Some Apple Laptops Are Now Banned From Flights

Select MacBook Pro laptops have batteries that pose a fire risk and will not be allowed onboard.

Some Apple Laptops Are Now Banned From Flights

With the recall, Apple will replace the laptop battery for free.

Photo by By GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock

If your MacBook Pro is 15 inches and was issued between September 2015 and February 2017, you may no longer be able to fly with it, per a Tuesday ban from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Regulators said they have alerted major U.S. airlines of their recommendation.

The news comes on the heels of Apple’s voluntary recall of the product in June, noting it had “determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk,” reports Bloomberg. Because of this, the laptops can’t be brought on commercial flights as cargo or in carry-on bags. In sum, the ban affects around 432,000 MacBook Pros in the country, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Earlier this month, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency issued a briefing to airlines, recommending that crews make announcements about the devices; should a recalled laptop be onboard, passengers are forbidden from turning it on or charging it. Already, four airlines with cargo operations—TUI Group Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Air Italy, and Air Transat—have banned the affected MacBook Pros.

In 2017, a JetBlue flight from New York to San Francisco was diverted to Grand Rapids, Michigan, after a laptop battery caught fire in a carry-on bag. It’s far from the only time this has happened: There have been more than a dozen onboard fires caused by lithium ion batteries every year since 2013, with 46 incidents in 2018 alone, reports Popular Mechanics.

To find out whether or not your MacBook Pro will be allowed onboard, click the Apple icon and select “About This Mac” from the menu. Under the “Overview” portion, look for the description “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015),” according to Fast Company. If you do have this type of laptop, select and copy the serial number. Then visit Apple’s recall page to enter your serial number, which will determine if your computer has been recalled.

If your laptop does need a new battery, Apple will replace it for free, and you’ll then be able to fly with your laptop again. There’s no word yet on just how airlines will be checking batteries and can assess whether you have a new one, so it’s best to travel with any documentation and receipts from Apple just in case.

>>Next: The Best Laptop Backpacks for Travel

Katherine LaGrave is a deputy editor at AFAR focused on features and essays.
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