FAA prohibits recalled MacBook Pros on flights due to fire risk

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 13
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recently notified major airlines of Apple's recall of certain MacBook Pro models, effectively banning the impacted laptops from passenger and cargo planes as they pose a potential fire hazard.

MacBook Pro


In a statement to Bloomberg, the FAA said it was "aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops" and stated that it had instructed airlines to follow rules relating to products with recalled batteries.

According to a 2016 regulation, affected devices are restricted on cargo planes and as carry-on items on passenger flights.

Apple in June issued a battery recall targeting mid-2015 15-inch MacBook Pro models sold between September 2015 and February 2017. According to the company, some units contain battery cells that might overheat and "pose a fire safety risk."

An internal document seen by Bloomberg confirms Total Cargo Expertise this week notified employees about the laptop ban. The company operates both cargo and passenger aircraft under TUI Group Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Air Italy and Air Transat. A spokesperson for TUI Group said the airline will make announcements about the recalled MacBook Pro models at airport gates and onboard before takeoff, the report said.

Whether the FAA plans to post warnings about the laptops at U.S. airports is unknown. Similar postings were seen at airports across the country in 2016 after a number of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 devices caught fire or exploded. At the time, at least one airline, Southwest, blamed the evacuation of a flight on a smoking Note 7.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency is also taking precautions and in August instructed airlines to follow 2017 rules that require devices with recalled lithium-ion batteries to be turned off during flight, the report said.

A Canadian safety alert in June estimated that about 432,000 MacBook Pros with faulty batteries were sold in the U.S., while another 26,000 made their way into Canada.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,270member
    How exactly are they checking the models at the airports?
    MacProflyingdppeterhartcoolfactor
  • Reply 2 of 34
    rolsrols Posts: 62member
    Wonder how this is going to work in practice. Anyone with a 15" macbook pro, assuming every screener is able to tell a macbook pro from anything else, let alone a 15" one from a 13" one, is going to have to turn it on and show the manufacture date? The Bloomberg article referenced says that laptops which have had their batteries replaced are not affected, how do you prove this? What happens to the laptops which are deemed unsuitable to fly, are they destroyed, kept for your return .. ? 
    Or is this one of those bans which relies on passengers being honest? If the first people know of it is when hear an announcement when they're standing in line and they have a several thousand dollar macbook pro in their bag, there's some incentive for staying quiet. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 34
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,685member
    While I'm sure the Samdroids are having a field day, let's make sure it's an Apples to Apples comparison.  This is affecting a four-year-old laptop that for all intended purposes is an old laptop with depleted batteries.  The fact that Apple is allowing battery replacements for Macbooks from this year is a testament to Apple's commitment to doing what's right.

    Samsung, on the other hand, had a brand new product and when barely out of diapers was already responsible for burning down a house, exploding on airplanes and who knows how many others that Samsung had to recall their brand new phone, was banned anywhere in the air, and literally hunt down every person that refused to give theirs up by threatening to hold their service plan hostage.

    Just sayin...
    charlesgresStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 34
    rols said:
    Wonder how this is going to work in practice. Anyone with a 15" macbook pro, assuming every screener is able to tell a macbook pro from anything else, let alone a 15" one from a 13" one, is going to have to turn it on and show the manufacture date? The Bloomberg article referenced says that laptops which have had their batteries replaced are not affected, how do you prove this? What happens to the laptops which are deemed unsuitable to fly, are they destroyed, kept for your return .. ? 
    Or is this one of those bans which relies on passengers being honest? If the first people know of it is when hear an announcement when they're standing in line and they have a several thousand dollar macbook pro in their bag, there's some incentive for staying quiet. 
    I can’t imagine this going beyond, “is this a 15” MacBook Pro” followed by “when did you buy it”, and if they answer wrong, there are no consequences. It is also ideal for people to return it to their car over the trip period, or maybe they will have the airport hold it for you(with probably an in airport battery exchange place racking up cash for offering to change the battery then).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 34
    bigtdsbigtds Posts: 110member
    sflocal said:
    While I'm sure the Samdroids are having a field day, let's make sure it's an Apples to Apples comparison.  This is affecting a four-year-old laptop that for all intended purposes is an old laptop with depleted batteries.  The fact that Apple is allowing battery replacements for Macbooks from this year is a testament to Apple's commitment to doing what's right.

    Samsung, on the other hand, had a brand new product and when barely out of diapers was already responsible for burning down a house, exploding on airplanes and who knows how many others that Samsung had to recall their brand new phone, was banned anywhere in the air, and literally hunt down every person that refused to give theirs up by threatening to hold their service plan hostage.

    Just sayin...
    What does age have to do with it. A fire risk is a safety risk...period.
    CloudTalkinmuthuk_vanalingamchemengin1
  • Reply 6 of 34
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 688member
    This seems excessive.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,359member
    dysamoria said:
    How exactly are they checking the models at the airports?
    Exactly, no disrespect intended they are hard-working folks keeping is all safe but your average TSA person is not going to have a clue.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 34
    MacPro said:
    dysamoria said:
    How exactly are they checking the models at the airports?
    Exactly, no disrespect intended they are hard-working folks keeping is all safe but your average TSA person is not going to have a clue.
    Sounds like a training issue.  They just need to look up the serial number to determine the model...  If the passenger say Apple replaced the battery already.  The agent can reply “I’m sorry.  This model can’t be carried on”.  The problem is electrics can be damaged by the rough treatment of check-ins, but that’s no longer the airlines concern...they’ve followed procedures.

    This is definitely a pain in the ass for travelers, but as long as the owner knows they can put in a sleeve/case to protect it...

    If the owner planning to get work done on the flight, they’re obviously going to be seriously unhappy.

    FYI
    Identify your MacBook Pro model. Find the serial number printed on the underside of your Mac, near the regulatory markings. It's also on the original packaging, next to a barcode label. The original packaging might also show an Apple part number, such as MLH12xx/A (“xx” is a variable that differs by country or region).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 34
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,173member
    How many of the MILLIONS of those Macbook Pros have ACTUALLY exploded or had a battery issue after all these years of usage? Like, a handful? Let's not pretend these are now a massive risk. At the end of the day, they're batteries, which can theoretically explode in any device under the right conditions. Anyway, no way in hell this can be implemented. 

    flyingdpcoolfactorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 34
    slurpy said:
    Anyway, no way in hell this can be implemented. 

    Correct, therefore the fail safe option is to prohibit all Apple laptops from planes. /s
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 11 of 34
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,572member
    I can't disagree; it's similar to the Galaxy Note 7 debacle a few years ago. Bottom line - the FAA doesn't want fire-prone lithium batteries on planes. The big problem is going to be how to identify the computers and how to tell if the battery has been replaced. You could boot up your computer and go to system information to show the model, but if you have an affected model I don't know that there's a way to prove that the battery has been replaced.
    chemengin1watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 34
    slurpy said:
    How many of the MILLIONS of those Macbook Pros have ACTUALLY exploded or had a battery issue after all these years of usage? Like, a handful? Let's not pretend these are now a massive risk. At the end of the day, they're batteries, which can theoretically explode in any device under the right conditions. Anyway, no way in hell this can be implemented. 

    You’re underestimating politicians.  If they’re not creating new regulations someone might accuse them of not doing their job.

    Case of point:
    3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

    I’m still pissed TSA took my leatherman when I was a kid.  The “blade” was barely big enough to pick my teeth...

    Still things that can go boom on a plane are bad.  

    But, regulators kind of ignore that for a 747 “Over the course of a 10-hour flight, it might burn 36,000 gallons (150,000 liters)“ of explosive liquid.

    Bottom line, they’re going to implement something for the batteries.  You might think it’s ridiculous, but that’s never stopped them before...  
    larryjwchemengin1
  • Reply 13 of 34
    FUN!!!!
  • Reply 14 of 34
    Man, 2016 (aside the US election) was not a great year for MBP redesign. Since it's introduction, the whole thing has been a disaster. What a freaking nightmare. 
    montrosemacschemengin1
  • Reply 15 of 34
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 879member
    Hate to be the guy who was in the middle
    of traveling... when the recall
    was announced
  • Reply 16 of 34
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 879member
    jgojcaj said:
    Man, 2016 (aside the US election) was not a great year for MBP redesign. Since it's introduction, the whole thing has been a disaster. What a freaking nightmare. 
    Enough about DJT
  • Reply 17 of 34
    Woahh! Glad they caught this but it's going to be extremely difficult to implement if we still can't prove if a battery has been replaced. I do not want to be in a plane with a Macbook pro on board. 
  • Reply 18 of 34
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,649member
    As many problems as I have with the TSA generally, this is entirely fair. Samsung had an issue that could cause their phone batteries to explode, the TSA notified the public and asked users not to carry them on planes. Same here: there's no thug going through your luggage looking for a specific MacBook Pro model, they're just going to make the public aware that those machines aren't safe for travel in the luggage hold.

    You're still allowed to bring them aboard in a carry-on -- and frankly if you are letting your notebook out of your sight in an airport you deserve exactly what you will inevitably get. Only a fool puts their valuable computing devices in checked luggage.
    chemengin1watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 34
    anomeanome Posts: 1,294member
    jgojcaj said:
    Man, 2016 (aside the US election) was not a great year for MBP redesign. Since it's introduction, the whole thing has been a disaster. What a freaking nightmare. 
    But it's not the 2016 MBP, it's the 2015 MBP that's affected.

    In fact, if properly managed, this should help, since it's easy enough to tell the 2016 and later MBPs from the 2015 and earlier. Of course, I shan't be surprised if they still pull 2016 MBPs because they don't actually know the difference, or their instructions aren't worded properly.
    indiekidukentropys
  • Reply 20 of 34
    I’d imagine if they see one you would have to prove it has been repaired either with the repair sheet. Showing the cycle count wouldn’t work because it could just be a recently opened one.
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