Friday, October 16, 2009

Air travel with the Li-ion battery

This post began on Facebook. Hopefully some of you will have more helpful comments for Denise.


Question about air travel....have you flown with your Li-ion battery? United told me today that I can not and will have to use my SLA. What has been your experience Elizabeth. We are flying Washington IAD to Rome in 10 days.


Hmm, I was under the impression that the small Li-ion met regulations & that only the new, larger one did not. Ok, I just checked,  and the DOT site  and the small LI-ion IS approved for airline travel. One gram more and it would not be allowed.


On the website CruiseCritic's disabled travel forum ( ), Hardy personally answered this question as follows:

"TravelScoot on airlines: The FAA regulations about Lithium batteries are for stand alone batteries or in conjuction with general equipment. For batteries in mobility devices they have relaxed rules, see  According to that the airline only want to know whether the battery is spillable or non-spillable. Even spillable batteries are permitted but they will be stored in special boxes and kept upright.

All TravelScoot batteries are non-spillable are marked as such."

If/when you call United back AT THE AIRPORT, ask to speak to the 'CRO' aka the Crisis Resolution Officer. This person is required to be on call 24/7 and knows all the Air Carrier Act stuff that the regular staff doesn't know.

From United's own website,6867,1040,00.html,

"United will check your personal wheelchair free of charge along with luggage. Battery-powered wheelchairs—with dry cell, wet cell, gel cell, or non-spillable electric storage batteries—are acceptable, but certain safety procedures must be followed in preparing the wheelchair for carriage.

Reservations personnel will be happy to answer any specific questions."

I'm flying Continental with my Travelscoot tomorrow for the first time and will report back.


Denise, I have flown on 4 flights with my Li-ion battery, and never had a minute's trouble, but it was inside the US. Lynn Ellen flew to Australia with her scoot and two Li-ion batteries, and didn't have any trouble that I know of. Maybe she'll see this thread and comment. I really agree with what Marlee said about calling United.

The photo above is of Lynn Ellen at the beginning of her flight to Australia.  You can't see it, but she's got two Li-ion batteries attached under ALL THAT LUGGAGE!


  1. Thanks everyone for your replies. I really think I spoke to someone at United's reservations deparmtent that doesn't have a clue. I spoke with Tony at Travelscoot yesterday and he said that some of the folks at United are having a hard time interpreting the DOT guidelines. So, armed with a copy of the DOT reg and United’s own policy I am feeling a bit more confident. And I am glad to know about the Crises Resolution Officer. Thanks everyone for your input.

  2. Oh, and I do have another question about the you leave them attached to the scoot but disconnected (especially the heavier SLA); or bring them aboard the aircraft in the carriers and put in the overhead compartment? I plan to travel with both the Li-ion and SLA. I have seen Hardy's instructions but it isn't clear if the airline tags the battery bag and puts it in the hold with the scoot or if you have to carry it onboar.