Responding to Apple’s move to recall some specific models of 15-inch MacBook Pro, the FAA has banned select models from flights, due to their batteries being a fire risk.
Back in June, Apple issued a voluntary recall of its select 15-inch MacBook Pros with defective batteries that were prone to overheating and could end up on fire. The company requested customers see if their particular model was eligible for a free battery replacement and send the affected machines to an Apple Repair Center for service, where an initial examination and subsequent repair would take 1-2 weeks for completion.
Given that an affected model could pose a serious safety risk during a flight, Bloomberg reports that the Federal Aviation Administration has now prohibited all recalled models from being taken on flights as cargo or in carry-on baggage. A statement issued by the US safety regulator said that it was aware of the recalled batteries and that it alerted major US airlines about Apple’s recall of the affected models.
In a statement, the FAA said that they are “aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops. In early July, we alerted airlines about the recall, and we informed the public. We issued reminders to continue to follow instructions about recalls outlined in the 2016 FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 16011, and provided information provided to the public on FAA’s Packsafe website: https://www.faa.gov/hazmat/packsafe/.”
Technically, this ban has been in place ever since Apple issued its recall. On July 10, the FAA quote-tweeted a Digital Trends post with photos of the affected MacBook with the reminder that “recalled batteries do not fly.” This is the FAA’s policy for all recalled batteries, although it’s rare for them to be so publicly called out.
Judging from Bloomberg‘s report, the main difference in this case is that the FAA alerted airlines about the recall and issued today’s statement. Basically, if you own an affected model and you haven’t replaced your battery — and, presumably, you don’t have documentation confirming you replaced it if you did — you won’t be able to take your 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro with you on a flight either as a carry-on or as cargo.