Why are Lithium Batteries Not Allowed on Airplanes?


You must be traveling so soon, and most probably, that’s why you have landed into this great piece of information. Do you know what is involved when traveling with devices containing lithium batteries? I bet not! That’s why you are on this.

Well, there are restrictions when we talk about traveling on planes. One of those restrictions involves lithium batteries. They may seem small, but the impact they can have when they cause a fire on board is unimaginable. Lithium batteries can produce dangerous heat levels, cause ignition, short circuit very easy, and cause inextinguishable fires. That’s why renowned aviation authorities, including those in the USA, have banned lithium batteries when traveling.

What Batteries are Not Allowed on Airplanes?

  1. Lithium Batteries for Spare – Both lithium polymer and lithium metal are not allowed on planes both in carry on and checked baggage. Lithium batteries have hit news headlines in recent months. Suppose a single cell was to catch fire because of the dangers associated with thermal runways. There have been viral videos on YouTube involving various gadgets raging from hoverboards to a pair of earphones. These videos showed these gadgets burning into flames. Aviation authorities have banned some of these gadgets from getting into planes, and the recent ban was Samsung note 7 smart-phones from the USA after it was proven to cause fire and explosives. There are cautions if batteries have to get into the plane, and they should be kept strictly separated from other flammable materials.
  2. Spillable Batteries – Also known as car batteries or wet batteries too are not allowed in planes. But you can be let in with such batteries if, for instance, you have a wheelchair or using the battery to charge a scooter. You can be allowed to have the batteries on the plane. However, you are advised to inform the plane staff so that they can lay down the necessary measures to pack the batteries for the safe flight properly.

How Can Lithium Batteries Prevent you From Flying?

It would be good to let you know the limitation that air passengers are set to observe as they go with devices using lithium batteries or when traveling with spare batteries.

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Carry Fewer PEDs – PEDs are the equipment used with lithium batteries as the source of power. Such material includes electronic devices like cameras, mobile phones, laptops, e-readers, and medical devices such as portable oxygen generators. While traveling on planes, you are supposed to have less than fifteen devices with you either in carry on or checked baggage.
  2. Battery Content and Ratings – Every installed battery in a PED MUST not surpass the following: for the lithium metal or lithium alloy batteries; you are not expected to carry any lithium with more than two grams.

For the lithium-ion batteries, they should indicate an hour watt rating of less than 100 Wh.

I know you wonder how about that battery of yours with no Wh rating, you have to calculate it using the formula below to determine the watts hours rating.

Volts* ampere-hours = Watts hours.

If your battery’s capacity is shown in milliamp here hours, you will need to divide the ampere-hours by 1000 before executing the math.

  1. Protection From Damages – For the batteries that might be allowed in the plane and carried in checked baggage, measures should be put in place to prevent any damage and prevent any unintentional fire incidences.
  2. Complete Devices Switch Off – The devices on board using lithium batteries; they must be switched off entirely and not in sleep mode or hibernation.

Traveling and shipping lithium batteries can be complicated, and failure to know the traveling and shipping procedures and mechanisms can make you not travel.

How Do You Travel With Lithium Batteries?

  1. Smart Luggage – Some of the newly made suitcases, are coming with the inbuilt charging system to power up your phone. However relaxed, they may sound; it’s important to remember that many airline rules never allow them on board. These suitcases have built-in lithium batteries. It’s advisable to check your luggage to confirm it has the lithium batteries. Remove them from the luggage and carry them on board with you.
  2. Lithium Spare Batteries – If you honestly need to travel with extra lithium batteries, you need to transport them in carry-on luggage with every battery separately to protect and prevent short circuits. We recommend retaining them in the original package, taping over the exposed terminals.
  3. Electronic Cigarettes and Vape Pens – Although some airline companies still term vape pens as dangerous, need to confirm before with them in case rules, and procedures have changed. Otherwise, electronic cigarettes with lithium batteries are allowed on planes but only on carry-on luggage.
  4. Power Banks and External Chargers – Power banks and external chargers that are met to charge other devices have inbuilt lithium-ion batteries. You are advised to transport them with the same care as you do spare lithium batteries.
  5. Shipping Lithium Batteries– All shipping requirements should comply with aviation authority guidelines. For the cargo composing of lithium battery devices – laptops and phones being shipped and you as a staff you are not sure whether they are separately packed, kindly contact your business representative for further assistance.


Traveling with lithium battery devices can pose such a big challenge on board. They are avoided on planes following the dangers associated with them in case they cause a fire. However, there those that are entirely not allowed while others are allowed. If you have to travel with them, you either have them on the carry on or at checked luggage. Aviation authorities have gone ahead to ban them. For those that are allowed, they should be limited to keep the minimal chances of fire occurrence. Authorities are forced to do this despite planes having extinguisher systems because; a fire caused by lithium-ion batteries is so enormous such that the system has proven not to put it out. Mind your devices with lithium-ion batteries when on planes.