- a) Freight shipments of lithium and lithium-ion batteries aboard passenger aircraft, and
- b) Consumer articles (e.g. hoverboards) containing large, untested and uncertified lithium-ion batteries.
The rules and regulations regarding battery-powered mobility scooters and other medical assistive devices are completely unchanged. However, due to the heightened scrutiny paid to battery-operated equipment by airline staff, misunderstandings can and do occur. That is why we suggest, for the time being, that you print out the following documents (these are also listed at the bottom of our airport-information page. These pertain to the TravelScoot lithium-ion battery, and consist of the
- 2015 IATA Li-ion Battery Excerpt.pdf
- 2016 IATA Documentaion - Risk mitigation guidance for operrators.pdf
- Airline letter of apology.pdf
All major air carriers, and certainly all US airlines, have specialized departments for passengers with special needs. You may wish to contact your airline’s corresponding department prior to travel, inform them that you will be traveling with your approved mobility scooter, and have them annotate your flight information accordingly. This should avoid any further complications or misunderstandings. You can also visit your airline’s website and print out their policies on battery-powered wheelchairs and scooters. These invariably show that approved lithium-ion-battery-powered mobility devices are permitted on board. Here are a few links for some major US airlines:
However, some airlines or countries may deviate from these guidelines, and in some cases airline personnel are not properly trained or informed.
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Even in the event that travelers have initiated their flight in a country where the 300 Wh battery was permitted, it is quite probable that the battery/batteries will be conifiscated by Chinese authorities upon transfer reboarding or check-in in China. Even passengers with only an intermidiate layover in China are subjected to the same exacting security screening. Batteries are removed from the vehicles and thoroughly examined. The passenger then has one month to claim the confiscated battery, but they will still not be able to transport the battery by air.
Air France and KLM allow 160 Wh maximum plus two spare batteries.
New Emirates allow 160 Wh plus one same spare battery
I booked a flight with Air Asia from Perth to Bali and I went online to see if there might be any trouble. I found this- The TravelScoot is the only mobility scooter with a Lithium Ion battery that has been approved for air travel by the major airlines. It’s lithium battery content of 24 grams is below the upper limit of Department of Transport regulations. The TravelScoot battery is marked accordingly.
I also found IATA documents and DOT documents that confirmed that the wattage upper limit is 300Wh The travel scoot is 266Wh. Just to make sure I called the airline. They did not know and referred me to the website.
The website stated:
We do not accept battery operated wheelchair or mobility devices. Under certain circumstances, carriage of battery operated wheelchair or mobility devices might be accepted subject to removal of the battery (by passengers) and that maximum weight allowed for the wheelchair or mobility device is 85kg.
There will be no charge for checked-in wheelchair, though the assistance provided is chargeable. Wheelchair service for all AirAsia X flights (D7) is provided free of charge.
?????? What the? We do not accept batteries, we might accept batteries......which one is it? OK I see Air Asia does not want to carry disabled passengers ....it is too much trouble but we can't be seen as deliberately drisciminatory which is illegal....it is unlawful for an airline to discriminate against a disabled passenger. So the uninformed Air Asia employee stated that if Perth Airport agreed then I would be allowed to travel. I rang Perth Airport. They said that there could be no problem as they were not allowed to discriminate against a disabled passenger or take away their mobility device. That sounded reasonable and I had already flown Qantas with the battery and had confirmation from the airport and the battery documentation.
So, I went to the airport and boarded the plane. I took with me the MSDS and all Compliance documents to say it was all legal and approved for my battery to fly. After various questions from airport and airline staff I boarded the plane. They could not work out whether the battery should be on board or in cargo and kept changing their mind. The plane was about to take off when suddenly 3 people came on board and forced me off the plane. I refused to go at first as I believed they were wrong and I had all the documentation to prove it. There was an argument during which they informed me verbally that their upper limit on the wattage was 180Wh .....laptop battery size!!! not wheelchair size. OK I see they have illegally worded their regulations to make sure no electric wheelchair passengers could fly with Air Asia. I was travelling alone and they proceeded to put pressure on me to force me off the plane. I could see that I was not going to win at that point and that if I resisted they could easily call the federal police and have me arrested. Great start to my holiday....THANKS FOR NOTHING AIR ASIA!!!
Three hours later I boarded a Jetstar flight to Bali.....they had no problem with my little removable, non spillable, metal encased, non-acid, perfectly safe and legal, separately wrapped Lithium Ion battery .....virtually the same battery that is in laptop computers carried by all airlines. The planes would be empty if they threw all the laptop owners off for having a battery. It is clear to me that the battery is not the problem for Air Asia....it is the disabled passenger that is the problem and this is how they are trying to get away with it.