We're used to airlines overreacting when it comes to safety and security issues the past few years, so it wasn't a huge surprise when Virgin Atlantic opted to ban certain laptops, namely any Dell and Apple models, from being used in-flight. Exclusions were made if the battery was removed and in-flight power was provided. They are easing up their restrictions somewhat, allowing people to use them during the flight, with a catch: A member of the crew must inspect the serial number on the unit first. A novel idea, for sure, and one that could safely allow unaffected laptops to be used, one can't help but wonder how annoying it must be for the crew to now have to check a list of approved serial numbers. Regardless, they are willing to do it:
In a new update on its site, however, Virgin Atlantic has said that passengers "wishing to use an Apple or Dell laptop on board can only do so once the laptop serial number has been checked by a member of the cabin crew."
Either way, it serves several good purposes. Not only do unaffected people get to use their laptops uninhibited, but people who do have affected units that may not be aware of it will now know. What more of a wake up call is there than, "Sorry sir, you can't use this battery because it may explode."