• Research Reports

April 18, 2024

The Impact of Public Awareness Gaps Around Lithium-Ion Batteries in Air Travel

Explore an in-depth look at key trends across four separate UL Standards & Engagement surveys on Lithium-Ion Battery Safety and Aviation Safety, administered online by BV Insights in August, September, October, and December 2023.

Key findings in the report include: 

  • Thermal runaway incidents are on the rise. Incidents are at their highest point in the five years in TRIP’s data history, averaging more than two incidents per week. Nearly all airline travelers (96%) typically bring at least one rechargeable electronic or technology product that is powered by a lithium-ion battery with them onboard. Yet 44% of Americans admitted to knowing nothing about these batteries.
  • Travelers are missing the message. Airlines and airports are actively warning passengers about lithium-ion batteries, but more than three-quarters (76%) report that they do not recall seeing lithium-ion battery-related messages during online check-in. Further, more than half of travelers either cannot recall seeing or hearing (38%) or do not know if they saw or heard (14%) safety signage announcements regarding lithium-ion batteries at any point of their travels. 
  • Despite warnings, many of these products are being stored out of reach. Keeping lithium-ion battery-powered products in arm’s reach can reduce the risk of thermal runaway, as only 12% of 2023’s reported incidents happened while the device was in use. These products should never be stored in checked luggage, yet 27% of passengers traveling with e-cigarettes — the most common culprit of thermal runaway incidents on planes — packed them in checked luggage. Another 27% placed portable power banks in their checked luggage.