Walking through an airport—any airport—or sitting on any flight, it is impossible not to notice the volume of laptops in use at any time. In a constantly-connected world, travelers take for granted that they will have the ability to log in, whether to make use of commuting time to get work done, or simply pass the time playing a game, browsing social media, or watching a movie. Thanks to a new regulation put in place by airlines, effective August 2019, not all laptop owners will have this privilege anymore. Airline safety regulators in the United States have banned certain MacBook Pro laptops from airplanes, after Apple Inc. revealed that some of the units may contain batteries at risk for igniting.
The laptops in question are a subset of 15-inch MacBook Pros offered between September 2015 and February 2017. The devices were recalled in June of 2019, with Apple stating that the potential for a battery to overheat and ignite existed in a limited quantity of the older generation devices.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration released a statement indicating it was “aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops” and confirming that it had notified major airlines about the issue and urged them to adhere to 2016 safety instructions regarding items with recalled batteries. These instructions mandate that the affected laptops are prohibited from flights, either as cargo or carry-on items.
This policy is more restrictive than that being implemented by the agency’s European counterpart. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency simply requires affected devices to be powered off throughout the duration of a flight. However, some individual European airlines have opted for a more restrictive ban.
Although this sounds like the recipe for a travel nightmare for many, there is a fix. Back in June when the recall was issued, Apple began voluntarily replacing the impacted batteries free of charge. Laptops that have had the batteries replaced are exempt from this ban. So, there is ample reason for anyone in possession of one of these potentially-impacted laptops to respond to the recall. In addition to avoiding a potential safety hazard, owners can ensure they will avoid a potential travel inconvenience, as well.