Virgin Atlantic announced new restrictions on all Apple and Dell laptops Friday, forbidding all laptop battery use in-flight. The carrier will allow Apple and Dell laptops to be used in seats where the computers can be plugged into "In Seat Power Supplies," but batteries must be taken out of the laptops and stowed in carry-on luggage.
"As a result of the current problems being experienced by the Apple and Dell Corporations with some of the batteries fitted to some of their laptops," the company said on its Latest News Web page, "as a safety precaution and with immediate effect, customers wanting to use an Apple or Dell laptop on board can only do so if the battery is removed. Any removed or spare batteries must be individually wrapped/protected and placed in your Carry On Baggage. This is limited to two batteries per passenger."
The company will provide power leads and adapters to passengers, "in cabins where the seats are fitted with In Seat Power Supplies. [...] Where no ISPS is provided or no laptop leads/adapters are available, the use of Apple and Dell laptops is prohibited."
The limitation comes in response to a battery recall by both Apple and Dell of several million laptop batteries manufactured by Sony. Apple itself recalled some 1.1 million batteries, while Dell recalled more than 4 million.
It should be noted that though the recall affected only a very small percentage of all the Macintosh and Dell laptops on the market, Virgin Atlanticis ban is across the board, whether or not the Apple or Dell model was included in the recall.
In the statement, Virgin said it is in communication with both Apple and Dell. "As soon as this safety issue is resolved these restrictions will be lifted," the company said.