Are you a frequent flyer and always carry a laptop with you whenever you travel on plane? Airlines may soon take away your laptop for safety reasons. According to a proposal being recommended by an international air safety panel, laptops could be banned from checked baggage on planes due to fire risk.
According to the proposal, an overheating laptop battery could cause a significant fire in a cargo hold that fire fighting equipment aboard the plane would not be able to extinguish which could “lead to the loss of the aircraft”.
It has been reported that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a Canada-based United Nations organization, will decide on the ban at its meeting later this month. However, it is said that even if the organization endorses the proposal from its Dangerous Goods Panel, which is making the recommendation, it would be up to regulators in individual nations to pass rules to enforce it.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not commented on the proposal. But it is represented on the panel that is supporting the ban, and its research on the risk of fires from laptops is included in the proposal.
The FAA’s report raises concerns if a laptop battery were to catch fire in a bag that also holds aerosol cans, it could cause the kind of catastrophic fire that could bring down a plane.
The concern that lithium batteries pose a fire hazard on planes isn’t new. In 2015 U.S. airlines banned hoverboards from their planes due to concerns about the fire risk posed by their lithium batteries.
Then there is the fear of terrorists hiding explosives in laptops. That fear had previously forced the US to ban laptops in planes coming from select international airports.