MacBook Flight Ban: Everything You Need To Know

23 September 2019

If you're an Apple user, you might have heard about the ban on certain MacBook Pro models that many airlines have put in place. The ban doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s only becoming more widespread. So if you own a MacBook, and are  planning on flying any time soon, it's time to listen up.

Q: What is the MacBook Pro ban all about?

In June 2019, Apple announced a recall for certain MacBook Pro 15-inch models. This was due to a problem with the battery, which caused it to overheat and pose a fire hazard. Understandably, airlines were concerned about possible fires, and have started to ban people from bringing MacBooks on board.

Q: Which Apple MacBooks are banned?

Certain MacBook Pro 15-inch laptops sold between September 2015 and February 2017 may be affected. To check if yours is affected, you can enter your MacBook serial number on to Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Recall Programme website here. To find your serial number, simply click on the Apple icon on your desktop and select ‘About this Mac’.

Q: What do I do if my MacBook is affected?

Even if you’re not planning on flying with your MacBook Pro, it’s a good idea to get the battery issue fixed sooner rather than later. First off, stop using your MacBook immediately. Then take it to your nearest Apple Authorised Service Provider or Apple Store where they will replace the battery for free.

Q: Which Airlines have banned the MacBook?

The list of airlines that have banned the MacBook is growing. Some airlines are only allowing them to be brought on board as carry-on, while others aren’t allowing them on board at all. At present, all major US airlines, Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, TUI Group Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Air Italy, and Emirates won’t allow MacBooks on board. While Qantas and Etihad require them to be brought on as hand luggage, and remain switched off at all times. If you need to travel with your MacBook Pro, it’s a good idea to call your airline to find out their policy ahead of time.

Q: I have a different model MacBook, can I fly with it?

This is a tricky one. Some airlines have banned all MacBooks just to be on the safe side, while others have simply made bringing on them on board quite a hassle. Since all MacBooks will need to be checked before you board, you’ll probably be delayed, and in some cases not allowed to bring your MacBook on board at all.

Q: What’s the best plan of action for travel going forward?

The simplest (but maybe not the most convenient answer) is to not bring your MacBook along on your trip. But for those of you travelling on business who don’t have a back-up laptop, this probably won’t work for you. If you do need to travel with an affected MacBook Pro, then make sure the battery has been replaced by Apple (be sure to bring the receipt to the airport as proof). Replacing your battery could take a few weeks, so try to get this done well before your scheduled flight. Be sure to contact your airline to find out their exact policy on the ban, and follow the rules correctly.