Airlines have begun 'recommending' fliers to not keep PEDs (Personal Electronic Devices) in their check-in baggage so as to avert any unfortunate event of a device's battery catching fire in a plane's luggage trunk, according to a Times of India report.
This development comes after frequent fire scares on flights. On November 11, a laptop on an Indigo flight caught fire due to faulty battery. In October, a phone caught fire mid-air in a Delhi-Indore flight.
Wheels in motion
Jet Airways has prohibited passengers from carrying smart luggage, which include devices with non-removable batteries, on its aircraft from January 15. The move effective from January 15 comes after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) banned any such baggage on a passenger aircraft across the world.
The DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is reluctant to any rule to the effect as yet since no leading aviation regulator has done so, the ToI reported. They are likely to follow suit once a top airline mandates a rule.
However, battery chargers and power banks are not allowed in check-in bags already.
Fire hazard on planes:
The ICAO, a Canada-based UN organisation will set up a research on the risk of fires from laptops. However, concern that lithium batteries pose a fire hazard on planes is not new.
There have been studies on the risk of fires on planes posed by lithium batteries going back years. In 2015 US airlines banned hoverboards from their planes due to concerns about the fire risk posed by their lithium batteries.
If the lithium-ion battery inside a laptop heats up too much inside the checked baggage compartment of a plane, it has the potential to start a fire, according to reported tests conducted by the US Federal Aviation Administration. If that fire spreads to, say, a can of dry shampoo, the can might explode.