Lithium Batteries And Flying Don't Always Mix

If you've been stashing extra lithium batteries in your luggage when flying, the Transportation Department would like a word with you.  Wary of short circuits that could cause a fire, they're limiting the amount you can transport, and specifying the type of packaging required for the little lithium friends you carry to keep your electronic devices ready for action.

The ban affects shipments of non-rechargeable lithium batteries, such as those made by Energizer Holdings Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Duracell brand.

"Doing something as simple as keeping a spare battery in its original retail packaging or a plastic zip-lock bag will prevent unintentional short-circuiting and fires," Krista Edwards, deputy administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said in a release.

The Federal Aviation Administration has found that fire-protection systems in the cargo hold of passenger planes can't put out fires sparked in lithium batteries.

Batteries installed in the devices themselves are exempt from the ban. The new rule goes into effect January 1st.