The U.S. government is urging the world airline community to ban large, personal electronic devices like laptops from checked luggage because of the potential for a catastrophic fire.
Money.com reports that the Federal Aviation Administration said in a paper filed recently with a U.N. agency that its tests show that when a laptop’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery overheats in close proximity to an aerosol spray can, it can cause an explosion capable of disabling an airliner’s fire suppression system. The fire could then rage unchecked, leading to “the loss of the aircraft,” the paper said.
The FAA has conducted 10 tests involving a fully-charged laptop packed in a suitcase. A heater was placed against the laptop’s battery to force it into “thermal runaway,” a condition in which the battery’s temperature continually rises.
In one test, an 8-ounce aerosol can of dry shampoo —which is permitted in checked baggage — was strapped to the laptop. There was a fire almost immediately and it grew rapidly. The aerosol can exploded within 40 seconds.
The test showed that because of the rapid progression of the fire, Halon gas fire suppressant systems used in airline cargo compartments would be unable to put out the fire before there was an explosion, the FAA said. The explosion might not be strong enough to structurally damage the plane, but it could damage the cargo compartment and allow the Halon to escape, the agency said. Then there would be nothing to prevent the fire from spreading.
Other tests of laptop batteries packed with potentially dangerous consumer goods that are permitted in checked baggage like nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol also resulted in large fires, although no explosions.
As a result, the paper recommends that passengers shouldn’t be allowed to pack large electronic devices in baggage unless they have specific approval from the airline. The paper says the European Safety Agency, the FAA’s counterpart in Europe; Airbus, one of the world’s largest makers of passenger airliners; the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Association, and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Association, which represents aircraft makers, concurred in the recommendation.
Since 2006, three cargo jets have been destroyed and four pilots killed by in-flight fires that investigators say were either started by batteries or made more severe by their proximity.
Jody Victor knows that for many, packing is their least favorite part of planning a vacation. That, and lugging an overstuffed suitcase behind that falls over, whose wheels don’t work properly only to arrive to the check in to find out their luggage is overweight and they have to pay a fee. On the other hand most vacations require a variety of clothes, from comfy, casual and even formal wear depending on the destination. Not to mention shoes and toiletries. Here is some information to help you with your travel packing.
Many vacations involve special sporting items like fishing rods and tackle, large camping gear, snorkeling and scuba gear and golf bags, to name a few, are going to be a hassle to get on a plane. These kinds of items are best shipped to your destination or even rented. Additionally if you feel your luggage is going to rack up extensive baggage fees, shipping the luggage to the hotel might be a better and easier option. Although not very elegant, if the vacation allows one could pack their clothes in bags less heavy bags than airplane worthy luggage and let a sturdy shipping box be the luggage.
An easy trick you can try is rolling rather than folding some of your clothing items. Undergarments, t-shirts and pants can all be carefully rolled to save space. Using airless bags or clothes compressors can also aid in maximizing space.
Packing less is the most straightforward way of saving weight and space. Though many of us normally wash an outfit after a single wearing, many items can be worn several times without washing. We aren’t exactly suggesting people wear dirty clothes, but that pair of jeans the button up worn over an undershirt can likely be warn again if you weren’t particularly active that day. An alternative would be making time to take advantage of either the hotel’s self-service laundry or a local laundromat. If you budget allows, check with the hotel about laundry services.
Another tip some will find less than ideal is to minimize personal care products. Even a hefty collection of travel sized items can take up a ton of space. Most hotels don’t have top of the line shampoo, conditioner and soap. But it’s probably not going to ruin your hair and skin to use their products.
Try a few of these ideas the next time the fight between your suitcase and wardrobe has you stressed out the week before you leave on vacation.
Tips for Gals – The Perfect Carry-on…
OK, ladies, you know this is true for most of you – traveling light is a challenge! A good rule to follow – every piece must be able to multitask. Limit your color palette, opt for solids or simple prints, and choose items that can be layered. And always look for wrinkle-free fabrics. Stick to these strategies and the list below, and you may never have to check a bag again.
- A basic dress will work wonders – Choose a solid color that can transition easily from day to night and will coordinate with other items in your wardrobe.
- Three pairs of pants is all you need – Denim can be dressed up or down – especially darker washes. Black pants are another travel staple. They go with almost everything, and they don’t get as dirty as other colors. And why not take your yoga pants beyond the studio – when paired with a cardigan, knit top, and ballet flats, they can be worn during the day.
- Top it off – Bring a stylish top – it’s a quick way to create a chic outfit. You can also layer it under a cardigan for a more casual daytime look.
- Stock up on simple long- and short-sleeved T’s – They’re great basics that can be layered under almost anything or worn on their own.
- You can’t go wrong with a white shirt – A simple button-down works anywhere – on a gallery visit or for a night on the town.
- Accessorize – Have fun with your jewelry, which doesn’t take up much space, yet makes every outfit seem new. Also, don’t’ underestimate the value of a belt. Just as jewelry will spice up an outfit, it can create a new look.
- Limit yourself to three pairs of shoes – That’s it: a pair of flats, sensible heels to go out at night, and athletic shoes for exercise and pounding the pavement.
- Embrace a cardigan – It can help transform an outfit. Lightweight knit cashmere travels best. A shawl will work, too. You can wear it on the plane, and it can be used as an evening wrap or accent piece.
- And lastly, don’t let your suitcase weigh you down – Make sure your bag is light enough to lift into the overhead.
From khakis and pullovers to aftershave and vests, here are some tips for men to get maximum efficiency out of a carry-on bag…
When it comes to an urban travel wardrobe, men are lucky – they can get away with a basic uniform, built around a button-down shirt, jeans or khakis, and a sweater or blazer. Follow these suggestions for easier packing and less travel stress.
- Wrinkle-free fabrics do matter – A number of companies are reinventing the classic button-down in high-tech fabrics that repel stains and creases.
- Wear your blazer – A sport jacket in a dark color works in every situation, from the airplane to dinner at the restaurant.
- Pile on the layers – A basic pullover is a travel staple. Pair it with a collared shirt and tie for a polished nighttime look; a T-shirt works during the day. Vests are also great for layering. They’re an easy add-on and very much in style this season. Go for a lighter weight, as it will travel best.
- Two pairs of pants will do the job – Pack khakis and black trousers, which can be laundered as you go.
- Jeans will go the distance – Dark-washed denim travels well.
- Put your best foot forward – Look for walking shoes or dark sneakers that are smart enough to wear out at night, but also comfortable for sightseeing.
- Protect your clothing from spills – Ensure that your Dopp kit will actually keep liquids contained if something leaks. (If not, use plastic zipper bags.) Another idea to keep your bag light : bring grooming products that multitask. Many shower gels on the market double as shampoo and face wash. And instead of shaving cream, try an oil – it eliminates the need for aftershave lotion.
- Make sure your carry-on can be carried on – Check the airline’s website for size and weight requirements, which can vary.
How can you best prepare for your next trip? Follow these eight simple steps for hassle-free departures…
We’ve all had to pack for a trip. But have you ever started packing and found your luggage broken? Got settled in the plane and realized you forgot your medication? Got to your destination and wanted to take a picture – but left your camera at home? If you follow these simple steps you’ll takeoff and arrive with no worries.
One week before takeoff:
Air out your bags before you pack. Check handles, straps and hinges for possible repair. And next time you put luggage away, leave some small lavender sachets in each bag to keep it smelling nice.
Stock up on storage bags for small items. Zipper bags work well and come in a variety of sizes. There are many commercial bags online, in magazines and catalogues, and at your local department store, that can help you stay organized, and keep soiled or wet clothing from the rest in your suitcase.
Three days before takeoff:
Get your gadgets in order. Empty memory cards and charge your phone and camera. Consolidate power cords, chargers, and extra batteries in your carry-on (new DOT regulations prohibit putting them in checked luggage).
Refill necessary prescriptions. Bring medications with you on the plane; make sure they are properly labeled according to TSA requirements.
Copy important documents. Carry paper duplicates of your passport, visa, and itinerary, and e-mail yourself electronic copies. With a password-protected itinerary on Google Docs, close friends and family can keep track of where you are.
Pare down your travel wallet. Only bring essential documents: driver’s license, medical insurance cards, passport, and credit cards. Alert your bank and credit card companies before you depart, so that they won’t be alarmed by out-of-town charges and ATM withdrawals.
One day before takeoff:
Record the contents of your suitcase. Take pictures of your clothes, shoes, and jewelry, which will serve as documentaion if your bag is lost or stolen. Download the shots onto your home computer, just in case.