As a safety precaution, Virgin Australia has banned all MacBooks from checked baggage on their flights due to fears over battery fires. Yet, they are still permitted in cabin baggage.
The prominent notice, which has been added to the airline’s Dangerous Goods page, states:
“Important information for passengers travelling with Apple MacBooks:
Due to a worldwide recall by Apple of a number of Apple MacBook batteries, ALL Apple MacBooks must be placed in carry-on baggage only. No Apple MacBooks are permitted in checked in baggage until further notice.”
The concerns raised from a worldwide recall by Apple of select 15-inch MacBook Pro models in June.
“Apple today announced a voluntary recall of a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units that contain a battery that may overheat and pose a safety risk. The units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and can be identified by their product serial number.”
The US Federal Aviation Administration responded to the concern, with banning the affected MacBooks from both cabin and hold baggage.
However, the difficulty for airline and airport staff is how to identify the affected models.
All post-Retina 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar look alike, so expecting security staff to identify specific models when scanning hold baggage is not realistic at all. At the same time, insisting that all MacBook Pros travel in cabin baggage leads to two things:
- It allows affected models to be identified via serial number checks
- It provides a greater chance of putting out a fire should one start
In any case, most passengers would carry their MacBooks in their cabin baggage, so there won’t be a great impact.
Customers and airlines can check whether their MacBook Pro is at risk via the Apple support page.
“Customer safety is always Apple’s top priority, and we have voluntarily decided to replace affected batteries, free of charge […] Product eligibility is determined by the product serial number.
First check to see which 15-inch MacBook Pro you have. Choose About This Mac from the Apple menu () in the upper-left corner of your screen. Confirm your model is “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015).” If you have that model, enter your computer’s serial number to see if it is eligible for this program.”
The owners of models subject to the recall can arrange battery replacement via an Apple Store, an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or as a mail-in service arranged through Apple Support.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways have also announced partial bans. As with the FAA rule, affected models are banned from both cabin and hold baggage unless they are verified as having had the battery replaced.