US: Laptops in checked bags pose fire, explosion risk

Posted at 7:10 PM, Oct 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-19 19:10:45-04

The U.S. government is urging that large, personal electronic devices like laptops be banned from airline checked luggage because of the potential for a catastrophic fire.

The Federal Aviation Administration says in a paper filed recently with a U.N. agency that its tests show that when lithium-ion batteries used in laptops, cellphones and other devices overheat in close proximity to an aerosol spray, they can cause explosions capable of disabling an airliner's fire suppression system. The U.N. agency sets global aviation safety standards.

Tests of overheating batteries packed in luggage containing other consumer products like nail polish remover and hand sanitizer also resulted in large fires.

The FAA says permitting passengers to carry larger personal electronic devices only in the cabin is the most effective way to protect safety.