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Old January 22nd, 2010, 04:55 AM   #1
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Flying with extra batteries for the Sony F350

Well I have had my first bad experience with flying with my camera kit: Sony F350, two Sony 96w Lithium ion batteries and one Global media Pro Globalmediapro Li190S Lithium ion Battery. When I checked in to Melbourne to fly Back into Sydney the attendant said the Li190S Lithium ion cannot be allowed on the plane due to the watt rating and that this is to be left behind to be thrown into the bin or for me to arrange this item to be freighted up to Sydney. Anyway, the crazy thing is that the day before this I flew into Melbourne with the same gear. After calming down and doing some research, here in Australia with flying Qantas you can not take any battery larger than the Lithium ion @ 96w but you can take these on as cary on cabin luggage. You cannot check any Lithium ion battery into the cargo. Now this makes no sense. They also go on to say I can take as many batteries as the cabin limit will allow. So If I take ten Sony Lithium ion @ 96w batteries this exceeds the one Global media Pro Globalmediapro Li190S Lithium ion that they wont allow.
Now the airline states, that I can carry two Sony Lithium ion @ 96w on the plane, now this gives me about 4 - 5hrs. I don't get this, you can take as many as you like but you have a limit of two?

I shoot and travel all the time and this is a first for me here in Australia. My need for batteries that can give me ten hours per day is crucial as I'm out away from mains power.

This is crazy man.

Ok what is my solution?

Cheers

Last edited by Simon Denny; January 22nd, 2010 at 06:10 AM.
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 06:55 AM   #2
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I fly a fair bit and never had a problem with my Anton Bauer 140wh Hytron batteries
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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How did the airline attendant figure out the wattage of your batteries, did you tell them? These new limits on lithium power have really been designed for careless travelers (and I am sure there are quite a few....) who pack their batteries without padding and protecting terminals. I wish they would make exceptions for TV crews or at least come out with some kind of airline approved sealable bags that would allow for lithium batteries to be packed or checked safely. We have the same rules in the US but I would say that enforcement is quite lax.

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Old January 22nd, 2010, 02:49 PM   #4
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This is well known.

95wh only.

1 on the back of the camera.

2 in hand luggage. With tape on contacts in separate zip lock bags.

If you have other crew with you they can also carry 2 batteries.

This is how I fly, and you should not have any problems. Read the airline rues, the TSA rules and even the Australian Cinematographers Society has a print out you can take.

It's a pain, but thats air travel. My 140wh batteries are for home shoots only now.

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Old January 22nd, 2010, 04:05 PM   #5
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Hytron's are Nickel Metal Hydride so don't come under the regulations. The rules only effect Lithium Ion batteries. The problem with Li-Ion is that when damaged or shorted they will burn vigorously and won't go out until all the material in the battery has been used up. They are almost impossible to extinguish once burning, like an incendiary bomb. Nicads and NiMh get very hot when shorted and cells can rupture but generally they won't burst into flames.

A burning Li-Ion in the hold of an airliner is a very scary thought, even a small phone battery could start an uncontrollable fire. At least in the cabin a burning battery can be isolated from other combustibles and the fire dealt with. In addition carry-on is less likely to get damaged without the owner noticing.
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 05:17 PM   #6
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I have a copy from the TSA from a link from the Australian Cinematographers Society and Qantas states that only three 96w batteries are allowed but then they go on to state that you can carry as many 96w batteries provided you don't exceed the carry onboard luggage limit.

I will have to contact someone and get a confirmation about this.
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Old January 24th, 2010, 02:07 AM   #7
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Simon - Travelling with Lithium Ion batteries is an issue worldwide. There are numerous valid safety reasons for this and for requiring them to be taken as carry on luggage only.
Travel with batteries is Australia is generally pretty easy, but there can be some confusion amongst Airline attendants.
I carry a copy of a letter from Qantas's "Manager of Dangerous Good Compliance". This letter is (at least was...) freely available on the Australian Cinematographers Soc. website. I've rarely used it, but it has always diffused any issues.
In essence it states that Qantas will allow you to carry no more than 3 batteries with a Watt-hour rating exceeding 100 but not exceeding 160Wh in Carry on Baggage only. it goes on to say you can carry an unrestricted number of Lithium batteries with a rating of less than 100Whr, provided terminals are insulated and they comply with standard carry on baggage weight limits...
Definately leave your 190Whr batteries at home when flying. They will cause grief.
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Old January 24th, 2010, 04:15 AM   #8
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I new it would only be time before I got pulled up but the way the staff handle this situation is hopeless and that they need to address this problem with a bit of a helpful manner instead of offering no support at all in collecting theses items after confiscating them.
They are throwing this in the trash unless I can personal pick it up from Melbourne and freight it back to Sydney.

Anyway I'm glad that this has happened as I'm more clued in now for future travel with the airlines but man it comes at an expense because now I'm forced to purchase two more 95w batteries.

Last edited by Simon Denny; January 24th, 2010 at 05:23 AM.
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Old January 24th, 2010, 08:22 AM   #9
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This is one of the reasons I tend to use my EX's when travelling. For a Day's shooting with my PDW-700 I need 6x 98Wh or 4x 130Wh and the bulk of these makes traveling with them a PITA. The PMW-350 only needs two 98Wh batts for nearly 9 hours of operation.

The other option is to stick with Nicads or Ni-Mh (inc hytrons) as you can still check in as many of these as you want.

While clearly we now all know of the safety concerns, the worry is that many have no idea about the truly explosive qualities of even small Li-ion batteries. If you have not seen it this video of a laptop fire is an eye opener!
YouTube - PC Pitstop: Laptop Battery Fire
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Old January 25th, 2010, 09:58 AM   #10
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Great video showing what can happy with a battery fire. I have been witness to a large (165 lbs) lead acid battery and it was not a nice scene.

I have two 130Wh batteries for my PMW-350 and carryon travel was not been a problem on my recent trip. Two 130Wh batteries is enough for a 14 hr day. Nano hooked up on power save and no external monitor.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 01:53 PM   #11
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Well this time I flew into Coffs Harbour which is a large town in NSW Australia for a day shoot. leaving Sydney with my gear was no problem apart from I had to empty my bag out which had 4x95wh batteries and a small light and a couple of lav mics and some gaffa tape. On my return to Sydney I got asked to empty my bag and in my bag was the gaffa tape, I was told that I cannot board the plane with this tape and this is to be thrown into the bin or miss my flight. Now the tape is work $30. I asked why I can't board with the tape and was told that the tape is a weapon that can tie someone up.
It's getting bad here if you cant even take tape on board. Anyway I left the tape and flew home. I wonder why some airports have different standards with things as I flew out of Sydney with the tape in my bag with a full search and can't fly back in to Sydney with the same tape.

Now when on the plane they serve you with plastic knives and forks for eating, I thought theses might be more of a weapon than tape.


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Old April 21st, 2010, 09:16 AM   #12
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Flying with batteries - Qantas regs

A few of us have had problems with Li-ion battery capacities with Qantas. The ACS approached Qantas about these issues and finally Qantas issued a compliance letter that will pacify Qantas staff at check-in as long as your batteries comply with the specs outlined in the letter. 160Wh is the largest you can take onboard either in the cabin or as check-in. I always carry a copy of this letter on my person and also have one in the battery kit and every time there has been a query the letter has done the trick. A PDF of the letter is attached. The current compliance letter is good til 31.12.1010
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Qantas Batteries_Approval_2009.pdf (25.0 KB, 340 views)
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Old April 24th, 2010, 07:44 PM   #13
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I flew from Melbourne to Sydney and back on Friday 23rd April on Qantas with my PMW-350 camera and 2 GL95 batteries. I did cover the battery terminals with gaffer & bagged each of them in a cliplock, but the airport security xray screening seemed to be more than enough in both airports. Neither wanted to inspect my bag. No problems at all. Not even a question from airport staff - and yes, I do carry the Qantas battery letter but did not need it.

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