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Reason #39 I'm glad not to be a frequent flyer anymore

You're limited to how many laptop batteries you can take when flying. From AP-

WASHINGTON - To help reduce the risk of fires, air travelers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning Jan. 1, the Transportation Department said Friday.

Passengers can still check baggage with lithium batteries if they are installed in electronic devices, such as cameras, cell phones and laptop computers. If packed in plastic bags, batteries may be in carryon baggage. The limit is two batteries per passenger.

Between 1997 and 2001 I flew over 400,000 miles or 80,000 a year average. In each of those years I made at least oneinternational trip. During that time I was a elite, either Gold or Platinum class, Northwest Airlines Frequent Flyer. In addition to Northwest, I flew International flights on KLM and Singapore Airlines. Because of my loads of flight and Frequent Flyer miles I usually flew Business or First Class. My destinations in that period included Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong, Zurich, Vienna, Warsaw, and London.

How many times did I fly on planes where I could recharge a laptop battery in flight? Zero.

I know there is at least one carrier today you can charge in flight. However I'm betting the battery restriction is highly annoying to business travelers on intl flights. One battery at best gets you two hours of computer use, some batteries as little as an hour. You mean I get on a flight from Detroit to Tokyo, a 13-hour flight, and I got exactly two backup batteries I'm allowed to use? When I traveled internationally, I carried three to five spares. If I didn't sleep in flight, I'd drain all of them.

If you start at a point other than your departure point from the US, your original battery is likely to be dead even before you get on the intl. flight. That's unless you have time to get in a airport club to re-charge your battery. Restrictions on packed luggage I understand to a point.(Are loose lithium batteries a fire hazard when placed in a carryon? I don't pack electronic gear in any case, and experienced travelers don't) Why is there a restriction on carry-ons? Have restrictions on carry-ons have become that onerous? My laptop could be used for terrorism! Yeah Right. It's much more likely to be used for watching DVDs, doing work, or God help us, hours of playing Minesweeper or Solitaire!

Note- I'm partial to minesweeper myself if I'm using the PC for enjoyment.

I've flown just a few times since 9-11. The more I read about the pleasures these days of being crammed in a airplane for a few hours, the happier I am to have my feet on terra firma.


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Comments (3)

Here is the <a href="http:/... (Below threshold)
mcg Author Profile Page:

Here is the government press release:

New US DOT Hazmat Safety Rule to Place Lithium Battery Limits in Carry-on Baggage on Passenger Aircraft Effective January 1, 2008

Passengers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning January 1, 2008 once new federal safety rules take effect. The new regulation, designed to reduce the risk of lithium battery fires, will continue to allow lithium batteries in checked baggage if they are installed in electronic devices, or in carry-on baggage if stored in plastic bags.

Common consumer electronics such as travel cameras, cell phones, and most laptop computers are still allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. However, the rule limits individuals to bringing only two extended-life spare rechargeable lithium batteries (see attached illustration), such as laptop and professional audio/video/camera equipment lithium batteries in carry-on baggage.

"Doing something as simple as keeping a spare battery in its original retail packaging or a plastic zip-lock bag will prevent unintentional short-circuiting and fires," said Krista Edwards, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Lithium batteries are considered hazardous materials because they can overheat and ignite in certain conditions. Safety testing conducted by the FAA found that current aircraft cargo fire suppression system would not be capable of suppressing a fire if a shipment of non-rechargeable lithium batteries were ignited in flight.

"This rule protects the passenger," said Lynne Osmus, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assistant administrator for security and hazardous materials. "It's one more step for safety. It's the right thing to do and the right time to do it."

In addition to the new rule, PHMSA is working with the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the battery and airline industries, airline employee organizations, testing laboratories, and the emergency response communities to increase public awareness about battery-related risks and developments. These useful safety tips are highlighted at the public website: http://safetravel.dot.gov.

Important note: the limit is two spare batteries per traveller, stored individually in plastic bags to insure the contacts don't short. The battery in the laptop or other device itself is not counted towards this total. Also, the press release seems to talk specifically about "extended-life" spare batteries (go to the link for pictures).
Im a frequint flyer i fly w... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

Im a frequint flyer i fly where ever i go SQUAWK SQUAWK

I think our ancestors were ... (Below threshold)

I think our ancestors were treated better in steerage. At least when they called you peasant scum you knew where you stood.




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