Virgin Australia, Qantas and Jetstar are among a growing number of airlines to have banned Apple MacBook computers from checked luggage. It follows a product recall affecting Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch laptops sold from September 2015 until February 2017. Apple warns that the battery could overheat and pose a fire risk.
Virgin Australia has banned all MacBook computers – including models not affected by the Apple recall – from checked baggage on all of its flights. A statement on the Virgin Australia website states that “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.”
Meanwhile, Qantas Group airlines including Jetstar have banned all 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops from checked-in luggage. This model of computer must remain in passengers’ carry-on luggage and not be switched on during the flight.
Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways have gone further, banning affected MacBook models from being carried onto the plane at all. However, these airlines have limited the ban to affected models of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with recalled batteries. Other Apple laptop models, and 15-inch MacBook Pros that were not sold between September 2015 and February 2017, are not affected. Singapore Airlines says that it will accept recalled laptops if the battery has been replaced by Apple.
Two weeks ago, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned computers with the recalled batteries from flights in the United States. Meanwhile, European aviation safety regulators have advised that Apple computers with recalled batteries should remain switched off and not be charged during the flight.
If you own an affected MacBook Pro, Apple will replace the battery free of charge. You can check your computer’s serial number on the Apple website to see if the recall applies to you.
The current onset of airline MacBook bans is reminiscent of the worldwide Samsung Galaxy Note 7 airline ban in 2016, after it was found the phone’s battery could spontaneously catch fire or explode.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Airlines banning MacBook Pros [in checked luggage and use onboard]