By Andrea Romano
August 14, 2019
Airport laptop - FAA Ruling on MacBooks
Credit: John Moore/Getty Images

Some MacBook Pro lovers might have to leave their beloved laptop at home for the time being.

According to USA Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned certain recalled MacBook Pro models due to potentially dangerous battery packs.

Certain older generation, 15-inch MacBook Pros are no longer allowed on flights in either carry-on or checked bags. The issue stems from older battery packs which can overheat – leading to smoke, fire, or other dangers that might occur while flying.

It’s not just laptops that use lithium batteries, but also mobile phones, smart luggage, hearing aids, toys, digital cameras, and other devices, according to TechWalla.

Most laptops operate using a lithium battery, which must always be taken in carry-on luggage. All lithium batteries are prohibited from checked bags, according to the TSA website.

Not all 15-inch MacBook Pros have been affected by the ban. Apple recalled the particular models sold between September 2015 and February 2017 back in June, according to USA Today. Apple users with newer or differently sized MacBook Pros or other models can still fly with these devices according to standard TSA rules.

The ban is in accordance with the FAA’s PackSafe page, on which it states that “if a product that is dangerous goods or that contains a dangerous goods component (e.g., battery) is subject to a safety recall related to the dangerous goods, it must not be carried aboard an aircraft or in baggage unless the recalled product/component has been replaced or repaired or otherwise made safe per manufacturer/vendor instructions.”

Banning unsafe batteries is actually quite routine for the FAA. A similar ban was in place over the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which had a serious fire risk due to overheating.

But unlike the phone, affected laptops may be more difficult to spot, since the ban doesn’t cover all 15-inch Macbook Pros, according to The Verge. As an Apple user can attest, these laptops are pretty much identical and hard to differentiate. It’s unclear what steps will be taken at the security line to enforce the ban.

Apple is in the midst of replacing batteries for affected models. All MacBook Pros that are eligible for a replacement can be determined by the product’s serial number. If you are unsure if your laptop battery is recalled, you can check your machine’s serial number on the Apple website. From the looks of it, Apple users may be the first line of defense to make sure their device is safe.

All users with affected MacBook Pros can get their batteries replaced at no cost by visiting a certified Apple Service Provider, an Apple retail store, or by using the mail-in service.