How NOT to travel with your LiPo batteries

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Barmaleus

Active Member
Messages
217
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398
Location
Tallinn, Estonia
Arrma RC's
  1. Kraton 4s
Hey folks. Here's my story.

So I went to visit my cousin in Germany last week. Took my basher and crawler. And LiPo batteries, obviously (2x4s and 1x2s). Made sure I am within the airline limits (Lufthansa): a single LiPo battery cannot be bigger than 100wh - mine are 97.68wh, so all good. Don't forget, LiPo must be in your hand luggage.

Security checks in Tallinn airport went smoothly - I took out the batteries from the backpack and placed them in the plastic tray, all in their own LiPo safe bags. Told those are batteries for an RC truck. They had a visual look at the batteries, checked they are not over 100wh, made a swipe to make sure there were no forbidden stuff inside and let me go. A 5-minute procedure.

Trip to Germany was great!

Fast forward, I am in Frankfurt airport on my way back to Estonia. Train was delayed, so I am in a real hurry - 15 minutes to boarding and 30 minutes to takeoff according to papers. I put my backpack on the plastic tray - service person says new system allows keeping everything inside, no need to take out things. Well, nice, that'll save me some time.

I pass the body scanning gate with a perfect score and go on to get the backpack. Sadly, it's moved to the "Requires additional checks" lane. Well, that is 5 more minutes, so I'll make it on time.

Little did I know about Frankfurt airport officials and their protocols. The whole security check line stops (and it was a priority/business...). People get nervous.
Two police officers approach me and ask if that green backpack is mine. Yep, all mine. Next, I am asked to write certain data about myself on a sheet of paper. Then answer some other questions verbally. I understand what their concern is and say that there are LiPo batteries in the backpack. I show them the CNHL website, Arrma Kraton 4s pictures, my notes of perfectly balanced battery cells and resistance readings for the past 5 charges. In parallel, trying to calculate my options if I miss the flight (boarding should start in 10 minutes).

Time goes by. We are now waiting for a police boss. Passengers clearly hate me, as the Priority security line is still fully stopped. I pray to old and new gods the police boss is not on a dinner break or watching Dune 2.

Thankfully, he is not. He is checking all the information about me again. I explain everything one more time and show pictures, sites and everything else to prove I am a good guy. They see innocence in my eyes and open the backpack to look at what's inside. Everything matches my explanations, looks safe and normal. The police boss says that next time I must take out the LiPo batteries from the backpack and place all of them on the plastic tray. I give an oath to do so, get final hate looks from the passengers in the line and make a sprint of my life to gate A30, which happens to be around 355km away.

Somehow, the boarding is still open and I get on the plane.
Sweaty, tired, but still made it. My ancestors would be proud.


TL;DR
When going through security checks, put your LiPo batteries on a tray, so they can be clearly seen by the officials.
 
Hey folks. Here's my story.

So I went to visit my cousin in Germany last week. Took my basher and crawler. And LiPo batteries, obviously (2x4s and 1x2s). Made sure I am within the airline limits (Lufthansa): a single LiPo battery cannot be bigger than 100wh - mine are 97.68wh, so all good. Don't forget, LiPo must be in your hand luggage.

Security checks in Tallinn airport went smoothly - I took out the batteries from the backpack and placed them in the plastic tray, all in their own LiPo safe bags. Told those are batteries for an RC truck. They had a visual look at the batteries, checked they are not over 100wh, made a swipe to make sure there were no forbidden stuff inside and let me go. A 5-minute procedure.

Trip to Germany was great!

Fast forward, I am in Frankfurt airport on my way back to Estonia. Train was delayed, so I am in a real hurry - 15 minutes to boarding and 30 minutes to takeoff according to papers. I put my backpack on the plastic tray - service person says new system allows keeping everything inside, no need to take out things. Well, nice, that'll save me some time.

I pass the body scanning gate with a perfect score and go on to get the backpack. Sadly, it's moved to the "Requires additional checks" lane. Well, that is 5 more minutes, so I'll make it on time.

Little did I know about Frankfurt airport officials and their protocols. The whole security check line stops (and it was a priority/business...). People get nervous.
Two police officers approach me and ask if that green backpack is mine. Yep, all mine. Next, I am asked to write certain data about myself on a sheet of paper. Then answer some other questions verbally. I understand what their concern is and say that there are LiPo batteries in the backpack. I show them the CNHL website, Arrma Kraton 4s pictures, my notes of perfectly balanced battery cells and resistance readings for the past 5 charges. In parallel, trying to calculate my options if I miss the flight (boarding should start in 10 minutes).

Time goes by. We are now waiting for a police boss. Passengers clearly hate me, as the Priority security line is still fully stopped. I pray to old and new gods the police boss is not on a dinner break or watching Dune 2.

Thankfully, he is not. He is checking all the information about me again. I explain everything one more time and show pictures, sites and everything else to prove I am a good guy. They see innocence in my eyes and open the backpack to look at what's inside. Everything matches my explanations, looks safe and normal. The police boss says that next time I must take out the LiPo batteries from the backpack and place all of them on the plastic tray. I give an oath to do so, get final hate looks from the passengers in the line and make a sprint of my life to gate A30, which happens to be around 355km away.

Somehow, the boarding is still open and I get on the plane.
Sweaty, tired, but still made it. My ancestors would be proud.


TL;DR
When going through security checks, put your LiPo batteries on a tray, so they can be clearly seen by the officials.
Every time I've flied with lipos I get the stare down from TSA. Shoot, one time I got confronted by a TSA lady who didn't know what a gopro was and was concerned it was some type of nefarious device... 🤦‍♂️

The look on her coworkers face when she's asked "does the word 'gopro' mean anything to you?" LOL

But just because the travel folks are inexperienced at their jobs, doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. Rules are rules and if you're following them and get grief, then they need some education on how to do their job.

But yes, always take out anything peculiar and put it in the tray! And for goodness sake, don't attempt to bring lipos like these on board:
https://www.arrmaforum.com/threads/need-a-sanity-check-on-some-batteries-before-i-impulse-buy.55057/
 
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