Dear TripAdvisor: Worried about lighting a fire at inn ... More

Scripps Howard News Service

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Q: My wife and I will be celebrating our fifth anniversary in October, so last night we booked a weekend at a B&B in the Berkshires. My wife chose one particular room because it has a wood-burning fireplace. This is probably a stupid question, but will the innkeeper light a fire for us, or do we have to do it ourselves?

Neither one of us knows how to build a fire, nor do we want to spend our anniversary watching instructional videos on YouTube. Nor do we want to burn down the inn. Help!

A: Call and ask the innkeepers. I would guess they would be happy to do it for you. But it wouldn't hurt to get comfortable maintaining a fire, even if you don't build it yourself, so you don't need to keep calling the innkeeper back for help if you need to add a log. I would check if a friend or neighbor has a patio fire pit. Perhaps if you brought over a bottle of wine, he or she would give you a crash course.

Q: I don't fly very often, but I understand that sometimes the overhead space is limited on small planes and people have to check bags at the gate. So I wasn't surprised when the gate agent made an announcement about this when I was waiting to board my flight last week. However, I was surprised when she said you had to remove any lithium batteries from your bag if you were going to check it. Is this some new rule? I wanted to ask the gate agent, but she was busy.

A: U.S. airlines haven't allowed passengers to pack spare lithium batteries in checked bags since 2008, actually. The reason is that these batteries, while generally not dangerous, can burn at very high temperatures if they happen to ignite. I think the logic is that if that were to happen in the cabin of the plane, a flight attendant could use a fire extinguisher and put out the flames, but if a fire started in someone's checked bag, deep in the belly of the plane, no one could get down there to fight the fire. They make the announcement at the gate because a passenger might have, say, a spare lithium battery for a digital camera in his carry-on. That battery shouldn't be in the bag if it's gate-checked -- the passenger should carry it onto the plane. For the record, if a lithium battery is installed in something, it's OK in either a checked or carry-on bag; you just can't check a loose lithium battery.

(Email travel-etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at deartripadvisor(at)tripadvisor.com.)