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FAA Bans Recalled MacBook Pro on Flights

Most business travelers keep their laptops within reach at all times. Which is why this recently announced ban from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) may throw some frequent fliers into a tailspin. With concerns of battery issues, the FAA, along with other government organizations and airlines, will no longer allow some 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops onboard flights.

Apple’s MacBook Pro Recall

In June, Apple announced a recall of their 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops sold between September 2015 and February 2017. The reason for the recall? The lithium battery of affected laptops can overheat, potentially leading to swelling or even igniting. 

FAA and other airlines ban

This is not the first time the FAA has banned specific consumer electronics on airlines. You probably remember in 2016, when Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7s had a similar issues. According to FAA’s safety guidelines, electronics with recalled batteries should not be allowed as cargo or in carry-on luggage. These affected laptops should not be anywhere on the aircraft, including below in cargo. This ban also includes flights traveling to or from the United States.

Other countries and specific airlines have issued statements, with varying stances. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency will allow the laptops to be on the flight, but they must be turned off. Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways have banned the laptop from both checked luggage and carry-on bags. Quantas, on the other hand, states all 15-inch MacBookPros, including those without a defective battery,  should be carried in the cabin and turned off during the flight. Virgin Australia also stated that all MacBooks must be placed in carry-on baggage only.

What should you do if you have a 15-inch MacBook Pro?

Fortunately, Apple has made their recall process easy. To see if your laptop is affected, go to their recall page  and enter your laptop’s serial number. 

If your laptop battery has been recalled, their website provides information on their easy battery replacement process. If it is a computer provided by your company, you may also want to notify your IT department.

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Travel News

FAA Bans Use Of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s Phones On Flights

As a frequent business traveler, I’m accustomed to the on-boarding and pre-flight protocol of the flight attendants. But this last week, I quickly noticed a new addition to the announcements about a specific smartphone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently banned the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7s phone from being on during flights. The reason? The phones may explode if overheated.

FAA Bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7s On Flights

Released August 19, 2016, the latest Samsung smartphone has already been recalled. In the last month since the release, these phones have been exploding, including in a man’s pocket. The issue stems from the lithium ion battery. Samsung admitted that during the manufacturing process, the layer of plastic separating the positive and negative sides of the battery may have punctured, causing an explosion when overheated. It appears this happens more frequently when it’s charging, but not always, hence the pocket incident.

Initially, the FAA was “strongly encouraging” people from using the phone during the flight. They have now elevated their statement to “ban” airline passengers from using or charging the device during flight. These phones are not allowed to be packed in checked luggage either. The FAA stated, ‘In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.’

I saw last week that the airlines placed notices near check-in and boarding areas about the new FAA ruling. The cabin crew also added the message to their safety script. On this flight, each seat had an individual power station.  While usually convenient, myself and the people around me were suddenly nervous of the possible repercussions. What if someone disobeyed? What can the airlines do to enforce the ban?  Similar to asking that devices are placed in ‘airplane mode’, everyone trusts that the passengers abide by the rules. It’s currently a little nerve-wrecking to think about. Fortunately, Samsung will be providing replacement units later this month.  I will certainly be relieved when these exchanges are complete, and the power stations can return to be the inculpable amenity I frequently enjoy.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

In-Flight Quiet Time: Cell phones are for texting and emailing only

Cell phone are for texting, not talking--at least when you're 30,000 feet in the air.

Recently, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed legislation banning cell phone calls during flights–legislation I was thrilled to hear about.

It has been interesting to watch how this topic has brought together a clear majority of Americans and created a strong bipartisan coalition. The author of the bill, Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster said, “This bill is simple. When it comes to cell phones on planes, tap, don’t talk.”

The bill does allow for the in-flight use of mobile and tablet devices for getting online, emailing, texting, and more, but no voice communications. A Quinnipiac University poll released in December indicated that 59% of Americans didn’t want the use of cell phones on airplanes, with only three in ten in favor of lifting the ban.

And the cabin isn’t the only place with a crackdown on gadgets–the FAA published a rule banning pilots and crewmembers from using tablets, laptops, phones and other mobile devices in the cockpit.

For additional information, click here.

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Travel News

Lawmakers Reach Agreement on $63 Billion FAA Bill

For the past several years Christopherson Business Travel has sent company representatives to Capitol Hill to lobby with the GBTA in support of the FAA re-authorization bill.

The FAA’s long-term operating authority expired in 2007 and has since had to limp along under short-term extensions and was even partially shut down for a time. But on Tuesday, February 1, 2012, an agreement was finally reached in Congress to approve $63 billion for the FAA through 2015.
Key portions of the bill include:

  • Funding authority for FAA’s Next Generation air traffic modernization program, which would update the air traffic control’s systems to GPS technology
  • Tightened subsidies for the Essential Air Service (a program which subsidizes air service to rural communities)
  • Eight daily slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport opened up for longer distance flights (which might possibly have been a selling point for some lawmakers looking for a “what’s in it for me” benefit)
  • A requirement that the Department of Transportation follow the same safety standards for the shipment of lithium batteries by air as those set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency
  • Requirements that the FAA provide military, commercial and privately-owned drones with expanded access to U.S. airspace currently reserved for manned aircraft

As of yesterday, Monday, February 6, 2012, the bill received final congressional approval and will now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.