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Electronic Device Advice for Air Travelers

The International Imaging Industry Association (I3A) issued some helpful advice for air travellers flying over the Christmas holidays with digital storage media, photographic film and battery-powered electronic devices.

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Unedited press release follows:

For Safe Travel, Keep Lithium Batteries out of Checked Bags, Advises I3A

Hand Inspection of High-Speed Film Recommended; Digital Media Safe in Transit

WAKEFIELD, Mass.–Air travelers should expect strict enforcement of regulations on flying with lithium batteries this holiday season, according to the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A;, the leading global association for the imaging industry.

Loose lithium batteries – primary lithium digital camera batteries, lithium-ion types that power laptop computers, and some AA batteries — have been prohibited in U.S. checked baggage since January 1, 2008 due to their extreme flammability. Elsewhere in the world, regulations may be even more stringent. I3A recommends transporting any spare lithium batteries in carry-on baggage only, for safety’s sake and to avoid possible confiscation of items from checked baggage and accompanying delays. Additional pointers and information can be found on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Web site,

“Lithium batteries are highly flammable when they are outside the devices they power,” said I3A President Lisa Walker. “Cameras and other personal electronics are best kept with you when traveling, for the safety of the equipment and fellow passengers. If you’re traveling with a film or single-use camera, be sure you know the regulations and the recommendations for preventing film damage before you make your way through airport security.”

Keeping Holiday Memories Safe
I3A also offers travelers advice on making sure that the precious holiday memories they capture on film, including single-use film cameras, or digital media arrive at home safely after passing through security scanners. In general, digital media need no special handling, while film should be treated carefully.

These recommendations are the result of joint research I3A’s Integrity in Transportation of Imaging Products (ITIP) Committee conducted with the TSA on the X-ray machines and scanners used to inspect checked baggage and carry-on items. Test specifications and details of the results are available at

Summary of I3A’s Advice:

* Lithium batteries – safe inside their devices in carry-on bags; spare batteries also safe in carry-ons if activation prevented; NOT allowed in checked baggage

* Digital cameras/media/camera phones – safe in carry-on or checked baggage

* DVDs and DVD players – safe in carry-on or checked baggage (but save your work in progress first)

* Low-speed color film, exposed or unexposed – NOT safe in CHECKED baggage; ask for hand inspection if the film has had five previous trips through scanners, otherwise safe in carry-ons

* High-speed (greater than ISO 800) color film – NOT safe in EITHER checked or carry-on baggage; ALWAYS ask for hand inspection

* Black-and-white film, any speed, exposed or unexposed – NOT safe in EITHER checked or carry-on baggage; ALWAYS ask for hand inspection

* Motion picture film, exposed or unexposed — NOT safe in EITHER checked or carry-on baggage; ALWAYS ask for hand inspection

* After holiday trips, preserve digital images for long-term enjoyment of precious memories by following the steps at I3A’s educational Web site,

ITIP also recently carried out tests on new equipment used in U.S. customs inspection of commercial imaging products transported as cargo. Preliminary results indicate that only one model of X-ray equipment now in service harms certain imaging products. ITIP is preparing damage-prevention recommendations for products entering the United States in commercial shipments.

About the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A)
I3A’s vision is to enable the use of imaging to simplify and enrich people’s lives through visual experiences that connect generations, communities, information and services. I3A drives the global imaging industry towards this future by bringing members together to create standards and collaborate on initiatives that advance the industry and remove barriers to growth.

I3A is an accredited Standards Developing Organization, serving as secretariat for the International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 42 (ISO/TC42) on Photography, and as administrator for the USA Technical Advisory Group for this committee.