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MacBook Pro Flight Ban Spreads with One Airline Barring All MacBooks

MacBook Pro flight
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

As predicted, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ban on hundreds of thousands of recalled Apple MacBook Pros Pros is not going well at all. Airlines are starting to ban not only the affected models but all 15-inch MacBooks and, in one case, every MacBook model, period.

The restrictions — which prohibit travelers from checking in and operating their laptops in flight — have spread from the United States to Australia to Asia, according to Bloomberg.

While the safety measure only affects about 460,000 units sold in the US and Canada, checking which models are affected — or if they have been serviced properly to avoid the ban — apparently is a very difficult and time-consuming task for airline personnel. That’s why some airlines are taking it to the extreme in order to avoid disrupting their operations.

Australian airline Qantas has barred every MacBook Pro with 15-inch screens, regardless of their manufacturing date, model or serial number. Passengers can only carry them in the cabin and never turn them on, so they better bring their iPads to watch movies or do work.

Virgin Australia has taken an even more extreme path, banning every single MacBook — Pro, Airs, anything — regardless of screen size, starting on August 26.

Meanwhile in Asia, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have also banned the recalled MacBook Pro from operating in their flights. Thai Airways, on the other hand, have banned all MacBooks Pros manufactured within the affected dates, between September 2015 and February 2017, regardless if their serial numbers were recalled or not.

In India, the equivalent of the FAA has directed carriers not to allow the affected MacBook Pros to fly.

Back on June 20, Apple announced a voluntary recall of some 15-inch MacBook Pros. These MacBooks have a battery issue that can cause them to catch fire. Following those news, the FAA reminded all U.S. and U.S.-inbound airlines that those recalled units are banned from flights, just like it did with the good old Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fireball: “The FAA reminds passengers that recalled batteries do not fly. Avoid carrying recalled batteries when flying until repaired/replaced per manufacturer instructions.

If your model is a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), then you will need to go to this page and enter your serial model, which is located in the System Information app or in the “About This Mac” panel. But even if the page says your computer is fine, you should contact the airline company you are going to use and ask them if they will allow you to use it in their cabin.