Apple MacBook banned from U.S. flights over battery fire risks
Updated 18:00, 15-Aug-2019
MacBook Pro laptops. /VCG Photo

MacBook Pro laptops. /VCG Photo

Some models of Apple's MacBook Pro laptops are now facing the same situation that Samsung's Note7 smartphone faced back in 2016 - they have been banned on flights by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The move comes after the U.S. tech giant recalled select units which had batteries posing fire risks.

"The FAA is aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops," the agency's spokesperson said in a statement on Monday, adding that the agency has "alerted airlines about the recall." 

Apple said in June it would recall a limited number of 15-inch MacBook Pro units as their batteries were susceptible to overheating and may pose a fire risk. The units were sold between September 2015 and February 2017. 

"Customer safety is always Apple's top priority, and we have voluntarily decided to replace affected batteries, free of charge," the company said in a statement.

The FAA regulations on hazardous materials prohibit carrying recalled batteries on flights unless they've been replaced or stored in special packaging that inhibits fires.

Bloomberg reported that four airlines with cargo operations managed by Total Cargo Expertise, TUI Group Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Air Italy, and Air Transat implemented the ban this week, prohibiting the laptops from being brought onto planes as cargo. 

Earlier this month, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency also issued warnings about these MacBook Pro models, asking airlines in the region to follow 2017 rules that require devices with recalled batteries to be switched off and not used during flights. 

This is the second case in which electronic products have been banned on flights due to overheated lithium batteries. In 2016, dozens of airlines worldwide blocked Samsung's Note7 smartphone after the handset's battery exploded and caught fire in multiple incidents. 

Bloomberg reported that recently recalled laptops like those from HP Inc. may also be banned as per the FAA's rules.