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Lithium batteries and Delta's abandonment of common sense

Lithium batteries and Delta's abandonment of common sense

Old Jul 1, 19, 12:27 am
  #1  
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Lithium batteries and Delta's abandonment of common sense

OK, so I am sucker - persuaded by commercials and reviews, I bought myself an AWAY Cary-On luggage, the brand being one of the first offering a battery in the luggage to charge your smart-whatever. After getting into problems with enclosing it in an inaccessible compartment, AWAY now locates their battery, which is no different than any other battery everybody carries with them, in an accessible compartment close to the handle, with an opening that permits you to connect your i.e. phone directly to the battery like you do to any portable lithium battery - which I have carried in my old carry-on's forever. And yes, I am fully aware of not putting any of these batteries in my checked luggage

On my third connection (ORD-SLC 6:55PM 6/26/19) traveling with my new Carry-on, the gate agent as I boarded, took a look at the carry-on and asked "is your battery removed from it's compartment?" and I answered: "It is a battery like any other not connected to anything, and placed like my toothbrush in the luggage" - she looked puzzled, and I boarded. Just before the doors were to be closed, 3 (yes three!) agents, the gate agent and two flight attendants approached my seat and the male FA sternly asked me: "Sir, do you have a lithium battery in your carry-on luggage"? - I answered "yes" and he said "FAA regulations mandates you remove it as otherwise we can not take off". Having learned never to argue with FA's no matter what the reason, I asked "so you want me to remove it from one pocket in the luggage to put it into another pocket"? and he said "yes, that is the regulation". So I went out of my seat under the watchful eyes of the 3 agents/FAs, opened the overhead compartment, unzipped the pocket the battery was located in, unzipped the pocket just below it and asked "is it OK if I put in this pocket" and he answered "yes, that is fine" so I did that, closed the overhead bin with everybody breathing a sigh of relief as the flight now could take off.

Obviously this is nuts! - afterwards doing a search, i found that the concern had to do with when AWAY initially having enclosed their battery in an inaccessible compartment - but with lithium batter "bra-hoo-ha", that now all the "smart carry-on" makers make an area in the luggage +/- their specific battery "designated" for said (or any other) battery, Delta, I found out, is one of the only airlines who apparently persists in wanting to play the same eye rolling stupid game as the servers in some airport lounges asking to see your ID for proof of being of legal drinking age even though you are 60+ years old

FAA says that "loose lithium batteries" provided by the luggage maker are OK to bring on board in carry-ons, and basically all other Airlines have no problems with this (i.,e. American) - But Delta clearly has decided to take a stance for nonsense like the act I had to perform in front of their staff, by taking a loose battery from one pocket in my carry-on, and placing it in a pocket next to it.

Honestly, I thought Delta was better than that.

(If I have another episode like this - I will send the luggage back!)

Last edited by Flying_Duck; Jul 1, 19 at 12:39 am Reason: spelling
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Old Jul 1, 19, 1:11 am
  #2  
 
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This is absolutely Delta's policy. From delta.com:

https://news.delta.com/delta-puts-li...afety-concerns

Customers checking a smart bag with a removable lithium ion battery must remove it and take it with them into the cabin. Customers carrying-on a smart bag containing a removable lithium ion battery must remove it from the designed enclosure prior to boarding the aircraft. This is consistent with Delta's policy today requiring customers to place spare lithium-ion batteries in their carry-on luggage.
As an electrical engineer who works with Lithium Ion batteries regularly, these are scary, scary things with a ton of energy potential. The reason you have to remove it is so the battery module can be placed in one of the lithium ion fire containment bags that are now carried onboard in case of a fire. If the battery is docked in a suitcase, you're not going to be able to safely unlatch and remove it if it's on fire, and you're not going to be able to get it into the containment bag because the suitcase will be too big. It's not an unreasonable request - it's a legitimate safety concern.

I strongly recommend finding another brand of luggage - not just because of this hassle, but also because Away is overpriced for the quality you receive. Lots of other great options out there! If you otherwise like the suitcase, just leave the battery pack at home and carry a higher quality one (I recommend Anker).
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Old Jul 1, 19, 1:13 am
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(Here's IATA's assessment of the risk of smart bags: )

Cabin firefighting proceduresFirefighting procedures require that any lithium battery showing signs of overheating should be cooled as quickly as possible using water or non-flammable liquid.The majority of PEDs powered by lithium batteries are held and/or used during flight. Passengers and cabin crew are therefore more able to identify an overheating device and take appropriate action to cool it before the point of ignition. In the case of batteries installed within carry-on bags, these are more difficult to identify at an early stage, due to their stowage in the cabin. This should be considered in the safety risk assessment.To effectively cool an overheating lithium battery either before or after ignition, the battery should be fully immersed in water or non-flammable liquid where possible. Where a battery is not able to be removed quickly or safely, the device in which it is contained should be immersed in water. Where the overheated device is the size of a carry-on bag, it is unable to be fully immersed in water or placed in a fire containment device. This is a considerable hazard and should be carefully considered by the operator before determining a policy on acceptance for carriage
https://www.iata.org/whatwedo/safety...lectronics.pdf
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Old Jul 1, 19, 1:59 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by Flying_Duck View Post
OK, so I am sucker - persuaded by commercials and reviews, I bought myself an AWAY Cary-On luggage, the brand being one of the first offering a battery in the luggage to charge your smart-whatever. After getting into problems with enclosing it in an inaccessible compartment, AWAY now locates their battery, which is no different than any other battery everybody carries with them, in an accessible compartment close to the handle, with an opening that permits you to connect your i.e. phone directly to the battery like you do to any portable lithium battery - which I have carried in my old carry-on's forever. And yes, I am fully aware of not putting any of these batteries in my checked luggage

On my third connection (ORD-SLC 6:55PM 6/26/19) traveling with my new Carry-on, the gate agent as I boarded, took a look at the carry-on and asked "is your battery removed from it's compartment?" and I answered: "It is a battery like any other not connected to anything, and placed like my toothbrush in the luggage" - she looked puzzled, and I boarded. Just before the doors were to be closed, 3 (yes three!) agents, the gate agent and two flight attendants approached my seat and the male FA sternly asked me: "Sir, do you have a lithium battery in your carry-on luggage"? - I answered "yes" and he said "FAA regulations mandates you remove it as otherwise we can not take off". Having learned never to argue with FA's no matter what the reason, I asked "so you want me to remove it from one pocket in the luggage to put it into another pocket"? and he said "yes, that is the regulation". So I went out of my seat under the watchful eyes of the 3 agents/FAs, opened the overhead compartment, unzipped the pocket the battery was located in, unzipped the pocket just below it and asked "is it OK if I put in this pocket" and he answered "yes, that is fine" so I did that, closed the overhead bin with everybody breathing a sigh of relief as the flight now could take off.

Obviously this is nuts! - afterwards doing a search, i found that the concern had to do with when AWAY initially having enclosed their battery in an inaccessible compartment - but with lithium batter "bra-hoo-ha", that now all the "smart carry-on" makers make an area in the luggage +/- their specific battery "designated" for said (or any other) battery, Delta, I found out, is one of the only airlines who apparently persists in wanting to play the same eye rolling stupid game as the servers in some airport lounges asking to see your ID for proof of being of legal drinking age even though you are 60+ years old

FAA says that "loose lithium batteries" provided by the luggage maker are OK to bring on board in carry-ons, and basically all other Airlines have no problems with this (i.,e. American) - But Delta clearly has decided to take a stance for nonsense like the act I had to perform in front of their staff, by taking a loose battery from one pocket in my carry-on, and placing it in a pocket next to it.

Honestly, I thought Delta was better than that.

(If I have another episode like this - I will send the luggage back!)
So, wait..... "ALL other airlines" is AA????

I'm confused!
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Old Jul 1, 19, 2:11 am
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asked "is your battery removed from it's compartment?" and I answered: "It is a battery like any other not connected to anything, and placed like my toothbrush in the luggage" - she looked puzzled, and I boarded


IME trying to be smart and giving an involved answer is just asking for drama. It‘s a simple yes/no question. Agent doesn’t make the policy and is not in a position to evaluate or really challenge the basis for that policy. So when you basically say “no” but using 10x as many words as you needed to, what were you expecting to happen?!
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Old Jul 1, 19, 6:45 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by BenA View Post
This is absolutely Delta's policy. From delta.com:

https://news.delta.com/delta-puts-li...afety-concerns



As an electrical engineer who works with Lithium Ion batteries regularly, these are scary, scary things with a ton of energy potential. The reason you have to remove it is so the battery module can be placed in one of the lithium ion fire containment bags that are now carried onboard in case of a fire. If the battery is docked in a suitcase, you're not going to be able to safely unlatch and remove it if it's on fire, and you're not going to be able to get it into the containment bag because the suitcase will be too big. It's not an unreasonable request - it's a legitimate safety concern.

I strongly recommend finding another brand of luggage - not just because of this hassle, but also because Away is overpriced for the quality you receive. Lots of other great options out there! If you otherwise like the suitcase, just leave the battery pack at home and carry a higher quality one (I recommend Anker).
So you are saying that if it starts on fire, you wouldn't be able to remove it from the "docked" position, but you would be able to remove it from the pocket that it is now in and put it in the bag? Good luck with all that!
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Old Jul 1, 19, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by Live4Miles View Post
So you are saying that if it starts on fire, you wouldn't be able to remove it from the "docked" position, but you would be able to remove it from the pocket that it is now in and put it in the bag? Good luck with all that!
If the battery is on fire, the mechanism to remove it from the dock is likely damaged.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by Live4Miles View Post
So you are saying that if it starts on fire, you wouldn't be able to remove it from the "docked" position, but you would be able to remove it from the pocket that it is now in and put it in the bag? Good luck with all that!
If the battery is on fire, the crewmember will be using large fireman's gloves to put it into the fire containment bag. They will have no way to operate the releases needed to remove it from its "docked" position.

https://blog.alaskaair.com/travel-ti...e-containment/

This FAA training video is from before the fire containment bags were deployed but shows the challenge lithium battery fires present.

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Old Jul 1, 19, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by Flying_Duck View Post
I bought myself an AWAY Cary-On luggage, the brand being one of the first offering a battery in the luggage to charge your smart-whatever. After getting into problems with enclosing it in an inaccessible compartment, AWAY now locates their battery, which is no different than any other battery everybody carries with them, in an accessible compartment close to the handle,
Those stupid bags. I have inquired with Away about making a no-battery variant, but got no response. There's no way I would want to deal with luggage with an integrated lithium battery, especially not in a situation where the bag has to be checked, whether by my choice or in a bins-full situation.

Originally Posted by BenA View Post
If the battery is docked in a suitcase, you're not going to be able to safely unlatch and remove it if it's on fire, and you're not going to be able to get it into the containment bag because the suitcase will be too big. It's not an unreasonable request - it's a legitimate safety concern.

I strongly recommend finding another brand of luggage - not just because of this hassle, but also because Away is overpriced for the quality you receive.
Absolutely right. The whole Away paradigm is a level of risk and complexity and dumb design I prefer to live without. I can carry charger packs a la carte. What does the Away bag do for you that they don't, besides hold up boarding?
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Old Jul 1, 19, 9:45 am
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I mean, I get it, I'm one of the biggest anti-authoritarians out there, but OP should do a few things:

1) pick your battles
2) realize that sometimes there are reasons for the policy even if you're unaware of them
3) direct your ire at the person responsible for (what you think of as) "dumb" policies rather than the person you happen to be talking to
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Old Jul 1, 19, 11:31 am
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I've always wondered where the coin-sized lithium batteries fit into the scheme of things in terms of both flight regulations and actual danger. (i.e. CR2032 and smaller) What if they're in the original package, installed in a tiny flameless candle, etc. etc.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by ConnieDee View Post
I've always wondered where the coin-sized lithium batteries fit into the scheme of things in terms of both flight regulations and actual danger. (i.e. CR2032 and smaller) What if they're in the original package, installed in a tiny flameless candle, etc. etc.
Lithium batteries (such as those used in flameless candles or car remotes) are different from lithium ion batteries, which are rechargeable and used in things like phones, tablets, shavers, etc. That's why they specify "lithium-ion" rather than just "lithium", because there are actually several battery types that use lithium as a key element.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Flying_Duck View Post
OK, so I am sucker...
Not sure how I am supposed to take the rest of the post seriously.

Not trying to be mean, and although I feel your pain, seems like the root cause of your issue started here. Anyone who flies more than a few times knows the lithium batteries, especially those embedded in devices, suitcases ect., and flying can create drama regardless of logic.

Right or wrong easier to just avoid them.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 12:34 pm
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I’m not an EE or even a particularly smart guy. That said, I did see a phone plugged into a charger, stuffed into a seatback start to smoke and within 60 second the entire plane was filled with a strong odor and it was thick enough to be uncomfortable. Fortunately, we were 30 minutes out and had just begun initial approach. The lead FA had the mitts and a bag that contained the offending device.

The battery in a smartphone is minuscule compared to the one OP is talking about. I marveled at how quickly something so small could wreak such havoc in a relatively large plane (753).
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:10 pm
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Hmmm....it seems like you are the one who abandoned common sense. They make it removable for a reason. Why would you not remove it? It amazes me when people try to act smart and then blame the airline for following POLICY made to protect you and your fellow passengers.
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