The U.S. Transportation Department has set new rules to help minimize the risk that lithium batteries could overheat and catch fire on board of a plane:
The new rules beginning Jan. 1 say travelers can bring a laptop computer, digital camera, cellphone and other equipment on board or in checked luggage if their lithium batteries are installed in the items.
And fliers can bring spare batteries in carry-on luggage if they're stored in plastic bags or if they're in the original retail packaging. But travelers can bring only as many as two such spare batteries, and each must be packed separately.
Additional points about lithium content:
• Passengers can fly with lithium-ion batteries containing no more than the equivalent of eight grams of lithium content. All lithium-ion batteries in cellphones and almost all laptop-computer batteries meet this rule, the agency says.
• As for spares, fliers can bring as many as two, but the batteries' total lithium content must be less than 25 grams.
• And for lithium-metal batteries, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the maximum lithium content is two grams per battery. Almost all consumer-type lithium-metal batteries meet this rule, the agency says.