Hmm…not so good publicity for Samsung in the last few months. Batteries self combusting, exchange delays etc. While all this is being sorted out, the bigger question remains : how much risk does mobile devices pose as a fire hazard onboard aircrafts?
It will be best to know if devices, when switched off completely still pose any risk?
We have all read in a number of articles such as this that the lithium-ion battery of mobile phones ignited when crushed. It has been suggested that these batteries (which packs a lot of power) are volatile. It is said to burn at a temperature of ~1000°F. Enough to melt most material that you sit on in a plane we’d think. Fortunately we are told that what we sit on are fire retardent, so it means that an out of control fire is unlikely.
And it isn’t restricted to mobile device, remember hover boards? Airlines banned them too.
While statistics are hard to gather reliably, it does appear that incidents involving the ignition of such battery operated devices is quite frequent if we ask the aircraft crew. Though taken in the context of the sheer number of flights that run each and every day, perhaps the occurrence is still not as prevalent as it is hyped up to be.
Perhaps some preventive actions we can consider as travelers:
- Don’t use our computing devices while onboard. Yes this is hard for some we know.
- Keep our mobile devices in the carry-on bags. Not in your pocket, not seat pockets…
- Switch off the device(s) completely if not using. Not just on airplane mode.
In a world where travel is proletariatized, it will indeed be impossible to fully police the use of electronic devices onboard flights. It seems be to be an inherent human nature to defy rules. Let’s just hope there will be safer ways to use the litium-ion batteries.
At this time, authorities are not empowered to ban the use of any device unless there is a recall. But that has not stopped airlines from taking preemptive actions. That is a good thing, but hopefully we will not end up with restrictions instead.
Do you think airlines will restrict and perhaps even charge (no pun intended) you for bringing mobile devices aboard?