In the spring the US banned laptops from passenger cabins on US-bound flights from several airports,
requiring that electronics with lithium ion batteries be checked as baggage instead. They did this even though it was widely acknowledged to be dangerous.
Over the summer the U.S. agreed to lift the ban provided the world acquiesce to US-specific security procedures. In other words, if security theater dictates weren’t followed the U.S. would insist that air travel would be actually unsafe.
Now a mere four months later the US is calling for a new electronics ban — this time insisting that the world community ban laptops and other large electronics from checked luggage. Say what? (HT: @tebfunk)
Isn’t it ironic? It’s just like
Alanis Morissette Remy sang, “It’s like learning Ted Kennedy happened to be good at bridge… or like FDR got locked in a Honda Accord… and who would’ve thought it figures?”
The U.S. government is urging the world airline community to ban large, personal electronic devices like laptops from checked luggage because of the potential for a catastrophic fire.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a paper filed recently with a U.N. agency that its tests show that when a laptop’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery overheats in close proximity to an aerosol spray can, it can cause an explosion capable of disabling an airliner’s fire suppression system. The fire could then rage unchecked, leading to “the loss of the aircraft,” the paper said.
The US is proposing to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization that “passengers shouldn’t be allowed to pack large electronic devices in baggage unless they have specific approval from the airline.”
We’ve seen cargo planes destroyed and pilots killed by fires that were started by or exacerbated by lithium ion batteries. A lithium ion battery caught fire on a JetBlue flight earlier this year.
It doesn’t happen often, but when a fire starts in the cargo hold it’s much hard to contain than if it’s in the cabin.