Banning Laptops In Airplane Cabins on European Flights

EU and US Agree not to Ban Laptops

The Department of Homeland Security has been back and forth multiple times on the idea of banning large electronic devices, including laptops, from being carried on to flights.  Instead, these larger devices would be placed on checked luggage.  There are two concerns with larger electronics.  First, the lithium-ion battery overheating issue, causing the battery to ignite.  Second, some terrorist groups have been able to hide explosive devices in electronics such as laptop computers.

Let’s expand on these two concerns for a minute.  Yes, laptop computers have burst into flames due to the Li-Ion battery overheating.  But, so have headphones and smartphones.  Why aren’t those banned?  If large electronics being looked at as an ignition concern, all Li-Ion powered devices should be as well.

Next, the terrorist threat.  Here are a few reasons why I question this:

  • If they have an explosive hid in the computer, wouldn’t it cause the same amount of damage regardless of where the PC was located on the plane?
  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but terrorist don’t just fly to and from Europe.
  • What’s stopping them from putting explosives in smartphones, tablets, etc.?

The most recent reports by the Associated Press claim the US will not ban laptops from European flights.  However, the Department of Homeland Security did make the following statement,

“DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes to our security requirement when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

Li-Ion Battery Experiment Exposes Dangers

PC Pitstop conducted two experiments years ago, regarding the dangers of Li-Ion batteries.  The initial experiment took place in 2006, which demonstrated the ignition power of a Li-Ion battery if overheated.  In 2013, PC Pitstop conducted the same experiment, with hopes of less detrimental results.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  Since 2006, Li-Ion batteries have been a risky power source, yet they are still the most popular power method used on several devices.  Below you will find a video portraying the impact of a Li-Ion battery explosion.  Granted, an issue of this magnitude on a plane could cause serious issues — but wouldn’t the impact be much greater if the device was packed within the checked luggage, where it could take minutes before anyone is even aware of the blaze?

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