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Major Airline Bans All MacBook Models After Battery Recall

Your MacBook Pro might be banned from flying, even if it hasn't been recalled. 

Several airlines have extended a ban on MacBook Pro laptops to include those that weren't affected by faulty batteries.  If you missed the original news, Apple recalled the 2015 MacBook Pro sold between September 2015 and February 201, after it was determined that some units could "overheat and pose a fire safety risk." This led the Federal Aviation Administration to warn U.S. airlines against allowing MacBook Pros onboard flights, a caution that spread around the globe. 

While the number of affected MacBook Pros was determined to be about 460,000, some airlines are extending the ban and one has gone as far as banning all MacBook models regardless of make or manufacture date. According to a Bloomberg report, Australian airline Qantas now requires all 15-inch versions of the MacBook Pro to be carried in the cabin and turned off.

Australia's other major airline, Virgin Australia, took it a step further by banning all Apple laptops from checked-in luggage. In a statement, Virgin Australia states that "ALL Apple MacBooks must be placed in carry-on baggage only.

Asian airlines Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have also banned the recalled MacBook Pro models while Thai Airways has banned all MacBook Pros released between September 2015 and February 2017, whether they fall under the recall or not. 

Because each airline has its own rules, we strongly recommend checking in with an airline for details about their MacBook Pro ban policy before heading to the airport. 

While it might seem strict for an airline to ban all MacBook Pro models from flying, it's easy to sympathize with their decision. Faulty batteries are no joke. Damaged or defective lithium-ion batteries can undergo thermal runaway, an unstoppable chain reaction that causes them to ignite. If that were to happen to a laptop within an airline's cargo hull it could be catastrophic. 

Also, determining whether a 15-inch MacBook Pro is one dangerous to bring aboard is a difficult and time-consuming process. The only way to know for sure is by turning the notebook on (which could be a risk in itself) and checking the serial number found in the "About this Mac" page within macOS. There is no easy way to visually distinguish between MacBook Pro models unless one has a Touch Bar. 

If you own an affected 15-inch MacBook Pro, Apple will replace your battery for free, but you’ll have to send your laptop to an Apple repair center. You can check if your unit is eligible for a replacement here

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.