Traveller issues warning after device 'on fire' – flying with this item could risk lives

Passengers travelling on a recent British Airways flight faced potential danger after one traveller’s electronic tablet is reported to have “got on fire” sending smoke into the cabin. The incident happened as the flight was coming into land at London’s Heathrow airport. Formula E World Champion Lucas di Grassi took to Twitter to document the situation, and urge passengers to consider safety when travelling with their electronic devices.

The British air carrier responded to the video commending its staff for their fast work.

A spokesperson for the airline tweeted: “You’re definitely right Lucas, I’m glad to hear the staff were able to assist.”

However, the airline also disputes that the device set on fire, instead reporting that just a small amount of smoke was released into the cabin. 

Speaking to a BA spokesperson said: “Our cabin crew are trained to deal with situations like this and the flight continued as planned and landed as normal.”

So, how exactly did this situation occur?

It turns out, while Lithium batteries are excellent power sources for smaller devices, they are also extremely fragile.

The contents of Lithium batteries are constantly under pressure, part of why they work the way they do.

If something punctures a partition that keeps the internal components separate, or the battery is punctured, the lithium reacts with water in the air generating high heat and occasionally causing a fire.

How to stay safe with electronic devices while travelling

Electronic devices are a crucial part of many people’s day-to-day life, particularly when it comes to mobile phones and laptops for work.

While travelling with these devices does not need to be ruled out completely, passengers can do their bit by ensuring they stay safe with their electronics.

Users should try to ensure devices don’t get hot. Avoid covering devices with blankets or keeping them in warm places, such as pockets or overstuffed compartments.

Travellers should also try their best not to keep all items containing lithium-ion batteries together.

While this is largely unavoidable when travelling due to hand luggage restrictions, passengers can try and keep items spaced out within their bags.

Finally, try not to overcharge batteries where possible.

Not only can over-charging lithium batteries increase the risk of malfunction, allowing them to become completely depleted prior to recharge can also have a similar negative effect.


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