Carrying batteries on board aircraft

Recently I travelled to Norfolk Island for the Annual General Meeting of the Wireless Institute of Australia.  I had planned to undertake some SOTA & WWFF activity whilst on the island so I took with me my Yaesu FT-857d, a linked dipole and a 8400 mAh 13.2 v LiFePo4 battery.  I carried the battery in a LIPO bag.

I flew via Qantas from Adelaide to Sydney, and then via Air New Zealand from Sydney to Norfolk Island.  Prior to flying, my wife Marija and I made contact with both Qantas and Air New Zealand, just to confirm what I could and not take.  Batteries obviously pose a unique hazard during air travel and are capable of causing a fire if not transported correctly.  Devices and battery numbers are limited to personnel use amounts.


There have been multiple reports of lithium battery related fires on cargo planes over the years.  And one unsubstantiated theory about the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 focusses on the fact that the airliner was carrying a large shipment of lithium ion batteries.

The airlines rate batteries in Watt Hours (Wh).  So how do you convert mAh to Wh?  The formula is (mAh)*(V)/1000 = (Wh).  So my 8400 mAh battery works out to be 110.208 Wh.  A good converter on the internet can be found at…….

Lithium Ion batteries (rechargeable) under 101Wh

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 12.31.39 PM

These batteries MUST travel as carry-on baggage only.  Airline approval is not required.

Lithium Ion batteries (rechargeble) 101Wh-160Wh

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 12.32.46 PM

Airline approval is required.  For Qantas we contacted….

No more than two spare batteries with the terminals protected are permitted in carry-on baggage.

Qantas were fantastic and sent us a letter authorising us to carry the battery (see below)….

Qantas letter316.jpg

Air New Zealand were equally as good and noted the information on our booking information.

Generally we had no problems passing through security at the various airports (Adelaide, Sydney, & Norfolk Island).  All the security people (particularly at Sydney Airport) were very friendly and once we explained what gear we were carrying, there were no problems.  Sadly, the security people at Adelaide Airport were a little officious.

4 thoughts on “Carrying batteries on board aircraft

    • G’day Andrew,

      Qantas & Air New Zealand were both terrific and couldn’t help enough. As were the security people. Especially the security staff in Sydney. They were very friendly.

      Hope you are enjoying your time in Europe. Wish I could be there.



  1. Absolutely excellent post. I have found Virgin at Adelaide most helpful with the supervisor there writing an email to all check in positions advising the criteria for carry on lithium ion batteries.



    • Hi Chris,

      Yes I couldn’t speak highly enough of Qantas and Air New Zealand. Unfortunately I had some officious security staff at Adelaide. The security staff at Sydney were excellent.




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