Rules clarified on flying with lithium batteries

The Department of Transportation has reissued its message — which apparently got lost in translation the first time around — regarding new restrictions on how batteries can be carried on airliners.

As of Jan. 1, travelers can no longer pack loose batteries (i.e. those not installed in electronic devices) in checked bags. However, unlimited loose batteries are allowed in carry-on bags, though the agency "strongly recommends" separating them in individual zippered bags or compartments if they aren't in their original packaging.

One exception: Passengers toting lithium batteries that have 8 to 25 grams of equivalent lithium content are limited to two uninstalled batteries in each carry-on. Most consumer electronic goods such as laptops, digital cameras and cellphones use batteries that fall far short of that content. The rule was implemented to reduce the risk of lithium battery fires.