The Dell flaming laptop battery fiasco is leaking into the consciousness of other countries as well and, specifically, into the hearts and minds of the folks at Qantas. The Down Under airline has issued a demand that passengers not bring Dell laptop batteries onboard under any circumstances.
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Dell users can carry their laptops on flights, but can’t use them unless the batteries are removed. Now that sounds like limited use to me. It also sounds like they’re not really addressing the problem, since the batteries are the problem whether they’re in the machine or not. Some reports have noted smoking batteries stashed in plastic bags in overhead bins; those batteries weren’t in use but sparked because of a change in air pressure or because of good old-fashioned degradation.
For its part, Dell has recalled thousands of laptop batteries and is working overtime on a solution. We suspect, however, that it’s not just Dell. An international aviation association is meeting soon to discuss the problem, and no doubt the folks from Dell as well as representatives from other notebook and battery manufacturers will be there.
For now, though, be warned: If you’re flying Qantas anytime soon, you might as well leave that laptop behind.