Qantas Airways bans MacBooks from passengers’ checked luggage

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Apple just added MacBook Pros to its refurb shop.
Probably best not to take this on your travels.
Photo: Apple

Qantas Airways, Australia’s largest airline by fleet size, has joined Virgin Australia in banning certain MacBooks from checked luggage.

Virgin announced its decision yesterday, citing fears that the laptop batteries could catch fire. Other airlines to also ban the laptop include Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration also reminded laptop owners not to bring on board products with recalled batteries, including Apple’s. Now Qantas is following suit.

Apple previously issued a worldwide recall of certain 15-inch MacBook Pros. In June, the company confirmed that some 15-inch MacBook Pro units “contain a battery that may overheat.” Apple primarily sold these laptops between September 2015 and February 2017. The recall was prompted by 26 reports of flaming MacBook Pros.

While the number of affected laptops remains small, it’s understandable that airlines would want to take safety precautions.

Check your MacBook (online, not in hold luggage)

Users wanting to find out if their MacBook Pro is among the potentially affected models can carry out a check on Apple’s website. Apple currently offers free battery replacements for affected units. In other words, if you own one of these laptops, you should get it fixed.

Apple isn’t the only company to run into problems with lithium-ion batteries. Nor is it necessarily the company that made airlines aware of the risk such batteries pose. Back in 2016, Southwest Airlines evacuated a flight from Louisville after a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught fire on board.

If you’re traveling soon, and own a MacBook, it may be worth checking with your airline ahead of time. With so many different MacBooks available, and discrepancies as to whether the laptops are banned from flights altogether or just from checked luggage, you could save yourself a whole lot of hassle with a quick advance phone call.

Have you had any issues with traveling due to the MacBook ban? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Bloomberg