Batteries and portable power packs

Batteries are used in everyday items like mobile phones, laptops and tablets. But if they aren't carried correctly onboard your flight they can risk passenger safety.

Batteries that are installed in portable electronic devices (ie laptops, electric toothbrushes, handheld gaming devices etc) may be kept in checked luggage under some conditions. You should discuss this with your airline when you check in.

All spare or loose batteries must be in your carry-on baggage only.

Watch our travelling safely with lithium batteries video to learn how to carry everyday batteries safely.

Spare batteries

Don't carry spare batteries in your checked luggage, no matter what size they are.

You can carry spare batteries in your carry-on baggage, but normally there are limits to the number of spare batteries per person that airlines allow on board. Contact your airline before your flight to check the limitations. You should also be able to find this information on their website.

When preparing to carry spare batteries, separate the batteries and protect their terminals so they can’t touch other metal objects in your luggage.

To protect battery terminals, you could:

  • keep the batteries in their original retail packaging
  • place tape over exposed terminals
  • place each battery in a separate plastic bag or container.

Batteries for mobile phones, laptops and cameras

The batteries that power your mobile phone, laptop and camera are usually under the 100 watt-hour (Wh) rating.

If these batteries remain in their devices, they’re safe in checked baggage, provided the devices are switched off and protected from being crushed or damaged in the checked luggage.

However, if you have a spare battery that isn’t in a device, you must carry it in your carry-on baggage only.

Lithium ion batteries 100–160WH

These are more powerful batteries. You can find them in equipment such as power tools and mobility aids. They’re usually between 100 and 160Wh.

If you want to carry these kind of lithium batteries with you, you must get approval from your airline before flying.

If the battery is in a device, you may carry it in either checked or carry-on baggage. If the battery is a spare and not in the equipment, you must carry it in your carry-on baggage only.

Lithium ion batteries 160Wh and over

You can't carry lithium batteries rated at 160Wh or more unless they’re for wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Read more about wheelchairs and mobility aids with non-spillable batteries on flights.

For all other lithium batteries rated at 160Wh or more, you must transport these batteries as dangerous goods cargo.

Contact your airline for more advice.

Calculating watt-hours

Most batteries have a watt-hour rating (Wh) on their casing, so you can see how powerful they are.

Some older models might not show this information, but usually show the voltage and amp hour. You can use these to calculate the watt-hour:

Multiply the voltage (V) by the amp hour (Ah)

For example, a 12-volt battery with a 5-amp hour rating is 60 watt-hours (V x Ah = Wh).

If the battery is rated in milli-amp hours (mAh), divide your final answer by 1000 to get the watt-hours ([V x mAh] / 1000 = Wh).

Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//operations-safety-and-travel/travel-and-passengers/you-fly/batteries-and-portable-power-packs
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