Reason #39 I'm glad not to be a frequent flyer anymore

You’re limited to how many laptop batteries you can take when flying. From AP

WASHINGTON – To help reduce the risk of fires, air travelers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning Jan. 1, the Transportation Department said Friday.

Passengers can still check baggage with lithium batteries if they are installed in electronic devices, such as cameras, cell phones and laptop computers. If packed in plastic bags, batteries may be in carryon baggage. The limit is two batteries per passenger.

Between 1997 and 2001 I flew over 400,000 miles or 80,000 a year average. In each of those years I made at least oneinternational trip. During that time I was a elite, either Gold or Platinum class, Northwest Airlines Frequent Flyer. In addition to Northwest, I flew International flights on KLM and Singapore Airlines. Because of my loads of flight and Frequent Flyer miles I usually flew Business or First Class. My destinations in that period included Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong, Zurich, Vienna, Warsaw, and London.

How many times did I fly on planes where I could recharge a laptop battery in flight? Zero.

I know there is at least one carrier today you can charge in flight. However I’m betting the battery restriction is highly annoying to business travelers on intl flights. One battery at best gets you two hours of computer use, some batteries as little as an hour. You mean I get on a flight from Detroit to Tokyo, a 13-hour flight, and I got exactly two backup batteries I’m allowed to use? When I traveled internationally, I carried three to five spares. If I didn’t sleep in flight, I’d drain all of them.

If you start at a point other than your departure point from the US, your original battery is likely to be dead even before you get on the intl. flight. That’s unless you have time to get in a airport club to re-charge your battery. Restrictions on packed luggage I understand to a point.(Are loose lithium batteries a fire hazard when placed in a carryon? I don’t pack electronic gear in any case, and experienced travelers don’t) Why is there a restriction on carry-ons? Have restrictions on carry-ons have become that onerous? My laptop could be used for terrorism! Yeah Right. It’s much more likely to be used for watching DVDs, doing work, or God help us, hours of playing Minesweeper or Solitaire!

Note- I’m partial to minesweeper myself if I’m using the PC for enjoyment.

I’ve flown just a few times since 9-11. The more I read about the pleasures these days of being crammed in a airplane for a few hours, the happier I am to have my feet on terra firma.

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