FAA's Proposal to Ban Laptops From Checked Bags Gains Steam

FAA's Proposal to Ban Laptops From Checked Bags Gains Steam

The U.S. government is urging that large, personal electronic devices like laptops be banned from airline checked luggage because of the potential for a catastrophic fire.

According to The Associated Press, the FAA recently filed paperwork with the United Nations revealing lithium-ion rechargeable batteries from laptops could overheat.

FAA officials said due to the speed of the fire's progression, a cargo hold's fire suppression system would likely be unable to extinguish a fire before an explosion.

"The fires can burn up to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, close to the melting point of the aluminum used in aircraft construction", according to the news agency.


The U.N. agency sets global aviation safety standards.

The organization conducted ten tests with a fully charged laptop batter that was placed alongside a heater, which caused the battery's temperature to rise continually.

Other tests were carried out with batteries placed next to other products which are permitted in checked bags such as nail polish remover, hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol.

In the last decade three cargo jets have been destroyed and four pilots were killed by fires which were either ignited by or further impacted by shipments of lithium batteries. Other major agencies and companies, including the European Safety Agency (the FAA's European counterpart) and Airbus, agreed with the recommendation. This proposed ban will be considered during an ICAO meeting within the next two weeks. One possible solution, however, might be to separate your lithium-ion batteries from your cameras and equipment and bring them into the cabin with you in carry-on baggage.

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