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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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2 Comments On "Some 15" MacBook Pros Have Been Banned From Flights"
  1. John S. Wilson|

    I traveled with my 2015 Macbook Pro from Kalispell to DEN earlier last week, and specifically asked, at security, the TSA person about this “ban”. He said that TSA has “not presently” pushed out to personnel, the MBP ban – which would apply to both checked and carryon luggage – so he let me pass with my beloved 2015 Macbook Pro.
    Obviously, this “ban” may become enforced at some time, sooner or later; and MY MBP is specifically NOT one with the defective battery, but how does one prove this to TSA personnel when passing through the always busy TSA security mixmaster?
    My resolution is to print out the online Apple statement that my MBP – showing the serial # of my MBP – is NOT eligible for the battery recall, and therefore, it is “safe”. But this would require, if proof to TSA be needed, that one would boot up one’s laptop, show the serial number on the “About this Mac” page, and compare it with the Apple assurance that the computer has been repaired, or that it is NOT the subject of the recall.
    Ugh. And obviously, all these 15″ Apple laptops look alike! Yipes! Will this development cause one to forfeit to TSA, one’s multi-$thousand laptop? No answers yet, from my web research.
    What a mess. And not willing to risk possible loss of my 15″ MBP laptop, my current solution is to carry my 13″ Macbook Air and to boot that laptop from an external hard disk which contains a carbon copy of my 15″ model. Runs slowly, but worth the hassle to avoid possible confiscation of the 15″ model by TSA. REALLY????

  2. John S. Wilson|

    PS: The Macbook Pro battery “recall” affects, from what I’ve read, about 450,000 laptops, out of a million or more in circulation. So this is not a small problem, affecting just a few vulnerable travelers…..and the new, 2019 MBPs resemble in large detail, the older ones like mine.
    Wow.

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