US Airline Safety Regulator Bans Some Laptops from Flights

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. pose / poʊz / (v) – to present or cause a problem, threat, difficulty, or danger

    Staying up late poses health risks.

  2. cargo / ˈkɑr goʊ / (n) – something that is carried on a boat, airplane, or other vehicles from one place to another

    Airplanes with overloaded cargo are not allowed to depart.

  3. up for debate / ʌp fɔr dɪˈbeɪt / (idiom) – not yet decided

    Who will win best actress is still up for debate.

  4. conglomerate / kənˈglɒm ər ɪt / (n) – a large corporation composed of different businesses and companies

    The media conglomerate released a list of its new TV programs.

  5. exempt / ɪgˈzɛmpt / (v) – to free someone from a rule or responsibility

    The school exempts student athletes from taking P.E. classes.


Read the text below.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a US airline safety regulator, banned certain models of MacBook Pro units from flights.

The ban means that travelers can no longer bring the affected devices aboard airplanes in either carry-on or checked-in bags. According to the FAA, the ban was issued because of concerns that units of this laptop model may contain lithium batteries, which might pose fire hazards or other dangers.

Back in June, Apple recalled several MacBook Pro devices that had lithium batteries and were sold between September 2015 and February 2017 because of overheating issues. The FAA warned travelers that if the battery of these devices explodes inside an airplane’s cargo section, it may spread fire to other parts of the plane.

Affected MacBook Pro units can be checked by entering a device’s serial number on the Apple website. If a computer turns out to be one of the affected units, Apple Service Providers or Apple retail stores will replace the unit’s battery for free. Meanwhile, newer or different-sized MacBook Pro devices may still be brought in flights as long as they comply with the FAA’s rules.

However, it is still up for debate how the FAA plans to enforce the ban since affected MacBook Pro units are difficult to spot and are almost identical to unaffected ones.

On another note, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency also released a warning about these potentially hazardous MacBook Pro units last August. According to a European airline conglomerate, its airport staff and flight crew will announce the MacBook Pro ban at airport gates and before takeoff. However, the ban exempts MacBook Pro units with new or replaced batteries.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What do you think is a possible impact of the ban on passengers (e.g. the number of passengers will decrease, passengers will be more careful)? Discuss.
• In your opinion, should the ban apply to all flights? Explain.

Discussion B

• How should airline authorities keep people informed about new flight rules? Explain.
• What other safety rules do you think airlines should strictly implement during flights? Discuss.