Skip to main content

Banning Laptops On Planes

Banning Laptops On Planes

The US is banning laptops from plane cabins on many flights. This ban already affects some flights from the Middle East and Africa. Now the ban may be extended to flights from Europe. Some officials fear terrorists can turn laptops into bombs.

But this ban could actually make flying more dangerous. Laptops have lithium-ion batteries, while the batteries are mostly safe, they do sometimes explode. In 2016, 3 laptops caught fire in plane cabins during flights. Luckily, flight crews were able to suppress the fires.

While airplane cargo holds have automatic fire suppression systems, the systems used are ineffective against lithium-ion battery fires. Once one battery goes up in flames, it could spread to other devices. In 2015, the FAA tested lithium-ion battery fires in cargo holds. Parts of the cargo hold designed to contain a fire were blown out. This could destroy an airplane midflight.

2010 UPS flight Dubai

A 2010 UPS flight crashed 50 minutes after taking off from Dubai. There were over 81,000 batteries on this flight. While several passenger laptops may not seem like a lot, it's still a dangerous situation to put passengers in.