Several Airlines Ban Apple Macbook Pro Laptops over Fire Concerns
| IOP Desk - 29 Aug 2019

India, Australia, US, EU, and Many Other Countries Have

Already Added the Apple Product to their No-Fly Lists

 

By Onkareshwar Pandey

New Delhi, Aug 29, 2019:

Joining the list of airlines that have banned the Apple product to their no-fly lists, Etihad Airways also banned Apple MacBook Pro laptops in checked-in luggage today.  Etihad Cargo has also banned the bulk shipment of these laptops. India and Australia, have already added the Apple product to their no-fly lists.

"The Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways have also announced partial bans. As with the FAA rule, affected models are banned from both cabin and hold baggage unless verified as having had the battery replaced. A new safety precaution has seen all MacBooks banned from checked baggage on Virgin Australia flights due to fears over battery fires. They are still permitted in cabin baggage. While some might consider the blanket ban an overreaction, it’s actually a pretty sensible approach that is unlikely to inconvenience many," reports in 9to5mac dot com. 

This is following a safety-related recall of some of these computers. Faulty batteries that present a fire risk have seen 15” MacBook Pros banned from flights in several countries.

Apple’s little problem with the older 15” MacBook Pros will remind people of the notorious Samsung Galaxy Note 7s that began catching fire about three years ago. To date, Apple has dodged a lot of the bad press Samsung attracted, possibly because the affected Apple products are ageing and the Samsung product was the latest release, according to media reports.

An Etihad spokesperson told Khaleej Times, “Guests may still carry MacBook Pro laptops on flights, but only in cabin baggage. The laptops subject to the manufacturer's recall must remain switched off throughout the flight. Charging of the devices will not be permitted in flight.”

On the other hand, Emirates Airlines has no such ban. So you know what to do if you really want to use your laptop inflight.

On August 26, 2019, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India issued a public notice asking travellers and carriers not to fly with affected MacBook Pros, unless the battery has been verified as safe by Apple or replaced. The directive applies to both domestic and international flights in India.

Australian carriers have taken a slightly different approach. Qantas will let the MacBook Pros on board as cabin baggage only, but they must be turned off for the entire flight. In a statement, Qantas said;

 “Until further notice, all Apple MacBook Pros must be carried in cabin baggage and switched off for flight following a recall notice issued by Apple,”

Virgin Australia is adopting a similar stance and is banning turning on any MacBooks. Given the number of MacBooks you see flipped open on any flight, this ban is set to affect a lot of passengers. A Virgin Australia spokesperson said;

 “Due to a worldwide recall by Apple of a number of Apple MacBook batteries, All Apple MacBooks must be placed in carry-on baggage only. No Apple MacBooks are permitted in checked-in baggage until further notice,” reports simplifying dot com. 

The response by the aviation industry to the MacBook problem has been an interesting mix of regulatory responses, such as in India, and self-regulation such as in Australia. Most have taken a fairly nuanced approach, targetting specific models rather than blanket bans. Most will also allow carriage and use if batteries have been deemed safe or replaced.

The report says, “The United States has gone down the regulatory road. The FAA has banned the affected models from either carry on or checked-in luggage. The FAA is being specific about the affected models and makes exceptions when batteries have been certified as safe or replaced. But as many have observed, harried airport security staff usually don’t have time to ascertain whether a battery has actually been replaced or certified as safe.”

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has asked its airlines to take steps to ensure passengers did not use the affected MacBook Pros on flights in its airspace. It doesn’t outright ban carriage of them but the notice did lead to some airlines just banning them rather than trying to manage or regulate their use in-flight.

Singapore Airlines is saying on its website that: “Customers are to refrain from bringing the affected (MacBook Pro) models either as carry on or checked baggage until the battery has been verified as safe or replaced by the manufacturer”

Cathay Pacific is adopting a similar position but Thai Airways is taking a more sweeping approach, banning the carriage of any 15” MacBook Pros manufactured between the affected dates.

This ban shows no sign of easing up. It will probably only affect a small number of travellers. Apple users like to update frequently after all. It starts to become more problematic if airlines take the Virgin Australia and Thai Airways position and start issuing blanket bans, the report added.

Photo caption - India has joined the list of countries and airlines banning the carriage of certain MacBook Pros.

Qantas will let you carry the MacBook Pros on-board but you cannot use them.

Image credit: Franz via Wikimedia Commons./ Cantas / Virgin Australia via 9to5mac.com / simpleflying.com 

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(Onkareshwar Pandey is Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor - News, ANIhttp://bit.ly/2mh7hih).


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