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  • Lithium batteries and airlines

    Given that many travel electric wheelchairs use lithium batteries, are these readily accepted by airlines throughout the world?
    C-6/7 incomplete

  • #2
    Here is an explanation of the FAA regulations on this:

    https://www.faa.gov/hazmat/packsafe/...nfo/?hazmat=37

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kulea View Post
      Given that many travel electric wheelchairs use lithium batteries, are these readily accepted by airlines throughout the world?
      Your safest bet is to check with the airlines that you'll be flying. For domestic travel, the FAA has different regulations regarding batteries that are "removable" (typ in small "scooters") vs those that are more permanent (like full-size powerchairs). These regulations govern the size (capacity) of the battery, how it must be secured, insulated and WHERE it can be transported (e.g., removable batteries must be part of your carry-on, not "checked", and the carrier notified of this)

      Given the bruhaha re: lithium battery induced fires, you may wish to invest <frown> in a set of lead-acid batteries for travel just to avoid any confrontation in a foreign port that you wouldn't be in a position to lose! Or, ship the lithium battery under separate cover.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by automation View Post
        Given the bruhaha re: lithium battery induced fires, you may wish to invest <frown> in a set of lead-acid batteries for travel just to avoid any confrontation in a foreign port that you wouldn't be in a position to lose! Or, ship the lithium battery under separate cover.
        Apparently, sage advice:

        https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/01/healt...rnd/index.html

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kulea View Post
          Given that many travel electric wheelchairs use lithium batteries, are these readily accepted by airlines throughout the world?

          Yes when it comes to mobility they are accepted!!

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          • #6
            It depends upon exactly what the battery is made from. Personally I wouldn't sit on a box of lithium ion cells nor want to be on a plane with them in the hold. I'm quite happy to use LiFeP04 batteries in my chair and never worry about them igniting. I don't know if airlines differentiate between types of chemistry but they need to.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mrb View Post
              It depends upon exactly what the battery is made from. Personally I wouldn't sit on a box of lithium ion cells nor want to be on a plane with them in the hold. I'm quite happy to use LiFeP04 batteries in my chair and never worry about them igniting. I don't know if airlines differentiate between types of chemistry but they need to.
              The OP asked about airlines "throughout the world". I'd not be vain enough that I could give an authoritative answer about what El Al, Qantas, Aeroflot, Royal Brunei, Air Namibia, Japan Airlines, etc. would "readily accept" -- hence my advice "safest bet is to check with the airlines that you'll be flying" as well as "invest in a set of lead-acid batteries for travel".

              Or, indicate WHICH airlines you're concerned with -- and then ask THEM! A printed copy of any correspondence confirming their policy may be a great "get out of jail, free" card if you encounter some paranoid "agent"/employee who's on a (misguided) crusade to make the airways safer! (Airlines aren't likely to "hold your connecting flight" while you resolve a dispute in which they believe themselves to be correct!)

              [E.g., the news article referenced in my earlier post will undoubtedly result in the "victim" being compensated. OTOH, his travel has already been disturbed and his ego likely bruised by the episode]

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              • #8
                Originally posted by automation View Post
                The OP asked about airlines "throughout the world". I'd not be vain enough that I could give an authoritative answer about what El Al, Qantas, Aeroflot, Royal Brunei, Air Namibia, Japan Airlines, etc. would "readily accept" -- hence my advice "safest bet is to check with the airlines that you'll be flying" as well as "invest in a set of lead-acid batteries for travel".

                Or, indicate WHICH airlines you're concerned with -- and then ask THEM! A printed copy of any correspondence confirming their policy may be a great "get out of jail, free" card if you encounter some paranoid "agent"/employee who's on a (misguided) crusade to make the airways safer! (Airlines aren't likely to "hold your connecting flight" while you resolve a dispute in which they believe themselves to be correct!)

                [E.g., the news article referenced in my earlier post will undoubtedly result in the "victim" being compensated. OTOH, his travel has already been disturbed and his ego likely bruised by the episode]
                If you don't know what chemistry your battery is you need to. Obviously check with airline and possibly the airport as airlines use different service agents to handle baggage. If they specify types of Lithium do some research into what chemistry your batteries are, you might need technical information from the maker. If they are Lithium ion you might want to consider safety at home not just travelling.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mrb View Post
                  If you don't know what chemistry your battery is you need to. Obviously check with airline and possibly the airport as airlines use different service agents to handle baggage. If they specify types of Lithium do some research into what chemistry your batteries are, you might need technical information from the maker. If they are Lithium ion you might want to consider safety at home not just travelling.
                  Regardless, you're still stuck at the mercy of the individual agent-on-hand. Some will hear you say "lithium BATTERY" and some will hear you say "LITHIUM battery". The ones who hear "LITHIUM" and are alarmed (from partial information) are the ones who can make for an unpleasant (even aborted!) trip.

                  In the late '70s, I used to (air) travel a lot with electronic prototyping tools in my luggage or carryon. I learned early on to refer to my "wire wrap GUN":



                  as a "wire wrap TOOL". Certain words were triggers for the airline agents, given that hijackings were fairly common events, back then.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...jackings#1970s

                  This despite the obvious inability of this "device" to be any more threatening of a weapon than a paperweight might be!

                  "Lithium" might well cause similar alarm, today:

                  http://blog.thecompliancecenter.com/...ed-since-1991/

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