(eTN) – Looks like air travel has just gotten a little bit more complicated, with the US Department of Transportation issuing a statement concerning loose lithium batteries. This edict of sorts claims that lithium batteries will have to be inserted into a phone, notebook or other electronic device or dropped into a plastic bag and bundled along with carry-on baggage with a maximum number of two batteries per passenger from January 1st onwards. I guess the US Department of Transportation does not want to start off the New Year with a bang, eh?
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, this restriction came about due to the fact should a lithium battery catch fire while in a cargo hold, existing extinguishing systems won’t be able to stop the blaze, and could result in serious injury and even death for those who are on-board. The National Transportation Safety Board also insists that it has not ruled out lithium as the source of a plane fire at the Philadelphia International Airport in 2006. What does this ban mean for most folks? Well, notebook users will probably be hit the hardest as there are folks who tend to carry extra batteries in order to extend the notebook’s power supply while in flight. Shutterbugs who have an avid love for photography will also find this regulation to be rather stifling, since they love carrying pre-charged batteries when traveling to places with different electrical outlets.
Is it just me, or does anyone think that the airline industry is going to regulate itself out of business in the near future, never mind the ever spiraling costs of fuel? Further investigation on the Department of Transportation’s site showed that Li-ion batteries under 8 grams of lithium equivalent are allowed without a quantity restriction, so a 60-watt hour MacBook Pro battery is approximately 5.5 grams, making it theoretically possible to take as many as you like on your flight. Anyone dare to test this theory out?