A big part of flying is pulling out your laptop, firing it up, and pretending that you are all busy and important. Potential new regulations from the National Transport Safety Board could put a serious kink in that plan. The NTSB has held hearings on the transport and handling of battery powered devices on commercial flights.
The move comes after as many as 60 incidents recorded by the FAA since 1999. On May 15 of this year, a laptop caught fire in an overhead bin on a flight leaving Chicago. Earlier, a cargo flight caught fire in February in Philadelphia and a shipment of batteries is blamed. In 2004, a battery on a TV camera exploded on John Edwards’ campaign plane.
Given the stats, there is about a 1 in 4.2 million chance of a laptop creating a problem, but given the current airplane paranoia, that may not matter.