Amidst all the excitement from the Apple announcements, SriLankan Airlines recently banned MacBook Pros. Specifically, ones that were sold between September 2015 and February 2017. According to Apple, a number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pros have been recalled as the battery may have overheating issues and could pose a fire safety risk.
As such, SriLankan Airlines is requesting all passengers to verify with Apple if their particular Macbook Pro is affected by the recall. Upon check-in, passengers would be asked to produce proof that the battery has been replaced. If unverified, the devices will not be allowed in as checked-in or carry-on luggage.
Back in June, Apple announced the recall for the particular MacBook Pro models due to faulty batteries. The company agreed to replace the batteries free of charge on eligible laptops. In case you would like to verify, you would first need to check if you have a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) device, via “About This Mac” on the Apple menu. If so, you can submit your serial number to verify if your device is eligible for the recall program.
But SriLankan Airlines is only one of the latest airline carriers to ban the faulty Macbook Pro model. Two months after Apple’s announcement, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned the laptops from flights departing the US. While the FAA’s powers are officially only limited to the US, it’s voice is influential in the global aviation industry. Hence, following the FAA’s ban, airline companies like Qantas, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines have all proceeded to enforce the ban as well.
It might have taken SriLankan almost 3 months to ban the faulty laptops. But other major airline carriers have also taken up a similar timeframe. For example, major players like Qantas, Etihad, Virgin Australia, and Singapore Airlines have banned the faulty MacBook Pros only in late August. Emirates enforced the ban just a few days before SriLankan Airlines did. By the looks of it, more carriers might follow suit.
This isn’t an isolated incident
Unfortunately, this has been a problem Apple had to deal with more frequently now. On the 22nd of June 2018, Apple announced a free keyboard repair program owing to the butterfly-switch keyboard on their newer laptops. Merely a few days later, on June 27th, the company offered free battery replacements for faulty 13-inch MacBook Pros as “a component may fail causing the built-in battery to expand”. This only affected devices manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017.
It doesn’t end there. In November of the same year, Apple announced a Solid State Drive (SSD) replacement program. It cited that certain 13-inch MacBook Pro models had issues “that may result in data loss and failure of the drive”.
In March 2019, Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about the entire issue on a faulty MacBook Pro keyboard. The following May 21st, the tech giant expanded its repair program. The same day Apple also announced another repair program, and this one was to address the “flexgate” issue. This was where 13-inch MacBook Pro models from 2016 had issues with the backlight.
Then of course on June 20th, the faulty battery problem with some of the 15-inch MacBook Pro models.
Check your MacBook Pro before getting on a flight
Fortunately, there are no reported cases of MacBook Pros catching on fire, exploding or anything of the sort. So thankfully it didn’t come to a Samsung Note 7 situation. But it goes to show that Apple’s high-end laptops have been having its fair share of issues since of late.
Even more problematic is how much time it takes for Apple to address these issues. Flexgate took about 5 months for the company to address. Apple took a year and a half to fix the butterfly-switch keyboard problems comprehensively. It has come to a point where there’s a big question mark around the production quality of Apple products, at least in the case of their expensive laptops. “I love Apple because it just works” might not be valid anymore.
Either way, if you’re getting on board on SriLankan Airlines or any other flight for that matter, do make sure your 15-inch MacBook Pro doesn’t have any battery issues.