Is that a spare battery in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

The TSA’s new rules on batteries are going to get plenty of press, and my thoughts will be hardly original.

Suffice to say that it took me awhile to figure them out, I can’t imagine how this will translate to the median traveler … and to TSA screeners who will be forced to understand the difference between lithium metal, lithium ion, and NiMH batteries and calculate watt hours of unlabeled batteries.


Short version, you can no longer pack spare batteries in your checked bags. And you can only carry on two spare batteries (how will screeners know if you limit any single item going through an x-ray machine to two batteries?). And those spare batteries are limited by a formula that requires more chemistry than I remember from college, but the TSA assures that cell phone and laptop batteries for the most part will be unaffected.

To make matters worse, these new rules were announced today to go into effect on January 1. Holiday travel day, with folks already on the road who will be returning home with whatever spare batteries they’ve already packed. One of a handful of amateur days and the TSA will eb trying out new rules on an unsuspecting and unaware public.

And, oh yeah, I’m traveling on New Year’s Day. That’ll be fun.

Meanwhile in an unrelated development, the comically and cosmically inept Italian government has made a reasonable smart move in choosing to negotiate a sale of money-losing flag carrier Alitalia to Air France. Today, at least, Italian aviation policy moves were better than American ones.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Head to SafeTravel’s site for a complete list of the new battery rules. And make sure to familiarize yourself with them before heading to the airport, otherwise you could wind up having to surrender some costly spares! [via View from the Wing] […]

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