You are probably aware of the protracted wrangling and possible safety issues with the Boeing 787 'dreamliner' which makes extensive use of Lithium Ion batteries throughout.
The batteries have many benefits, high power output combined with low weight, perfect for use on a cutting edge, more fuel efficient airliner.
The batteries were at the centre of investigations regarding their possible role in onboard fires, and the plane and the fleet of 50 around the world were grounded, with a successful test flight just being carried out in the past couple of days.
There has long been rules governing their being carried on board.
This really excellent piece on bobatkins.com gives you an insight into what in theory is, and isn't allowed on board as hand luggage, or indeed in the hold.
I have been aware of that there are some restrictions about flying with Li-ion batteries but I have never, ever, been challenged by security staff at airports regarding Li-ion batteries.
I fear this is all about to change, with passengers Lithium Ion batteries being singled out for special attention following the dreamliner saga.
Perhaps I'm unduly concerned that I could come unstuck post dreamliner?
Does anyone have any experiences of this so far? I would like to know.
I have just been speaking to Alex Ray tech guru of the Flashcentre in London about this and he says that ironically following a number of Macbook battery incidents on aircraft some years ago the rules of what is, and is not safe to fly with in terms of Li-ion is actually much better defined than with other types of batteries.
Flight safety should be paramount and I'm not advocating unsafe behaviour in carrying on unsafe batteries, what I'm most concerned about is an overreaction by busy, poorly informed and sometimes ignorant security staff.
What can we do to ensure we don't hit trouble?
Firstly, try to track down all those battery terminal covers you threw away, so when you do get stopped you can demonstrate you are being responsible.
Secondly. If your battery IS safe to fly with, but looks a bit iffy, track down the document of certification that says your battery is indeed safe for air transportation. I'm thinking of high-powered flash cells like Elinchrom Quadra's, I have downloaded this declaration from the Elinchrom website so you can see what it looks like.
Thirdly. Know the rules! This cannot be stressed enough. If you know the rules better than the security guys do and can back this up with paperwork there is a much higher likelihood that you will make the flight.
Some folk out there may think all this is overkill but better to be prepared than miss the flight or arrive with all you gear and no means to power it.