September 25, 2006 8:18 AM PDT

Virgin Atlantic eases laptop battery restrictions

Virgin Atlantic has lifted its total ban on the in-flight use of batteries for any Apple Computer or Dell laptop.

The airline recently began preventing passengers from bringing onto planes any Apple and Dell laptops with their batteries still inside. That ban followed last month's recall of more than 5 million batteries from the companies' laptops. Virgin Atlantic's initial decision reflected similar restrictions by Qantas and Korean Air.

In a new update on its site, however, Virgin Atlantic has said that passengers "wishing to use an Apple or Dell laptop onboard can only do so once the laptop serial number has been checked by a member of the cabin crew."

Only a small portion of the computer makers' laptops are affected by the faulty Sony batteries, which both Dell and Apple claim can overheat and catch fire.

The airline said that if a battery is not on the recall list, the laptop can be used without restriction.

If a battery comes from the affected batch as identified by Apple and Dell, it must be removed.

"In cabins where the seats are fitted with in-seat power supplies...leads/adaptors will be offered," the airline said. "Any removed or spare batteries must be individually wrapped/protected and placed in your carry-on baggage. This is limited to two batteries per passenger."

In cases where no in-seat power supplies are provided, the use of the Dell or Apple laptop with recalled batteries is strictly prohibited.

Virgin Atlantic said the restrictions will be lifted as soon as the safety issues are resolved.

Scott Mckenzie of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.

See more CNET content tagged:
airline, restriction, passenger, battery, Apple Computer


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Oh no... come the privacy advocates screaming 'bloody 4th Amendment massacre...'
Posted by `WarpKat (275 comments )
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'Checking serial number'?!
This is nonsense. I flew Virgin from SFO to LHR 2 days ago, spent
the 2 hours before the flight sitting at the gate, in full view of the
cabin crew as they assembled for the flight, using my iBook. Put it
in my bag as I boarded, the bag wasn't checked, nothing was said.
They can issue press releases all they like to reassure passengers
that they are 'doing the right thing', but this is nonsense. This
wasn't an isolated incident, 2 other passengers using Powerbooks
in full view were also not questioned.
Posted by philatkin (2 comments )
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