Ever since the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, regulators and airlines have become wary of lithium batteries on planes, be it as checked in baggage or especially in cabins. The US Federal Aviation Administration even created special instructions in 2016 to address that particular issue. And to be fair, Samsung isn’t being singled out by authorities. The FAA has just reminded airlines of those guidelines which basically prohibits 2015 15-inch MacBooks from going on flights.
Last June, MacBook announced a recall of some of its 15-inch MacBooks from 2015 and the reason is as everyone fears from such recalls. The MacBooks’ batteries were prone to overheating and, worse, even catching fire as 26 incidents already proved.
Because of that same risk, the FAA is calling on the 2016 instructions it gave airlines. That basically boiled down to banning products with recalled batteries from being stowed in cargo or even as carry-on baggage. In other words, the said MacBooks are not allowed on US airlines.
The instructions for European flights are more forgiving. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency cites 2017 rules that requires the same class of devices to be turned off and not used during flights. They can at least be brought on board, which is a better compromise than having none.
Not all 2015 15-inch MacBooks are banned, of course. Those that have already gone battery replacements are exempt as well as those that have not been marked as such by Apple’s own tool. Given the process of figuring out which is which, however, expect that bringing MacBooks to flights will be more troublesome than usual.