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by Mike Zazaian September 16, 2006 - 5:42pm, 22 Comments

A Virgin Atlantic plane

Amid a slew of incidents involving exploding Sony batteries, Virgin Atlantic announced that it won’t allow passengers to carry any Apple or Dell laptops onto flights.

Virgin Atlantic Airlines announced yesterday that passengers with any Dell or Apple laptop will not be allowed to use a battery while on the flight.

The announcement, posted on Virgin’s website, said that Passengers may carry on the laptop itself, but batteries must be properly wrapped and stowed away in carry-on for the duration of the flight. However, the airline provided no details as to what proper wrapping entails. For those who wish to use a laptop while on the plane, Virgin plans to provide power adapters on flights where outlets are available.

Virgin’s new laptop policies aren’t without inconsistencies, though. While the Sony battery recalls applied only to certain models of Apple and Dell laptops, Virgin has disallowed all laptops of these brands from being used with batteries on their flights. Apple and Dell are currently in negotiations with Virgin to lift the ban on their laptops, which Virgin intends to do once battery woes are resolved. Also, Virgin will allow battery-equipped laptops to be stowed away in luggage, which seems to pose some comparable degree of threat compared to powered-on laptops on board.

An exploded IBM laptop

Virgin is the third airline to make such restrictions on the recently-exploding laptops, following fellow international carriers Korean Air air and Qantas. Citing the incident of an exploding IBM at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) today, it wouldn’t be surprising if more airlines adapt similar policies. Until new thin-lithium technologies make exploding batteries a thing of the past, jetsetters might have to secede their laptop rights in favor of general safety.

[via cnet]