Travel Photographer? Important: New Regs Re. Flying with Batteries. (Updated)
Checking in with Chase Jarvis’ blog this moring gave me a nasty shock and I’m only just wrapping my head around this. It seems the US D.O.T or/and(?) the FAA (not the TSA) are now limiting the kind and amount of batteries you can either check or carry on. Here’s a couple links – knock yourself out:
Here’s the gist of it from where I sit. It’s not the regs that matter, it’s how the security guy at the gate decides to interpret it that matters. And if I know nothing about watt hours and how much Lithium is in my Li-ion batteries, you can bet the guy at security knows – and cares – even less.
It looks like the big issue is with Lithium batteries, not as much with Lithium-Ion batteries. For me it boils down to this – no batteries checked, only carry on. All batteries carried IN the cameras, strobe, etc. Spares are CLEARLY marked Li-On and will go into a baggy so it appears I know the rules, understand them and comply with them.
Canon users, your BP-511A batteries should be fine, but carry them IN the camera. I’ll happily post anything from Nikon users if you know anything about your batteries. My MacBook battery is Li-Ion and is 55 watt hours, so well under the limits – a spare should be fine (but then I’m not so sure I’m reading these regs correctly)
If there’s an issue I’ve missed here, chime in. Also if you have any idea how to discover the watt hours and amount of lithium (seriously? Less than 2grams of Lithium? How the heck…? Sigh)
Take care with the folks at security, smile, be compliant, and hope to God they don’t find out that digital camera sensors are being used by Al Qaida for unsavory purposes…
Update: Ok, I’ve had time to let this settle and to stew over the chart and this isn’t (it seems) as bad as it first seemed. In part because I’ve looked at all my batteries and they’re ALL Lithium-Ion, not Lithium-Metal. And the chart seems to be OK with Lith-Ion batts both in and seperate from the device. And no maximums are given. Perhaps there’s more to it and the chart is only part of the story, but it seems if you only have Lith-Ion you’re safe. In addtion to this, at this point this only affects people flying on American carriers. No doubt the rest of the world will follow suit, but for now it’s not an industry-wide thing.