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The Deal With Batteries! Underwater Photographers Unite.

The Deal With Batteries! Underwater Photographers Unite.

Old Oct 31, 17, 6:44 pm
  #1  
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The Deal With Batteries! Underwater Photographers Unite.

I'm starting this thread to get some correct information and stories regarding batteries, where and how they need to be packed and what airlines are the worst for causing issues when you have large batteries with you for work and play.



My story begins trying to get to Egypt via Air Asia for the first few flights. Both myself and My Girlfriend are underwater photographers and professional divers. So on our first non work related trip in some time we headed over to the Red Sea to chase Sharks on an Emperor Liveaboard holiday, only to be plagued at every step of the way on our flights by the large batteries that power our video and photography lights.

I'm well aware of the problems with Smasung Notes and the high MaH chargers, but we had never experienced any problems with our battery gear before.

The first was Air Asia, Phuket -> Bangkok -> Cochin, the checkin staff kept asking us about batteries in our "check in luggage", which is where you have always been meant to place them. In the end I had to lie and say we had none because they kept saying we COULD NOT, take batteries with us.

That would have ruined our holiday right there and then, but it's the first time I've been asked about batteries ever, so I just figured it was an over zealous airline staff that had taken offense to us and was trying to make things difficult.


Then we got stopped between Cochin & Abu Dhabi for the same thing, Batteries in our Check In Luggage. At this point the airline was much more helpful than Air Asia and informed us that you can't take big batteries in your Checked In anymore and that you now need to take them in your carry on.
For reference, big batteries in your carry on cause problems at almost every security check I've ever been through.

Also remember these batteries cost 100's if not thousands of dollars sometimes and it's not an option to just throw them in the bin like a wayward water bottle!

Eventually we got all our batteries and camera equipment through this flight also. But they pulled us off our boarding line to go through the checked in, so just be warned about batteries in your Checked In.


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Upon returning we carried all our batteries in our carry on, for all further flights, abu dhabi -> Cairo, Cairo -> UK with only a few minor problems at security check points URGH!

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Upon returning home we have heard similar stories from many other photographers and some have even have their checked in opened without their approval and their lights and batteries taken out. None yet have managed to get them back either.

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Please post up your experiences or any info you have on this issue and what are the potential work around.

Because batteries weigh a lot and 7kg carry on doesn't cut it for most trips sadly.
Simon Ilett is offline  
Old Nov 1, 17, 11:51 am
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So sorry to hear of your headaches. I'm going to move this to the Travel Photography forum, where I think you'll be most likely to get informed replies from others with experience with similar issues.

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Old Nov 1, 17, 2:09 pm
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I travel with my underwater kit pretty regularly (housing, two strobes). Batteries never go in the checked luggage, itís a standard regulation. Most airlines have stated requirements about batteries in hand luggage in terms of size - make sure you read and know them before you go.

With some prep, I actually think itís barely an issue. This is a non-trivial safety issue and the airlines are doing the right thing. It may be inconvenient but the amount of energy in a large battery is pretty significant.
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Old Nov 1, 17, 9:22 pm
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Lithium-based batteries are not allowed in checked baggage. Multiple planes have been destroyed in flight that way. Can you carry smaller batteries? Up to 100Wh per battery there is no limit. 100Wh to 160Wh is only with airline permission and limited to two batteries. Beyond that doesn't go on the plane. The big stuff is ground ship only.

Can you get old-tech stuff that uses Ni-Mh rather than Lithium? Those aren't restricted.

Productivity, the problem isn't the energy in the battery, but the low resistance of lithium batteries. This means they can deliver that energy fast if something goes wrong--fast enough to heat up and cause a fire. It's the speed that matters, not the total energy. I have managed to slightly weld metal with less than 1% of the energy of the smallest hearing aid batteries. The weld was weak, I could pull the wires back apart without much difficulty but they most certainly were sticking together.
Loren Pechtel is offline  
Old Nov 2, 17, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by Productivity View Post
I travel with my underwater kit pretty regularly (housing, two strobes). Batteries never go in the checked luggage, itís a standard regulation. Most airlines have stated requirements about batteries in hand luggage in terms of size - make sure you read and know them before you go.

With some prep, I actually think itís barely an issue. This is a non-trivial safety issue and the airlines are doing the right thing. It may be inconvenient but the amount of energy in a large battery is pretty significant.
Firstly. Most strobes take Double A (AA) Batteries, so yeah I can imagine putting those into your carry on not being much of an issue.

If you are talking about Deep Blue Lights, Archon, Keldon even Sola and other high end manufacturers your batteries are into the kilograms per unit and you are going to want more than one of them.

Your information didn't actually specify anything of value as far as I could tell nor did it provide insight on how you can safely travel with large batteries that are a requirement for your work and kit without the constant fear of losing them to air port staff mid journey.

Is there some way of checking them in, maybe in a separate hard case. I can't be the only one who has bumped into this issue?

I've tried contacting Air Asia and all they say is it's up to the people at the counter or security. They just have special regulations about those high Mah quick chargers and Samsung Notes.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 8:39 pm
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The only thing I can find online that is useful, which is similar to what @Loren Pechtel wrote above is following, clearly stated on Cathay Pacific.

cathaypacific.com/cx/en_US/travel-information/baggage/controlled-and-banned-items/lithium-batteries.html


Which clearly states that Audio/Visual Batteries, Lithium or not can be stored in your Checked In, if they are inside the device in which they are used. Which is how I transport them.

You can not find this info on most airline websites, cough (Air Asia).. If any can find it, please post the relevant link.
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Old Feb 3, 18, 7:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Simon Ilett View Post
The only thing I can find online that is useful, which is similar to what @Loren Pechtel wrote above is following, clearly stated on Cathay Pacific.

cathaypacific.com/cx/en_US/travel-information/baggage/controlled-and-banned-items/lithium-batteries.html


Which clearly states that Audio/Visual Batteries, Lithium or not can be stored in your Checked In, if they are inside the device in which they are used. Which is how I transport them.

You can not find this info on most airline websites, cough (Air Asia).. If any can find it, please post the relevant link.
This may be too late for your trip but for future reference this link heading refers to Air Asia's policy on wheelchairs and mobility devices. It does mention no lithium batteries in checked baggage greater than 300Wh.
https://support.airasia.com/s/articl...language=en_GB
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