Carry-on bag
Checked-in luggage
Batteries - lithium

Can I take this item on a plane?

Electronic devices powered by lithium batteries include:

  • Smartphones
  • Laptops and notebooks
  • Tablets
  • Digital cameras
  • Portable gaming consoles (e.g., Nintendo Switch)
  • Electric toothbrushes
  • Smartwatches and fitness trackers
  • Portable Bluetooth speakers
  • Headphones and earbuds
  • Drones
  • Electric bicycles and scooters
  • Power banks and portable chargers
  • Handheld gaming devices (e.g., Nintendo 3DS)
  • E-book readers (e.g., Amazon Kindle)
  • GPS devices
  • Portable DVD players
  • Cordless power tools (e.g., drills, saws)
  • Portable medical devices (e.g., insulin pumps, portable oxygen concentrators)
  • Electric shavers
  • LED flashlights

Spare lithium batteries must go in your carry-on bag, not in checked luggage. Electronic devices with batteries installed may be taken in checked luggage under some conditions (see below).

What are the restrictions?

The important thing to remember is that all spare batteries must be in your carry-on bag. This includes all headphone and hearing aid charging cases, all power banks, and all battery packs, as they are considered to be spare batteries.

Each spare battery must be individually packaged to prevent short circuits, by being in its retail package, an individual bag, or by having tape over the exposed terminals.

Batteries contained in portable electronic devices should be carried in your carry-on bags, but if they are in your checked baggage measures must be taken to prevent inadvertent activation, and they must be completely switched off (not in sleep or hibernation mode).

Some devices with very small batteries installed (lithium-ion battery less than 2.7 Wh or lithium metal less than 0.3 g) are permitted in checked-in baggage without needing to be completely switched off.

There are three sizes of battery that apply to lithium-ion batteries (watt-hour rating) or lithium metal batteries (lithium content):

  • Small – less than 100Wh or not exceeding 2g
  • Medium – between 100 and 160Wh or 2-8g
  • Large – 160Wh or more or exceeding 8g

Devices powered by small batteries include most laptops, mobile phones, and shavers. These devices, with batteries installed, can go in your carry-on bag and in checked luggage. Up to 20 spare batteries can be carried but only  in your carry-on bag.

Devices powered by medium size batteries include larger cameras used by photographers, some drones, and some jump-starter packs. These devices, with batteries installed, can go in your carry-on bag and in some cases, with your airline’s approval, your checked luggage. Up to two spare batteries  must be in your carry-on bag but not checked luggage, also with your airline’s approval.

Devices powered by large batteries include e-bikes, mobility devices and some skateboards. These large batteries are considered too high risk and cannot be taken on board, either as spare batteries or installed in their devices. The only exception is that some mobility devices (wheelchairs) may be permitted – however, you must contact your airline for approval, before taking a mobility device on board.

Why is this item restricted?

Burnt device and battery

Batteries can overheat and catch fire.

To date and globally, there have been hundreds of occurrences in the air involving lithium batteries, including fatal accidents. Consequently, both lithium ion and lithium metal batteries are considered dangerous goods when transported by air.

From cell phones to self-propelling baby strollers, lithium batteries are increasingly powering goods transported by aircraft.

The likelihood of such an occurrence is still rare, but the consequences are, of course, potentially catastrophic.

Read more:

Vector magazine: Lithium batteries – The good, the bad, and the ugly [PDF 254 KB]

Further resources

Vector magazine: Lithium battery fires do happen here [PDF 170 KB]

ICAO electronic bulletin: Dangerous goods carried by passenger and crew

News item: TSA surveillance footage of lithium battery exploding in bag (external link)

What happens if I have a restricted item in my carry-on bag?

You will be asked to relinquish all dangerous or prohibited items found in your carry-on luggage. If you refuse:

  • you will not be permitted to move through the screening point, and
  • your airline will be advised of your refusal.

How does Aviation Security screen for restricted items?

AvSec x-ray bags going onto aircraft to ensure there is nothing dangerous in them. If something comes up on the x-ray that needs checking, the bag will be opened, searched and any dangerous good or prohibited item will be removed, with a bag search notification form left within the bag.

What if my items are removed?

If you want to retrieve an item that has been removed, please contact your airline as soon as possible. The airline will dispose of items within three to seven days, so the sooner you make contact, the better your chance of having the items returned to you. For more information, see:

Retrieving your removed items