FAA to airline passengers: Leave spare batteries at home

FAA to airline passengers: Leave spare batteries at home
© Thinkstock

The Federal Aviation Administration is encouraging airline passengers to leave their spare lithium batteries at home when they pack for flights. 

The agency issued a Safe Alert for flight operators to encourage airlines to inform passengers at the point of ticket purchases and check-in that lithium batteries are prohibited in checked and carry-on luggage. 

"Lithium batteries present a risk of both igniting and fueling fires in aircraft cargo/baggage compartments," the agency said in the safety notice.

ADVERTISEMENT
"To reduce the risk of lithium battery fires, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), and equivalent International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods (ICAO TI), prohibit spare lithium batteries from checked baggage (including baggage checked at the gate or on-board the aircraft)," the notice continued. 

Lithium batteries became a topic of concern in aviation circles after a series of incidents involving Boeing's 787 "Dreamliner" during its 2013 rollout drew attention to problems with transporting the devices on airplanes. 

The FAA said in its notice that airlines should "ensure all crewmembers and ground personnel handling passengers and baggage understand that they must report incidents where fire, violent rupture, explosion, or heat sufficient to be dangerous to packaging or personal safety to include charring of packaging, melting of packaging, scorching of packaging, or other evidence, occurs as a result of a battery or battery-powered device." 

The agency added that "during ticket purchase and check-in processes, [airlines should] inform passengers that spare lithium batteries are prohibited from checked baggage (including checked baggage at the gate) and refer passengers to FAA’s Pack Safe website for additional information. 

"Prior to allowing a passenger or crewmember to offer their carry-on baggage to be checked from the gate or on-board the aircraft, verbally inform them to remove all spare lithium batteries from their carry-on baggage," the agency said.