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News

Advice for travelling by air with Lithium batteries

International Imaging Industry Association (I3A) : 17 December, 2008  (Technical Article)
A3I offers advice to travellers carrying either loose or device-attached lithium based batteries or film on airlines
Air travelers should expect heightened enforcement of regulations on flying with lithium batteries this holiday season, according to the International Imaging Industry Association.

Uninstalled, or spare, lithium batteries - both the primary lithium digital camera batteries and the lithium-ion type that powers laptop computers, plus some AA batteries -- have been prohibited in US checked baggage since January 1 due to fire risk; elsewhere in the world, regulations may be even more stringent. I3A recommends transporting any lithium batteries in carry-on baggage only, for safety's sake and to avoid possible confiscation of items from checked baggage. Additional pointers and information can be found on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Web site.

'During recent travel to international standards meetings in the United States and Europe, I was told by TSA inspectors and airline personnel to remove ALL lithium batteries from my checked baggage,' said I3A Standards Director James Peyton. 'These warnings occurred at New York's JFK Airport, Detroit's Wayne County Airport, Schiphol in Amsterdam, London Heathrow and Cologne-Bonn in Germany.'

I3A also offers travelers advice on making sure that the precious holiday memories they capture on film, including single-use film cameras, or digital media arrive at home safely after passing through security scanners. In general, digital media need no special handling, while film should be treated carefully.
These recommendations are the result of research conducted by I3A's Integrity in Transportation of Imaging Products (ITIP) committee jointly with the TSA on the X-ray machines and scanners used to inspect checked baggage and carry-on items.

Summary of I3A's Advice:.

* Lithium batteries - safe inside their devices in carry-ons; spare batteries also safe in carry-ons if activation prevented; not allowed in checked baggage.
* Digital cameras/media/camera phones - safe in carry-on or checked baggage.
* DVDs and DVD players - safe in carry-on or checked baggage (but save your work in progress first).
* Low-speed colour film, exposed or unexposed - not safe in checked baggage; ask for hand inspection if the film has had five previous trips through scanners, otherwise safe in carry-ons
* High-speed (greater than ISO 800) colour film - not safe in either checked or carry-on baggage; always ask for hand inspection.
* Black-and-white film, any speed, exposed or unexposed - not safe in either checked or carry-on baggage; always ask for hand inspection.
* Motion picture film, exposed or unexposed -- not safe in either checked or carry-on baggage; always ask for hand inspection.
* After holiday trips, preserve digital images for long-term enjoyment of precious memories by following the steps at I3A's educational Web site.
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