The US aviation regulator, the FAA, today placed a ban on travelling with the 15-inch MacBook Pros that Apple recalled in June 2019 as a part of the Macbook Recall 2019, for the risk of lithium battery that may overheat and flame up inside an aircraft.
The affected MacBook Pro units were sold by Apple between September 2015 and February 2017. Apple had put out a recall page to validate which customers need the batteries of their laptops to be replaced. You can access the recall page here.
The FAA alerted US-based airlines in July, and also put out a tweet to this effect at that point in time.
#RECALL ALERT: The #FAA reminds passengers that recalled #batteries do not fly. Avoid carrying #recalled batteries when flying until repaired/replaced per manufacturer instructions. Learn how to #PackSafe at https://t.co/OzSsV8ar7m. @USCPSC recall ➡️https://t.co/rKTiTdv4lj https://t.co/kqLCRedilp
— The FAA (@FAANews) July 10, 2019
Existent rules, issued in 2016, prohibit airlines from transporting any product which was recalled over safety issues in the cabin or as cargo, until such time as the product has been fixed or replaced. Apple has sold approximately 432,000 affected laptops in the US and 26,000 in Canada.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency had already issued a warning about these MacBook Pro equipment at the beginning of the month. EU Airlines require devices fitted with recalled lithium-ion batteries to be switched off, and not powered or charged through the duration of flight.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phones were similarly banned from flights in 2016 after widespread reports of the lithium-ion batteries exploding surfaced.
If you have one of these 500K laptops, perhaps a good idea for you to walk to the Apple Store or authorised service centre and hand it in for fixing pretty soon. Although I am not sure how this ban would be implemented, I guess airlines would make a lot of announcements about this in the coming days to start. You might not want to be caught on the wrong end of this.
Also, I’m not very sure how would aviation regulators across the globe take this guidance and implement it in their jurisdictions. There would be a lot of chaos, given a subset of Apple’s wildly popular laptops are with these faulty batteries and will need to be identified separately.