Spare lithium batteries, used in everything from laptops, to digital cameras, to electric toothbrushes, “present a risk of both igniting and fueling fires in aircraft cargo/baggage compartments,” the agency said in a safety warning. Now the FAA wants airlines to prohibit the batteries from checked bags and remind passengers at check-in and ticket purchase not to pack them.
Airplane manufacturers and the safety agency have previously warned about the risk of shipping lithium batteries in bulk on planes. Concerns about the batteries first started circulating after a fire in Boston onboard a Boeing 787 in Boston ignited in January 2013.
To reduce the risk of lithium battery fires, the FAA’s regulations only allow for limited exceptions for passengers to carry spare lithium batteries into the cabin for personal use. The government agency is also asking that airlines to inform passengers of this ban during ticket purchase and check-in.
For spare lithium batteries that are carried into the cabin, the FAA says that they need to be stored separate from each other or have their exposed terminals taped over. They should also be kept away from other metal objects, and there are size and quantity restrictions as well.