Virgin Airways bans Dell and Apple laptop batteries

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I reported last week that Korean Air have banned the use of Apple and Dell laptop batteries on their planes. Now Virgin Airlines have taken the same step, meaning that anyone who can’t afford to fly business/first class, and so doesn’t have a power supply by their seat, isn’t allowed to use their machine.

Their website states:

“As a result of the current problems being experienced by the Apple and Dell Corporations with some of the batteries fitted to some of their laptops, as a safety precaution and with immediate effect, customers wanting to use an Apple or Dell laptop on board can only do so if the battery is removed.”

“Any removed or spare batteries must be individually wrapped/protected and placed in your Carry On Baggage. This is limited to two batteries per passenger.”

Wow have we found a new ‘terrorist threat’. Forget Coke bottles, baby milk, etc. – the real problem is the minimal risk of exploding laptop batteries.

It’s interesting that only Apple and Dell have been singled out, despite a few other manufacturers (even those not using Sony batteries) recalling their batteries, and the fact that there’s always a slight risk with lithium batteries of something going wrong.

I suppose it’s all a matter of risk reduction. It’s an easy target, too. Pick on the computer manufacturers with the few reported problems, and pick on their entire range (even the ones outside the problem date range)

At present there appears to be no time limit on these restrictions, but Virgin is in communications with Apple and Dell. The techie commuter’s life gets that little bit harder for the time being.

What do you think? Wise decision or kneejerk reaction?

Andy Merrett

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