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Virgin Atlantic says no to Dell and Apple notebooks on battery power

It appears that the ripple effects caused by the exploding battery issue that resulted in the recall of 4.1 million Dell and 1.8 million Apple notebook batteries continue to be felt. Virgin Atlantic has joined Qantas and Korea Air in banning Dell and Apple notebooks from in-flight use on battery power.

Virgin Atlantic's ban is a blanket policy that covers all Dell and Apple notebooks, not just those listed in each respective company’s recall. Here's a portion of the notice posted to the airline's website:

As a result of the current problems being experienced by the Apple and Dell Corporations with some of the batteries fitted to some of their laptops, as a safety precaution and with immediate effect, customers wanting to use an Apple or Dell laptop on board can only do so if the battery is removed. 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.

There is one way around this ban though. Customers who pony up for Premier Economy or Upper Class seats which feature In Seat Power Supplies (ISPS) can still use their Dell or Apple laptop sans battery. Virgin will provide power leads and adapters for passengers not so equipped.

Virgin stresses that the policy could be lifted once the batteries are no longer deemed a risk to flights. Many believe that such measures taken by airlines is simply an overreaction to isolated cases involving faulty batteries. A Dell spokesman was quoted as saying, "They could easily check out whether a laptop uses a Sony battery or other brand instead of banning them all." James Governor, an analyst for RedMonk added, "These have been very isolated incidents. I wouldn't be worrying about it, but the airlines obviously seem to be in that kind of mood at the moment."

Whether these latest policy implementations are a knee-jerk reaction or not, it’s doubtful that this is the last we'll hear of Dell and Apple notebooks being banned from in-flight use.





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