New laptop ban: forget checking in your device because of fire risk
ICAO is considering to issue instructions to ban large personal electronic devices (PED’s) from checked luggage after FAA’s Safety Branch reported «troubling» test results while inspecting potential fire risk from laptops in checked baggage.
The report include some exceptions like the placement of large PED’s in checked baggage with lithium batteries detached from the device and transported in a carry-on bag. Requiring the large PED’s to be stowed in the cabin is the easiest strait forward and most effective way for dealing with the fire risk.
The FAA tests were performed during the recent «laptop ban» imposed in March by the US Department of Homeland Security prohibiting passengers flying to US from the Middle East and Africa from carrying large PED’s in the cabin. All laptops had to be checked and ICAO realized there was little information on a checked baggage fire safety topic. Therefore FAA agreed to conduct tests on fully charged PED’s inside checked bags.
The ICAO said the tests show that «large PED’s in checked baggage mixed with an aerosol can produce an explosion and fire that the aircraft cargo fire suppression system may not be able to safely manage. Globally, there are aircrafts in the commercial fleet that do not have the same level of cargo suppression in the cargo hold, which places passengers in greater jeopardy if a PED catches fire in checked baggage».