October 20, 2017
US Considering Banning Laptops from Checked Luggage
The United States initially banned passengers from 10 Middle Eastern airports from bringing large electronics onboard. This was back in March. Passengers were forced to pack devices larger than a cell phone into their checked bags. The US changed course over the summer and lifted the ban once airports complied with new stricter security standards. Per the Associated Press, the FAA now wants to ban large electronic devices from checked bags.
The FAA says recent tests show that when a laptop’s battery overheats “in close proximity to an aerosol spray can, it can cause an explosion capable of disabling an airliner’s fire suppression system. The fire could then rage unchecked, leading to ‘the loss of the aircraft.’” The FAA proposed banning these large electronics to the ICAO, the international organization responsible for setting global aviation safety standards.
The FAA says an 8-ounce aerosol can of dry shampoo placed next to an overheating laptop led to an explosion after just 40 seconds during a test. Overheating laptop batteries placed next to nail polish remover and hand sanitizer also led to fires in testing, though no explosion.
Three cargo jets have been destroyed in part due to batteries in the cargo hold since 2006. These incidents are rare but possible. This kind of ban makes sense, and you really shouldn’t be putting laptops in luggage anyway as they can be easily damaged or stolen.