U.S. FAA bans certain MacBook Pro models with recalled batteries on flights

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)
MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has banned certain MacBook Pro notebooks — MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) — with recalled batteries on flights after Apple recently said that some units had batteries that posed a fire risk, Mark Gurman and Alan Levin report for Bloomberg:

In a statement, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it was “aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops” and stated that it alerted major U.S. airlines about the recall.

The watchdog also reminded airlines to follow 2016 safety instructions for goods with recalled batteries, which means that the affected Apple laptops should not be taken on flights as cargo or in carry-on baggage by passengers.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency issued a warning about these MacBook Pro models earlier this month, telling airlines in the region to follow 2017 rules that require devices with recalled lithium-ion batteries to be switched off and not used during flights.

MacDailyNews Take: Make perfect sense. You never want a bad battery going off on a flight.

According to Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Recall Program, the affected units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017.

Apple has voluntarily decided to replace affected batteries, free of charge.

Eligibility
First check to see which 15-inch MacBook Pro you have. Choose About This Mac from the Apple menu () in the upper-left corner of your screen. Confirm your model is “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015).” If you have that model, enter your computer’s serial number on this page to see if it is eligible for this program and, if so, follow the replacement process.

16 Comments

  1. Wow. So that means that model is permanently banned from flight, right? Even if you have had the battery replaced, the FAA has no way to verify that when you check in, do they? I don’t think they’re going to believe a receipt showing you had the work done, nor would I expect them to… anybody can make a fake receipt. Yet another headache for airport security, and flying in general.

    1. People are only outraged by your constant cynicism. Cynicism is for the weak, cynicism is the circumcision of your mind, it’s why you’re always in such a flap because they removed the wrong bit and that’s all you’re left with.

      1. One more of us for the hat trick. 🙁

        I know there are a lot of us with that model, either purchased new or picked up second-hand after the ongoing keyboard debacle for the post-2016 models.

        I fly every few months and need my laptop. Would love to know a way around it for those of us with unaffected batteries.

  2. Apple’s equivalent of the Galaxy Note 7. Nice going, Apple. Honestly, Apple is always getting into the news for some for some sort of hardware problems. I suppose there’s no way Apple can avoid being targeted for something they’ve done wrong. What gets me is although Apple has such a small market share percentage of laptops and most of them are premium, why is it that other cheaper brands don’t have these sort of problems being announced on the internet. I mean, there are really cheap Windows laptops being sold and I’m sure they could be using somewhat inferior components than what Apple is using and they’re not being banned on flights. Sorry, but it just seems odd to me. Maybe I’m wrong. Apple could be cutting corners to boost profits. Hey, you never know.

  3. I just went to both the TSA and FAA websites and can find ZERO entries for new regulations or announcements of any new guidelines for Apple, MacBooks, or MacBook Pros. The most recent TSA entry for a MacBook of any kind is from 2015 on the TSA website.

    The TSA returns NOTHING. I think this is a typical Bloomberg FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) article leading into Apple FUD Season preceding a major Apple Event. September is when Apple will be releasing the new iPhones, so it is the start of FUD Season. This is a SINGLE SOURCE story that is being picked up by other publishers as if it were factual and repeated. Has anyone actually contacted the FAA to see if it is an actual ban?

    The fact is that even Bloomberg’s article does not state the specified MacBook Pros were “banned” outright. Quoting directly from the Bloomberg article:

    ”The watchdog (the FAA—Swordmaker) also reminded airlines to follow 2016 safety instructions for goods with recalled batteries, which means that the affected Apple laptops should not be taken on flights as cargo or in carry-on baggage by passengers.

    Reminding the airlines, not TSA, is not the same as “banning”.

    1. Incidentally, that 2015 Apple MacBook entry was a response about early reports of fires reported with some MacBook computers and Apple replacing batteries for those models. The TSA concluded that the risk was LOW for Apple products on aircraft, and no action was warranted. Since Apple’s statement on the recall here is also cautionary replacement, I would think the same conclusion would be made.

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