General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Flying with a power meter Rss Feed  
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2017-12-10 4:56 AM

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Master
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: Flying with a power meter
Not sure if anyone out there has insight into this problem, but putting it out there--

I have a crank-based power meter (P2 Max). Over the past year, I've had several anxious moments flying with Rover (tri bike) to races due to tighter controls on lithium batteries in checked luggage. A couple times in Vietnam and Singapore, I've been asked if the bike has a battery in it. Everything's been fine once I've said that, yes, there's a small battery in the power meter, but it's like a camera or cell phone battery (I give them the model number). After a bit of kerfuffle and calling managers, basically they have said they just wanted to know it's not an e-bike. No sweat.

But leaving SFO after Worlds (not en route there for some reason, or when leaving Chattanooga for SFO the day before), the airline reps FREAKED when I mentioned the bike's power meter had a battery. It caused nearly an hour delay while they looked up documentation about the power meter, battery type and location, unpacked Rover and peered at the PM, and I explained it couldn't be easily removed (you need a special tool to open the part of the crank where it "lives" and it's really difficult--I don't know how to do it myself and even the local bike shop had trouble changing it). Ended up barely making my flight. They did eventually let Rover on and we made it back to Saigon

Wondering if others have had this issue and how you solved it? Do you even mention there's a battery? (I was afraid if I didn't, Rover might not be loaded on the plane if they found it when scanning.) Do you remove the battery before flying? If so, what do you do with it? My understanding is that extra lithium batteries are not welcome as carry-ons either. Leave the battery at home and hope the bike shop at your destination can put another one in? Do you remove the whole crank and carry the crank with its battery onto the plane? And would security let you on the plane with a bike crank as a carry-on??? Or just race without your power meter?

Pretty much all my races except possibly IM Vietnam involve international flights. I'm flying to New Zealand in February for a race. Something like Tri Bike transport is never an option from here. Help!

Edited by Hot Runner 2017-12-10 4:56 AM


2017-12-10 5:03 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter

I fly about 10x per year with my bike and I have nevef been asked if it had a battery. However I have only flew in Canada, US and Europe

Off to Mallorca in a few days.

2017-12-10 6:06 AM
in reply to: marcag

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Master
7922
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
The issue at SFO was with United; international flight to Saigon via Tokyo Narita. They were unable to give me a sensible explanation why the PM battery (which I had admitted to) was not an issue less than 24 hours before from Chattanooga to SFO via Atlanta on Delta! I am flying Singapore Airlines to/from New Zealand. Will see if any other insight on the forum or at the bike shop here. Good luck with Mallorcca--if via SFO or on United, maybe take the tool to remove the battery?!
2017-12-10 7:32 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Expert
2373
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Floriduh
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
How easy or hard will it be to buy a new battery at the destination? Alternatively, you could mail one to your destination hotel before leaving home. There is a lot of heterogeneity within how the regulations are enforced in TSA.
2017-12-10 10:44 AM
in reply to: Oysterboy

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Master
3885
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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
That battery's so small I'd simply so no, there's no battery. I think they're looking for e-bike sized stuff and that battery's not the size to cause concern. But that's just me.....E-Tap and Di2 stuff has batteries too don't they?
2017-12-10 12:39 PM
in reply to: 0

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Pro
6005
50001000
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter

Another option may be to carry a printout of the pages from the PM's user manual that specifies the type of battery, and a printout of the battery's specifications along with a photo of it next to something that provides scale, such as a coin.  This would allow them to quickly see that it's more like a watch battery, and nothing like the large batteries in ebikes, laptops, and hover boards that they seem to be more likely to catch fire.  I suspect they'd wave you through as soon as they saw your documentation.

 



Edited by TriMyBest 2017-12-10 12:40 PM


2017-12-10 1:05 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
2017-12-10 6:00 PM
in reply to: marcag

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Master
7922
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
Wow--They were giving me a hard time about something that is clearly marked as "YES" and telling me it was a new rule.

Something I would expect here, not in the US at a really major airport. Then again, maybe not a surprise.

Since this particular trip doesn't involve the FAA or a US carrier, maybe I will be okay. Might carry a copy of the PM specs and a picture of the battery next to some kind of coin, just in case. It's a pretty common kind of battery but a given store might not always have it on a given day, and it's a PITA to replace--would rather not remove it before travel if that's not necessary.
2017-12-10 7:00 PM
in reply to: reecealan

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Veteran
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Grapevine, TX
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
My power meter has a battery? Wow I didn't know. Really :-)
2017-12-10 8:26 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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New user
1351
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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter

From the FAA site:

lithium ion batteries are allowed "up to 100 watt hours per battery." (yours is only 1.62)

"all the batteries allowed in carry-on baggage are also allowed in checked baggage."

"The batteries must be protected from damage and short circuit or installed in a device. "  (Meaning you shouldn't have to take it out.)

Good luck, I know how stressful it is flying with bikes....

2017-12-15 2:45 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Pro
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Vancouver, BC
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter

Oh man. I have a Power2Max and have never been asked. I have di2 too. I'd probably still say no if they asked if I had batteries in my bike box. Hmm



2017-12-15 2:52 PM
in reply to: jeng

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Pro
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Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter

Flown bikes with di2 and power meters dozens of times.....never been asked.  I would say no if asked, being comfortable with the fact that it was under the allowable watts.

2018-04-01 11:10 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
Reviving an old thread

Flew through Shanghai yesterday. I checked the bike in and just as I was about to board an airline employee and Chinese security guy pulled me over, handed me a paper (only written in Chinese) and my DI2 battery.

They told me it was not allowed in Cargo. The battery was disconnected as I always do with DI2. They didn't touch my power meter battery.

When I was flying out of Montreal the security person told me Lithium Ion batteries were not allowed in Cargo.
2018-04-02 7:23 AM
in reply to: 0

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Master
7922
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
I will probably remove it next time I travel with the bike by air. Even if TSA technically allows PM batteries, from my experience at SFO, individual airline employees don't always know the regulations, or follow them. Plus other countries may have different ideas. (My issues may have had to do with the fact I was checking in for an international flight transiting Japan, where the rules might have been different. I had flown domestically the previous day with zero problems.) Just not worth the risk that my bike (or me) might not make it on the flight for an overseas race that I paid thousands of dollars for in entry and travel costs.

Never got to find out about New Zealand--my dad passed away a few weeks before the race and I had to fly home instead of going to Challenge Wanaka. I do know I have flown between Vietnam and Singapore many times, as well as to/from Australia via Singapore with the PM battery in the PM and never had a problem in any of those countries.

Edited by Hot Runner 2018-04-02 7:28 AM
2018-04-02 10:11 AM
in reply to: 0


252
1001002525
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
If it came down to removing the battery and putting it in your carry-on luggage would a fireproof container help? Amazon has plenty of sizes. Here is just one:

https://www.amazon.com/Fireproof-Explosion-proof-Battery-Charge-Prot...

Edited by HaydenHunter 2018-04-02 10:12 AM
2018-04-02 4:28 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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7

Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
You've gotten good advice here, but I am really surprised you were asked about this! I've flown with my bike all over the US, Europe and to New Zealand. Lots of it on United. I've never been asked about a battery.


2018-04-02 5:07 PM
in reply to: RowToTri

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Master
7922
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Flying with a power meter
Probably 75-80% of the time I am asked. It has never been a big deal until that flight. Doesn't seem to matter what country I am in. Maybe I fit a profile or something??
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