If you have ever traveled by plane and have stopped to look at the (long) list of dangerous substances on flights, you will find everyday objects such as sprays, matches and lithium batteries. These types of batteries are present in your mobile phone, but also in tablets, cameras, smartwatches or laptops and their risk is that when they are damaged, suffer short circuits or overheat, the batteries can cause fires and explode on the plane. That the mobile battery begins to swell is simply a notice to sailors If something is not going well, what is done in the cabin in these cases?
Brief notes on what batteries we can take in flight and how
As explained by the European Aviation Safety Agency (TO THAT), passengers can carry portable electronic devices that contain lithium ion or cell batteries under the following conditions:
- You must carry them in hand luggagealthough they can also go in checked luggage if you deem it necessary and measures are taken to avoid involuntary activation.
- that the battery does not exceed 100 Wh or contain more than 2 grams of lithium (The first limit refers to lithium ion batteries that are rechargeable and the second to non-rechargeable lithium metal batteries).
necessary as long as measures are taken to prevent inadvertent activation.
- If the battery is found between 100 and 160 Wh, you will need the operator’s authorization to carry it. If it exceeds 160 Wh, it is not allowed to carry it.
Likewise also you can carry power banks or spare batteries for personal use, but again they must go in your hand luggage, are governed by the limits of lithium and Wh content previously stated and must have individual protection to prevent short circuits (for example, with the terminals insulated with adhesive tape or by inserting each battery in a plastic bag). Finally, you will not be able to charge or connect them when you are on board.
The above contextualizes that it is perfectly normal and it is permitted for you to carry your cell phone with its corresponding battery, but, What happens when this component has problems while you are on the plane?
Houston, we have a problem
If your cell phone battery swells, is too hot, or smoke comes out of it, it is a clear sign that something is wrong. So in case you notice it in mid-flight, what you have to do according to the AESA is Immediately notify the cabin crew or airport personnelif you haven’t boarded yet.
As we anticipated in the intro, in some cases that heat or swelling is the alarm signal: these batteries are usually made up of more than one cell and if one catches fire and spreads, it can cause explosions. If this were to happen, the EASA determines that it is best to Call someone who knows how to proceed to put out the fireas you could suffer damage or worsen the situation.
In addition If you lose your cell phone (with its respective battery)notify the staff and do not try to look for it yourself by moving in the seat, since this operation could damage or cause the device’s battery to explode, thus generating a fire.
Maybe you have been flying for a few hours and you still don’t know that these battery incidents happen, but yes, they happen more than you think. As Forbes reports in this 2023 article, according to the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), they take place more than once a week: 62 in 2022 compared to 54 the previous year. In 2014 there were nine. The direct consequence of buying more lottery tickets for problems is that we increasingly carry more electronic devices.
AND The consequences can be quite serious.: diverted flights, explosions in the cabin, hospitalizations… However, the majority do not go that far: it is enough for the owner to observe something strange on the device, raise the alarm to the staff and for them to deposit it in a thermal containment baga container capable of sealing the device to prevent disaster.
Cover | Montage with Photo by Frankie on Unsplash and Photo by John McArthur on Unsplash
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