The FAA Is Pushing for a Worldwide Laptop Ban in Checked Luggage

Laptop bans are back -- but this time it’s extending beyond the Middle East.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is urging airlines to prohibit passengers from putting large electronic devices, including laptops, in checked bags on international flights. Why? The concern stems from the laptop’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Recent tests revealed that when large electronics overheat in close proximity to aerosol canisters (like hairspray and dry shampoo), they are at risk of a catastrophic combustion. 

Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

The FAA conducted 10 tests with a fully charged laptop battery that was placed alongside a heater, causing the temperature to rise. In one test, an aerosol can of dry shampoo was situated against a laptop, and not only did a fire spark almost immediately, but an explosion occurred within 40 seconds. 

According to the FAA, these explosions could destroy the airline’s fire suppression system, meaning there would be no way to contain the flames. The FAA believes the only reason there hasn’t been more incidents like this in the past is because most people lug their laptops in their carry-on, reports Gizmodo.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency that sets global aviation safety standards, is slated to discuss the proposed ban in the coming weeks. Frequent fliers, it might be time to invest in a top-notch carry-on bag.

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