Standing outside the airport terminal gate to board my flight to Phoenix, I heard the same announcement again. It mentioned that lithium batteries or e-cigarettes are not allowed to be there in checked-in bags. Suddenly, I realized that I have packed a power bank in my bag that has a battery in it. When I was checking in my bag, the officer asked me whether I had any e-cigarettes in my bag. I confidently replied no, as I have never smoked a regular cigarette in my life, let alone an e-cigarette. Then he asked if I had any lithium battery in it and I said no again thinking that I had hardly heard about what a lithium battery is, why would I pack that in my bag. He seemed satisfied, tagged my bag, handed me its receipt and put it on the conveyor belt. Now I was standing at the terminal gate to board the plane in next 45 minutes, rewinding all the conversation I had with the officer who checked my baggage in.
I just got worried thinking what if the power bank inside my bag had a lithium battery in it? I felt if that was true, it can put the lives of all passengers and myself at stake. I theorized that these batteries might have the potential to catch fire or explode in reduced or increased air pressures, that’s the reason these are not allowed in the baggage to be taken on the plane. I decided to google whether a power bank contains a lithium battery or not? The results made me even more concerned and worried, verifying that power banks do contain lithium batteries. After finding that out, I went straight to the counter near the terminal gate to inform the officers that my bag contains a lithium battery that I did not realize before checking my bag in. The two officers asked me to provide the receipt I was given for the baggage and the color of my bag. They dialed some numbers and informed baggage handling staff that this bag has a power bank inside.
At that time, I heard the announcement for the passengers to start boarding the flight starting from group 1. As I was in group 7 and the flight had 25 more minutes left to take off, I started getting worried thinking I could miss my flight if baggage clearance takes longer and I didn’t have much time left with me. One of the officers took my receipt and went inside the terminal gate and group 3 had started boarding the flight. I was trying to keep myself calm as I took the right decision to bring it to the notice of the airport staff rather than taking a huge risk and simply boarding the flight. Group 6 had started boarding now and I just felt that I could miss my flight and started thinking on my contingency plans or to cancel my trip altogether.
Suddenly, I saw the officer coming out of the terminal gate approaching towards me. He said that he needed to talk to me. I left the passengers queue to see him on his desk and he said “You can board the flight, you can take the power bank in your bag unless your bag itself is a lithium battery operated bag”. A huge sigh of relief, and I warmly thanked the officer. Finally, I was satisfied to know that I am neither violating any rule nor risking anyone’s life and could board the flight with peace of mind.
The lesson I learnt was that always clarify any doubts in your mind and the things that you are not sure about. Better safe than sorry, so always inform the concerned authorities if you are in doubt or think that something can pose a potential danger or threat to the safety and security of yourself or the people around you.