declined, fearing this would take too long.

We fly fairly frequently, so we are somewhat familiar with all this; I pity the people who fly only infrequently. They almost need a manual on how to get through TSA, updated daily.

Incidentally, January 1 appears to be a good day to fly. On the flight to San Diego business class was wide open, and even after upgrading all the frequent flyers, they had empty space, so they upgraded five young Marines who were returning from leave. A nice touch on the part of the Continental crew.
clevelandbrown is offline  

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