In case you missed it, earlier this summer Apple warned that the batteries contained in 15″ MacBook Pros sold “primarily between September 2015 and February 2017” pose an elevated safety risk. A recall program was established to provide free replacement batteries to anyone with a qualifying MacBook Pro. To see if your computer qualifies, just enter the serial number on this page.
Of course, there’s another part of this story. Following the news of the recall, the FAA “stated that it alerted major U.S. airlines about the recall,” per Bloomberg, and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which is like the FAA of Europe, has done the same.
And the airlines have responded. In the U.S., writes TechRadar, “all major US airlines have banned affected MacBook Pros from flights following instructions from the FAA.” In Europe, meanwhile, “the aviation safety watchdog (EASA) didn’t go as far as an outright ban on the affected MacBook Pros, but if one of the laptops is brought on board a European flight, it is required to be switched off and not used (or charged) at all.” And in Australia, “both Virgin Australia and Qantas Airlines have banned the MacBook Pro from being taken on as hand luggage.”
So what should you do?
The question remains: How will the airlines/TSA enforce the ban? It seems likely that you could get a MacBook Pro onto a plane without much hassle, especially if you have TSA PreCheck. But the risks of an exploding battery in the air, and additionally of being unable to take your laptop with you when you’re already at the airport, are significant. So if you have a MacBook Pro from 2015/2016/2017, the best first action to take is to see if it qualifies here. And if it does, take the free replacement battery. With a new battery, you’ll technically be in the clear, though LifeHacker suggests “bringing any battery replacement receipts or paperwork from Apple” to the airport in case you’re given any trouble.
Beyond that, if you can’t avoid traveling with your 15″ MacBook Pro until you have a new battery, you should contact your airline in advance. Find out what you need to know before you go.
Have you traveled or tried to travel with a 15″ MacBook Pro since the ban?
If you have an experience to share related to the MacBook Pro ban, please share it in the comments below!
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