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Apple Recall for Unsafe MacBook Pro Batteries  

 

Note: This guidance was created specifically for the Apple Recall of specific MacBook Pros; however, much of the guidance on the page is applicable to ANY Recalled Lithium Battery or Lithium Battery Powered Device.

 

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Background:

In July 2019, Apple had determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch and 13-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. Affected units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 for the 15-inch models and between October 2016 to October 2017 for the 13-inch. Product eligibility is determined by the product serial number.

 

Because of this recall, all affected MacBook Pros became banned from flying because of an existing FAA ban on recalled Lithium Batteries and Lithium Battery Powered Devices

 

Shortly after the announced recall, the FAA released the following statement reittering their position on recalled batteries:

“   The FAA is aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops. In early July, we alerted airlines about the recall, and we informed the public. We issued reminders to continue to follow instructions about recalls outlined in the 2016 FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 16011, and provided information provided to the public on FAA’s Packsafe website: https://www.faa.gov/hazmat/packsafe/   

 

Enforcement Difficulties:

 

If your laptop is affected, then you can recieve a free battery replacement from Apple and your laptop will no longer be banned from flying.

 

Exerpt from FAA Safety Alert Message Air Transport Restrictions for Recalled Lithium Batteries and Lithium Battery Powered Devices:  

“   Repaired and Replaced Devices. Recalled lithium battery powered devices that have been repaired or have had battery components replaced as required by the recall notice are not subject to the restrictions on recalled lithium batteries. It should be noted that it is often difficult to distinguish products that are subject to a recall from those that are not. Many product recalls only affect certain batches of serial numbers of the same product model. Other recalled products carried by passengers or shipped as cargo may have already been repaired or had the defective lithium batteries replaced. Therefore, active screening methods at the point of acceptance or check-in may be difficult.   

 

The issue with enforcement of this ban is that the FAA will not be able to distinguish a Good MacBook from a Bad Macbook without running serial numbers through the Apple recall pages for their 13-inch and 15-inch models. 

 

 

Recommendation:

We recommend that if you wish to fly with an Apple MacBook that has been identified by Apple as requiring a battery replacement (links provided under "Resources" on this page), then please schedule an appointment with Apple to receive a new battery at no cost to you and retain the documentation that the battery replacement occurred so you can present to the FAA screeners if you are challenged.

 

If you own a MacBook that is NOT affected by the recall, then we suggest that you go to the Battery Recall Page for your model and run a serial number check and print out the confirmation page that your specific laptop is not one of the affected laptops and keep it on hand when you fly.

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Resources:

 

FAA Safety Alert: Air Transport Restrictions for Recalled Lithium Batteries and Lithium Battery Powered Devices

FAA's "Packsafe" Page

Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Recall Program Page

Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro Battery Recall Program Page