What the Ban Means
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) ban on 15-inch MacBooks was put in place for particular MacBook Pro models that were bought between the months of September 2015 and February 2017.
If anyone’s MacBook Pro falls within the description of the FAA’s recall, then their owners are not allowed to take their laptops with them as carryon luggage; nor are they allowed to pack it in their checked luggage.
However, this isn’t a blanket ban. As long as MacBook Pro owners have made one critical change to their laptops, they can take it as a carryon or checked baggage.
Focus on Lithium Ion Battery Dangers
MacBook Pros with lithium ion batteries that fall within the recall time frame are banned. They will not be allowed on planes. Period.
The lithium ion battery has a reputation for overheating and catching on fire. This has happened before on flights—thus, the ban. Lithium ion batteries powering other types of electronics have also caught fire.
Further, if a lithium ion battery has been damaged before the laptop’s owner tries to board a plane with it, the risk increases. The FAA has sent reminders to every U.S. airline that these laptops must not be allowed on board as carry-ons or cargo.
Are All MacBooks Banned?
This is where the confusion comes in. The FAA ban affects only those MacBook Pros powered by a lithium ion battery that is affected by a manufacturer’s recall.
If owners of MacBook Pros have had their lithium ion batteries replaced by other battery types, they will be able to take their laptops on their flights.
Because of the potential for confusion when owners of MacBook Pros try to board flights with their computers, it may be a good idea to take proof that they have replaced the original lithium ion batteries. If they do not, they may not be able to get their computers onto their flights.
Not a Blanket Ban
This is how the ban on certain battery types is not a “blanket” ban:
If the laptop contains the original lithium ion battery, it is banned
If the laptop’s battery has been changed to another type of battery, it can be taken onto any airline’s planes