Some airlines are taking extra steps to prevent a disaster in case a passenger’s device powered by a lithium ion battery catches fire during flight.
At least three U.S. airlines are adding new fire-suppression equipment to fleets in case a cellphone or laptop battery overheats, catches on fire and can’t be extinguished.
The issue has taken on new urgency following incidents of overheating Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones, including one on a Southwest Airlines flight earlier this month.
The Federal Aviation Administration has taken the unusual step of warning passengers not to use or charge the devices while on board and not to stow them in checked luggage.
The first airline to deploy fire-containment bags on its entire fleet was Alaska Airlines. The Seattle-based airline finished adding them to its 219 planes in May, a process that took two months from concept to deployment.
The bright red bags are made of a fire-resistant material and are designed to hold electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops that can sometimes overheat and catch fire. The bags can be shut with Velcro and heavy-duty zippers and can withstand temperatures up to 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The sell for $1,800 each but airlines are likely to have negotiated a bulk discount. More info