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Airplane Cargo Holds Can Be Too Hot for Li-Ion

The Transport Security Administration (TSA) has mandated since 2008 that no loose lithium ion batteries may be packed in with checked luggage. This means that all your spare batteries will be going in with your carry-on, which may not be a bad thing if your flight doesn't have any in-seat power.

If you don't want to deal with the added shoulder weight, you'll have to pair the lithium ion battery with the device. (Read more about the rules here.)

New findings brought to light by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) say that lithium ion batteries are sensitive to heat and can ignite in a hot environment. Of course, that is a characteristic of batteries in general, but the new research could lead to an even further more restrictive set of guidelines for what people can bring when flying.

The FAA also acknowledged publicly that the UPS 747-400 plane that crashed in Dubai earlier this year was carrying a large quantity of lithium batteries.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Silmarunya
    These regulators are slightly overzealous...

    Li-Ion batteries only ignite at fairly high temperatures (around 600 C), which I doubt will be reached in a cargo room. Defective batteries are of course far more prone to ignition (due to thermal runaway), but how many people take a defective battery with them?

    Okay, terrorists and really stupid people might, but we can't forbid everything... When will people and governments learn to accept that you cannot prevent everything? Sometimes, a marginal bit of safety does not outweigh a loss of freedom and convenience.
    Reply
  • TeKEffect
    Agreed ^
    Reply
  • squallypie
    the plane in Dubai crashed right after take off... The batteries couldnt've ignited in such a short period of time, unless it was in the plane for a few days already
    Reply
  • samdsox
    beamthegreatlol?

    dude stop loling at the first post of each story. Its really anoying. u have loled at a plane crashing, at a disabled boy using an ipad, and at a translation app. NONE OF THOSE ARE FUNNY.
    Reply
  • calinkula
    beamthegreat's Troll-spell hits samdsox.

    beamthegreat, roll 2d10 + 3 for damage.
    Reply
  • fayzaan
    calinkulabeamthegreat's Troll-spell hits samdsox.beamthegreat, roll 2d10 + 3 for damage.
    INTERNET HACKS!
    Reply
  • christop
    It must have been something else besides batteries.
    Reply
  • fayzaan
    christopIt must have been something else besides batteries.
    It must have been Santa
    Reply
  • darkavenger123
    i agree. Better safe than sorry. And you won't know what terrorists will do....maybe they hide leaked lithium-ion batteries inside Everyready bunnies and make some timer to leak it and set to detonate or something. Who knows.
    Reply
  • dEAne
    Not all batteries which pass certain tests are consider safe that's why the FAA ruled out to restrict all lithium batteries for safety.
    Reply