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1.01.2008

Batteries and Planes

This is the blog for media related posting, so I will try to refrain from getting on a soapbox. I reserve my other blog for that. But, seriously, the following new rule from the FAA deserves at least some comment:

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Effective January 1, 2008, the following rules apply to the spare lithium batteries you carry with you in case the battery in a device runs low:

  • Spare batteries are the batteries you carry separately from the devices they power. When batteries are installed in a device, they are not considered spare batteries.
  • You may not pack a spare lithium battery in your checked baggage
  • You may bring spare lithium batteries with you in carry-on baggage
  • Even though we recommend carrying your devices with you in carry-on baggage as well, if you must bring one in checked baggage, you may check it with the batteries installed.

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    The FAA also recommends that you "ensure that devices remain switched off, either by built-in switch/trigger locks, by taping the activation switch in the 'off' postion [sic], or by other appropriate measures."

    First, we are starting 2008 off to a such a start that we get a new word and a new restriction from the government. Typos I can understand, but misspellings? Even when I pasted that into my blog it got underlined. And if the government can't afford Word [cough], they could at least use Open Office or Google Docs to spell check.

    Second, this is going to have some major implications for anyone traveling with technology (computers, cameras, camcorders, and even .mp3 players). My little brother has one of those cool "extended life" battery packs for his computer. I don't know if he brought it home with him for Christmas, but it will be confiscated by TSA if he tries to take it back to school. 25 grams isn't much.

    Third, I tend to be concerned enough with my video equipment as it is, but now I have to consider what batteries I have where? Shoots that require travel are becoming less and less viable. This is one more detail that must be taken into account by any Producer now that it is 2008 (Happy New Year, by the by).

    Forth, I am always amazed at how life is interconnected. The rules for checking baggage onto a plane could affect your ability to make a movie. Sure, space limitations and cost have always made it hard to travel with equipment (not to mention customs if you're going out of the country), but now batteries. I didn't see it coming.

    So now your toothpaste and water bottle won't be home alone while you travel, I just hope you don't need an extra battery for your projects.

    ~Luke Holzmann
    Your Media Production Mentor

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