FAA wants to ban laptops from checked baggage due to fire risk

The American aviation authority FAA has warned in a paper that large electronic devices, including laptops, can pose a fire risk in checked baggage. That is why the organization proposes to exclude this from checked baggage.

The FAA has sent the paper to a UN committee that sets global aviation safety standards, the Associated Press reports. The rules have yet to be ratified. The European Aviation Safety Agency, among others, would support the FAA’s recommendation. The organization writes that a laptop battery can overheat, which can lead to an explosion if there is an aerosol nearby.

This explosion could be so large that it would disable an aircraft’s extinguishing system. This would allow the fire to spread quickly. The Associated Press writes that the FAA has conducted a total of ten tests with laptops and that one of the tests had an aerosol on the laptop. By heating the battery, it caught fire and the explosion of the aerosol followed 40 seconds later. Due to the rapid spread of the fire, the extinguishing system was unable to extinguish it quickly enough before the explosion occurred.

The organization conducted other tests with flammable substances such as nail polish remover and hand gel, which led to a fire but not an explosion. That’s why the FAA wants to ban large electronic devices in checked baggage unless a passenger has a valid reason. The authority states that many passengers often take these types of devices with them to the cabin anyway.

In March, the US banned in-cab laptops for passengers from several countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It was lifted again a few months later.