Battery-powered devices require some special preparation prior to being transported. If you’re traveling with a battery-powered wheelchair or other mobility aid, we encourage you to arrive to the airport at least two hours prior to your scheduled departure time to help ensure proper handling is accomplished.
When we can, we will load and stow your device in an upright position. Generally, we will not need to disassemble the device and the battery will be left attached. If the device cannot be loaded and stowed in an upright position, airport representatives may ask you for instructions on how to disassemble your device. We ask that you complete our Mobility Aid Information form (found below) to provide our airport representatives with assembly/disassembly instructions, and any other helpful information about your device and its battery.
The device’s battery must be identified to our airport representatives as spillable, non-spillable, or lithium-ion to ensure safe handling and transportation of the battery. It is helpful if you have this information ready and available.
After visual inspection, any battery which is determined to have obvious defects, damage, and/or cracks will not be accepted for transportation.
- Spillable Batteries
Wet cell batteries are considered spillable. To be accepted for transportation:
- The battery must be disconnected and the terminals insulated to prevent short circuits, and the wheelchair or mobility aid must be loaded, stowed, secured, and unloaded in an upright position, or
- The battery must be removed and secured upright in a strong, rigid, leak-proof, and properly marked battery box approved by Spirit Airlines. The battery must also be protected against short circuit.
- Non-Spillable Batteries
Dry cell and gel cell batteries are considered non-spillable. To be accepted for transportation, the wheelchair or mobility aid must be positively protected from accidental activation via a Quick-Disconnect mechanism, or the battery must be disconnected and the terminals protected to prevent short circuits. In addition, the battery must:
- Be securely attached to the mobility aid, and the wheelchair or mobility aid must be loaded, stowed, secured, and unloaded in an upright position, or
- Be removed and placed in a strong, rigid, and properly marked battery box approved by Spirit Airlines.
NOTE: The battery must conform to the requirements of 49 CFR Part 173.159a(d) for non-spillable batteries, and 49 CFR Part 172.102(c)(1), Special provision 130 for dry sealed batteries.
- Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are classified independently from other battery types. Lithium batteries may overheat and ignite in certain conditions and, once ignited, may be difficult to extinguish. To be accepted for transportation:
- Battery terminals must be protected from short circuits (e.g., enclosed within a battery housing), electrical circuits isolated, and the battery must be securely attached to the wheelchair or mobility aid.
- The wheelchair or mobility aid must be able to be loaded and stowed in a manner that would prevent its unintentional activation and possible short-circuiting.
- If the wheelchair or mobility aid is specifically designed to allow its battery to be removed (e.g., the device is collapsible), the battery must be removed and carried onboard with you. When a lithium-ion battery is removed from the device, the following must conditions must be met:
- The battery cannot exceed 300-watt hours (Wh).
NOTE: If you are unsure of the watt-hour rating of your lithium-ion battery, contact the manufacturer of your device. Lithium-ion batteries manufactured after January 1, 2009, are required to be marked with the watt-hour rating.
- You must provide a Spirit representative with instructions for proper removal of the battery from the wheelchair or mobility aid.
- The battery terminals must be protected from short circuits by placement in original retail packaging or by insulating the terminal (e.g. taping over exposed terminals or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch).
- If the battery is not specifically designed to be removed, Federal Regulations allow for one large lithium-ion battery to be transported and installed in a wheelchair or mobility aid. In this case, there is no watt hour limit for the battery installed in the device.
NOTE: The battery must have successfully passed each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria as specified in 49 CFR Part 173.185, unless it was approved by the Associate Administrator.
- Spare or Removed Lithium Ion Batteries
- Spare lithium ion batteries and lithium-ion batteries that have been removed from your wheelchair or mobility aid must be carried onboard with you.
- Customers are permitted to carry one (1) spare or removed battery, which must not exceed 300-watt hours, or up to two (2) spare or removed batteries, which must not exceed 160-watt hours each.
- Spare batteries must be effectively protected against short circuiting by:
- Packing each battery or each battery-powered device, in a fully enclosed inner packaging made of non-conductive material (such as a plastic bag).
- Separating or packing batteries in a manner to prevent contact with other batteries, devices or conductive materials (e.g., metal) in the packaging.
- Ensuring that exposed terminals or connectors are protected with non-conductive caps/tape.
For more information about traveling safely with batteries, please go to the FAA's website.
Tip: To assist us in safely loading and unloading your mobility aid, please provide our airport Spirit representatives with written instructions for proper handling of your device. We ask that you bring the mobility aid’s user manual, use our Mobility Aid Information form (found below), or design your own instructions. Fill out as much information as possible and bring it with you on the day of your travel. We recommend that you affix the instructions to your device and keep an extra copy for yourself.
Other spare batteries for assistive devices & TSA
- Aircraft electrical plugs are not available for use with any electronic device.
- All spare batteries must be transported in carry-on baggage and must be packed in a manner that protects them from physical damage and short-circuits.
- Batteries must be NON-SPILLABLE. Spirit will not accept spare spillable batteries.
We encourage our Guests with special needs to carry any assistive devices or medications with them in the cabin.
TSA guidelines regarding traveling with medications or medical equipment can be found on their website https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures.