Virgin drops laptop ban

The airline has eased its ban on the use of Apple and Dell laptops, but Sony batteries may still not be used

Virgin Atlantic has lifted its total ban on the in-flight use of batteries for any Apple or Dell laptop.

The airline recently banned the onboard use of Apple and Dell laptops if the batteries were not removed, following last month's recall of more than five million batteries from the computer makers. The decision followed similar restrictions by Qantas and Korean Air.

However, in the latest update on its site 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".

Only a small portion of the computer makers' laptops are affected by the faulty batteries — made by Sony — which both Dell and Apple have claimed could overheat and catch fire.

The airline said if the battery was permitted for use, the laptop could be used as normal without further restrictions.

If the battery comes from the affected batch as identified by Apple and Dell it must be removed.

"In cabins where the seats are fitted with In Seat Power Supplies (ISPS), leads/adaptors will be offered," the airline said. "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."

In cases where no ISPS was provided the use of the affected Dell or Apple laptop was strictly prohibited.

Virgin Atlantic said the restrictions would be lifted as soon as the safety issues were resolved.