Another Airline Grounds Dell, Apple Laptops

from the bet-they-just-lost-two-corporate-accounts dept

Following the lead of Australia’s Qantas, Korean Air has forbidden the use of Dell and Apple laptops on its planes (via Engadget). The company says users can bring the computers aboard, as long as they put their batteries in their checked luggage. This seems doubly pointless, because if the airlines are going to overreact and forbid the use of the machines on board, why let the batteries on at all, since there are questions about the safety of batteries travelling as cargo, too? Spokesmen from Apple and Dell have a point that there are plenty of their laptops that didn’t ship with the exploding battery figure, so they shouldn’t be any more of a threat to an airplane than any other laptop, and to single their users out really isn’t all that helpful. All this ban will do is drive some customers to other airlines, where they’ll carry their machines on unmolested. However, the original article does say the FAA is reviewing the safety of lithium batteries — so maybe it won’t just be Apple and Dell owners getting the special treatment.


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Comments on “Another Airline Grounds Dell, Apple Laptops”

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23 Comments
Tyshaun says:

Disagree....

As a business traveler in post 9/11 “can’t take water on a plane” loony land, I would hardly change my flight plan just because my carrier doesn’t let me take my laptop battery with me. It is inconvienent and stupid, but travelers are getting used to inonvenient and stupid now and it is more trouble to plan around the inconvienence than not.

As an aside, one thing that will happen as a result of all of this is that long term people just won’t fly as much. I’m seeing it now we’re audio/video conferencing of meetings/presentations is becoming the norm, both because it is cheaper and saves the hassle of travel. Of course, this only applies in the business world, but that’s probably a large part of the airline flyers anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Disagree....

And I disagree with you.

Maybe that works for you, but the reason I travel is for work, and my laptop is central to my work. If, as they’re saying, I can fly with the battery removed, fine. But if they’re saying what you’re implying “my carrier doesn’t let me take my laptop battery with me”, well, I’ll find a different carrier. Next time you fly, look around you. Most of those people are theere for work, and laptops are becoming indispensible for work.

No idea what you do as a “business traveller”, but most business travellers carry laptops.

Tyshaun says:

Re: Re: Disagree....

And I disagree with you.

Maybe that works for you, but the reason I travel is for work, and my laptop is central to my work. If, as they’re saying, I can fly with the battery removed, fine. But if they’re saying what you’re implying “my carrier doesn’t let me take my laptop battery with me”, well, I’ll find a different carrier. Next time you fly, look around you. Most of those people are theere for work, and laptops are becoming indispensible for work.

No idea what you do as a “business traveller”, but most business travellers carry laptops.

I believe the point of the article is that they didn’t let you carry the battery “in” the laptop and you had to have it in checked baggage or something. To that end, you can still take your laptop on the trip, just can’t use it on the plane (I could barely use them anyway unless in business or first class because I’m not a midget).

At any rate, maybe you should read the articles before mounting criticism?

Anonymous Coward says:

and as such, most business carriers end up hauling heavy hunks of plastic and metal around that used to do stuff, but now they dont do anything. why not ship the laptop? do an overnight shipment, and have your package at where ever the hell it is your going before you get there, rather than upsetting the airline gods of fear and cowardice any more. better yet. dont use laptops. use a pc. first off, more bang for your buck. second off, you can carry a pc around too.( if you carry a pc around, its a workout, but you can do it. the pc itself in your backpack and either the crt or flatscreen in your hands.) the workout is good for you business people who dont get exercise at work besides the walk to the water cooler. plus….laptops are gay.

DavM says:

More likely to explode on checked baggage

My understanding about the recalled batteries is that the hazard is most severe when the terminals are shorted. It would seem to me this is much more likely to happen in checked luggage than in the laptop itself. (imagine a battery in a packed tight metal suitcase).

Can a ban on the batteries themselves be far behind?

Joshua Friel (user link) says:

Korean Airlines

Korean Airlines put the new rule into effect just days after I made the flight over the pacific for a year stint in Korea. I used my laptop almost until the battery ran out (mine was unaffected by the recall). I would have seriously reconsidered my 14.5 hour flight if they had banned my laptop. Also, the signs they put on the airport (I used KAL again for a quick trip to Japan a few days ago) specifically say that ALL Apple and Dell laptops not just the ones under the recall. Also, from what I understand, the oxygen generators aboard aircraft pose more of a serious risk to a plane than laptop batteries do.

Joshua Friel (user link) says:

Shorted battery

Coincidentally, I had my first experience with a shorted battery. I was carrying around a couple AAs in my pocket for my camera and threw some change in there. After some walking around, I felt an incredible heat in my pocket. The change along with a key had shorted the battery. It didn’t explode or leak, but if it hadn’t been up against my skin, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it, and could well have caught fire.

jasna (user link) says:

Solution Proposal #1

I always use my computer on long flights. If those airlines ban me from using my Apple laptop, I will choose a different airline.

But there are many ways to solve this problem while addressing the battery concern and allowing me to use my brand of laptop. I could think of of few, and here’s one of them.

SOLUTION PROPOSAL #1 Those wishing to use the banned laptops can request to get their NEW replacment battery approved. Give them an orange sticker with the clearance number on it and problem solved. If Airlines are worried about the extra work to check the batteries, make the customer pay $5 . I’d pay and skip the coctail.

Additional benefit would be that the laptop users with these potentally defective batteries will stop procrastinating and finally get these replacement batteries. It seems to me that the people that run these two airlines have not given this issue much thought, so they ‘ jump the gun’ and take the easy way out. Note to the Airline decision makers, – Use your brains people!

Timothy says:

A idea

Umm, how about instead of just banning laptops because the low risk of battery issues, why not try fixing the problem? Pretty sure the airplanes themselves use batteries in lots of things. Why do so many businesses use fear as a excuse for ignorance, and ignorance as a excuse to be lazy and stupid. Do they not see they are dying? If it wasn’t for governmental bail outs bordering on the BILLIONS, they would hardly exist at all. Every year more options come to the table. Private flight companies, video conferencing, people keeping local for vacations(which is probably better for their economy anyway) and even now drivable car/planes and the possibility of Intercontinental Space travel(Look into what Virgin is planning). Yet at every turn they find some way to scare customers. Why? How many people have died due to all the terrorist attacks, shoe bombs and..what..in air super soaker fights combined? A heck of a lot less then due to standard mechanical problems, or weather, or probably even in flight heart attacks. Oi. There is no reason behind it. My only guess is Airlines are letting the government use them to instill fear and hence increase our dependency on them in exchange for all those billions they paid. Just a thought. Red, Yellow or Blue; Bullshit comes in many shades.

Dazza says:

Waht about DELL, APPLE?

Why not force companies like DELL and APPLE to use QUALITY products in the first place! Hold THEM responsible for selling faulty and dangerous equipment in the first place!
I wouldn’t buy a DELL laptop anyway due to its quality (or lack of)
Apple take your money and run – no support from them!
Yet its not their fault when their shoddy equipment blows up!
I salute the airline companies for taking safety first!

Unkowledgeable Geek says:

Re: Waht about DELL, APPLE?

What do you think a recall is? Dell and Apple are both recalling their batteries because the f’d up and they know it. They are taking responsibility and trying to fix the problem. I am guessing you are about 15 years old and on top of the world, because you know how to post. Dell did take action to solve this problem, the people that purchased the laptops are not returning the batteries, there is nothing Dell can do about that.

I am not a Dell supporter, in fact I hate Dell. I would just by an Acer, you know Dell without the name on it and 1/2 the price. But this time, Dell is doing everything possible to replace the batteries.

Plus, the batteries made by WHO? SONY, rootkits, batteries that blow up competitions machines, SONY is what we have to worry about. It is the Japanese you can never trust them.

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