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Kim’s Opinion: Never pack a laptop in checked baggage

There’s a potentially lethal item you’re likely to carry with you as you head out to what’s left of summer vacation.

As you pack, remember this: For the safety of everyone, never pack your laptop in checked baggage.

Here’s why. We all remember the videos from a few year ago, during the hoverboard craze, showing devastating fires and injuries caused by exploding lithium-ion batteries. Aviation safety experts believed that if a single lithium-ion battery powered device exploded, in the passenger aircraft cargo hold, the fire would be knocked down by the plane’s fire suppression systems.

But the latest research shows that, if a lithium-ion battery, like the ones that power all laptops, catches fire, and the fire also causes, say – a can of packed hairspray to explode, the aircraft’s systems could be overwhelmed, and the fire could be enough to literally bring the plane down.

These findings are new, and the FAA has not issued formal guidelines. Until they do, play it safe. Do not pack any lithium-ion devices in checked luggage.

Hear Kim talk about the dangers of laptops in luggage:

Find more of Kim’s podcasts at PodcastK.

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