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The regulations on what passengers should do with their personal electronic devices have seen quite an evolution over the last year. In March 2017, the US banned all electronic devices larger than a cell phone on flights from certain airports in the Middle East and Africa. Thankfully, that rule was replaced by new security procedures in July 2017.
Then in October, the FAA swung in a different direction entirely, suggesting all large electronics should be banned from checked luggage. Airlines responded to that by banning certain smart luggage from their flights, both as checked baggage and as carry-on baggage. Now, in order to check smart luggage on a number of US airlines, you need to remove the power bank.
And, there’s a good reason for these regulations — these power banks can create quite the explosion when damaged. The resulting fire is a lot easier to handle in the cabin than in the cargo hold.
On Sunday morning, we got yet another example of why it’s best to have power banks — and other batteries — in the aircraft cabin rather than in the cargo hold. Video has emerged of a power bank catching fire in a passenger’s carry-on bag on a China Southern flight:
Thankfully, the flight from Guangzhou (CAN) to Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) was still on the ground at the time, and the fire was quickly extinguished by the crew. The flight was delayed three hours while a replacement aircraft was found.
While this situation ended well, there are concerns about how the flight attendant used a bottle of water and then a bottle of juice to rather haphazardly put out the fire. Undoubtedly the aircraft was equipped with proper fire extinguishing equipment, which should have been no further away than the bottles of water and juice used to extinguish the fire.
As another commenter pointed out, once a battery is damaged, it can relight later on.
Hopefully China Southern and crews worldwide will use this situation as a training reminder on the proper way to extinguish an on-board fire.
H/T: One Mile at a Time
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