CAMERA BATTERIES CARRIED ON AIRCRAFT

Impounded Camera Batteries 

At the beginning of this October, I was in two destination weddings in Serbia and Switzerland. I flew from Istanbul to Belgrade first, then from Belgrade to Zurich. The wedding was in amazing Luzern city. I spent great times over there with the lovely couple and their family – friends. I should go there for holiday next time, anyway.

After the wedding I came to Zurich airport. I had 2 suitcases, one of them for my clothes etc. and the another one for my camera gear (a thinktank airport roller derby). I always carry my camera cases with me in the airplanes but with the laptop it is getting heavier than 8 kg (17lb). So I put some unbreakable stuffs to other bag as checked baggage. In that luggage there were, 1 speedlight (I know it may be breakable), 3 battery chargers, some flash and lens toys, 7 fujifilm xpro2 batteries, 4 canon 5d mark3 batteries, 14 rechargeable aa batteries for my speedlights and my clothes etc. I delivered it to check in desk at Zurich airport and after landing I got it from baggage claim in Izmir airport. At home, I opened the suitcase and instead of my 9 camera and 10 AA batteries I found a letter from Zurich Airport. The written in the letter was: “Based on the aviation safety and security regulations of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, the ICAO and the IATA, your baggage was opened in the process of a security check. ……. The items listed are considered dangerous goods and had to be removed because transportation of these items does not comply with current air travel safety and security regulations. We regret causing you any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. ……Further information on the current dangerous goods regulations can be found on our website. www.zurich-airport.com/security ”

As a result; they just allowed 2 camera batteries (1 for Canon 1 for Fujifilm) and 4 AA batteries. I called the airport and talked with a security officer and he said that “you can come here and take your batteries”. When I said “I live in another country so it is impossible” he said “One of your friends can come with the reference number in the letter and they can take them up”. I was lucky that same couple had another wedding in Turkey 2 weeks later. They went to airport security office for me, got them all and all family members shared the batteries to their baggage. Finally all batteries returned to home.

What I learned from the story:

  1. This aviation regulation is in force from 1st January 2016 and some airports are operating it in practise.
  2. Do not carry too many spare batteries when you fly.
  3. When you carry spare batteries put them into your camera case or hand bags as carry-on baggage.
  4. If you use mirrorless cameras you should carry many batteries because of their limited capacities. Solution: Adjust yourself and use maximum 2-3 batteries; one in camera another one in charger.

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Ufuk Sarisen

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