Shipping and carrying players

Because lithium batteries are potential fire hazards, there are specific rules for packing, documenting, and shipping them safely.

Can players be shipped/mailed?

Some countries prohibit lithium battery shipments. Check the intended destination.

Air Transport

The definitive guide is the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Lithium Battery Guidance Document. Note: Our current players use a 1.1Wh, 6g lithium ion battery (NOT a lithium metal battery), and fall under the "Batteries installed in equipment" category (PI 967 Section II), which is less restrictive than shipping larger or separate batteries. Equipment should be safely packaged (2.A), be protected from inadvertent activation (2.T), and a battery test summary should be made available (4.A). Our understanding of additional shipping requirements is:
  • For up to four players per package, and up to two packages per consignment -- no marks or labels are required (2.H). The regulation appears to allow two packages in an overpack without needing an "Overpack" marking (2.L).
  • For player quantities greater than that, up to 5 kg (of lithium ion batteries) may be in a package with a UN3481 label showing a business-hour (at least) telephone number of someone knowledgeable about the shipment (2.J), and the air waybill states "Lithium ion batteries in compliance with Section II of PI967" (2.F).
In both of these cases shipment can be on passenger and cargo aircraft.

Some carriers impose additional or different restrictions:

  • For domestic ground and Parcel International Direct to Canada, DHL allows lithium ion Contained in, Packed with, or Standalone. For "Contained in": If ≤ 2.7 Wh per button cell/battery, no limit on the number of cells or batteries, and no mailpiece may exceed 5.5 pounds.
  • For Domestic Expedited and International, DHL only allows lithium ion "Contained in" (with limits). For International: No more than four (4) cells or two (2) batteries installed in equipment AND no more than two packages in a single consignment; no package may exceed 2 kg.

FedEx has a very helpful decision-making tool here. Up to 5kg (net batteries) of very small (<20wH cells) in equipment can be shipped by domestic air with the following statement on the waybill: “Lithium Ion Batteries in compliance with Section II of PI967” and a UN3481 label.

US Postal Service, Domestic mail
  • Up to two players can be shipped in a rigid package without the lithium battery (UN3481) mark. (349.222.a.7)
  • For our players (<=2.7Wh batteries), a package weighing up to 2.5kg/5.5# package (package weight, not battery weight) can be shipped with a lithium battery mark [fully] on the address side. (349.222.b.4)
US Postal Service, International mail or APO/FPO/DPO Very Small Lithium Metal and Lithium-ion Cells and Batteries (622.53) Must be installed in equipment, and max of two mailpieces per consignment. Each shipment containing very small lithium batteries, when installed in the equipment they operate...may contain a maximum of four lithium cells or two lithium batteries. Very small cells/batteries are mailable internationally with the following conditions:
  • Each lithium-ion cell/battery must have a watt-hour rating of not more than 2.7 Wh.
  • Mailpieces must not bear markings or labels identifying the contents as lithium batteries.
UPS (more than 4 players)

Air shipment (<=5 kg of batteries in equipment)
Use the UN3481 lithium battery mark, and mark with "P.I. 967-II" to enable UPS to identify the shipment type when transferring to partner air carriers (source). This extra mark is optional for shipments within the contiguous 48 US states.

Ground shipment
Lithium ion (UN3481) battery mark is required for packages containing >4 cells or >2 batteries along with a warning marking stating, “Lithium ion batteries — forbidden aboard passenger aircraft.”
Note: Ground shipments of lithium batteries must not be sent to any address in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or destinations on islands such as Avalon, CA.

If this information is incorrect, or if your shipping experience differs, please let us know, as requirements vary and change.

Can players be carried on airlines?

Because lithium batteries are potential fire hazards, IATA's 2021 guidelines and passenger brochure allow up to 15 personal electronic devices (PED) with Li-ion batteries <= 100Wh without "operator approval". These may be either carry-on or checked, with checked devices switched off and protected. Other documents emphasize that these must be for personal use -- not for distribution or sale. IATA also allows up to 20 spare batteries (not exceeding 100Wh), as carry-on only. (You might consider printing out one of these documents to plead your case with gate personnel.)

However, requirements vary by airline, and may not reflect the current IATA regulation.

Some examples:

[Lithium ion batteries]: "Allowed for travel: Yes. Please remove batteries from devices in your checked bags and put them in your carry-on in separate plastic bags. Less than 100Wh – 4 spares in carry-on bag"
[Portable electronic devices containing cells or batteries (including lithium) and spares for these devices intended for personal use]: "Allowed for travel: Yes. We allow up to 2 spare batteries for personal use, with restrictions: Each spare battery is individually protected in accordance with our lithium battery acceptance policy."
[Portable electronic devices containing cells or batteries (including lithium) and spares for these devices not intended for personal use]: "Allowed for travel: No."

"Lithium ion batteries installed in a personal electronic device can be transported as checked or carry-on baggage. Lithium ion batteries not installed in a device (spares) must be in carry-on baggage and no more than two (2) spares between 100 and 160-watt hours are allowed[ours are only 1.1Wh]. Quantity Limits for Lithium Batteries: Each person is limited to a maximum of 20 spare batteries."

If this information is incorrect, or if your travel experience differs, please let us know, as requirements vary and change.

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