For those of us photographers that travel internationally a lot, things could change drastically soon. With the recent failed terrorist attack on December 25, 2009 there is a lot of chatter on the internet about TSA potentially banning all electronics usage in-flight on American bound flights from outside the USA. This is pretty lame but if it happens it could mean for a lot of boring long distance flights. Check out some of the chatter here and here.
About this time last year, things changed for those of us using lithium batteries. Although the rules are counter intuitive to actual potential dangers, it’s another poorly thought out knee-jerk reaction to some previous problems with some lithium batteries catching fire. For more information about the lithium battery restrictions check out http://safetravel.dot.gov There is a fair amount of information there regarding lithium batteries on domestic flights.
So, although this is old news…a year old in fact I’m still posting this for a pretty good reason. My power packs for my Elinchrom Ranger RX AS Speed and my Alien Bees strobes use SLA and NiMH batteries. NiMH, Alkaline and SLA (Sealed Lead-Acid) batteries are still fine to put in your carry-on luggage. Sure, you know this. But do you have a pdf proving to the TSA village idiot you can to include in your Pelican case your strobe pack is in to make sure you don’t have a problem? I just spent the last half hour looking for mine, and fortunately I found it. So I thought I’d share it. Download it, print it, put it in your case/bag.
Make sure you have your flash’s user manual as well. That way the security agents can see for themselves what’s going on in those strobe packs.
It’s a good idea to read all of this. Know the rules, have a copy of them. Chances are if you get an idiot asshole TSA agent none of the guidelines matter and you’ll be stuck waiting for a manager that knows what the rules actually are, but sometimes you can actually convince the TSA village idiots that you are obeying the rules and that you aren’t a terrorist. Just a photographer with a bunch of gear.
However, all of this being said, if you are someone that happens to have a Hensel Porty strobe kit then you are in for it. Your Li-ion battery for your power pack is too big and not allowed on the plane at all. You’ll have to ship it. Funny since it would be shipped, in a 747 just like you’d be flying in.