Lost your phone? Don’t move your seat!

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A new passenger safety video released by Air France addresses the issue of cabin fires, telling passengers not to recline their seat if they lose their phone.

The warning, shown at 3:20, comes after a spate of cabin fires caused by passengers’ phones, spare batteries and iPads being crushed after falling down the side of their seats.

One incident on an Air France Boeing 777 resulted in French safety authorities recommending to the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) to evaluate the fire risks associated with batteries in personal electronic devices (PEDs).

PEDs, like smartphones, cameras and computers, are widely used by the travelling public, yet many don’t fully appreciate or understand the danger around the batteries powering these devices.

Batteries, particularly of the rechargeable lithium-ion variety, are prone to overheating and short-circuiting that can lead to thermal runway and fire.

A photo from the report showing where the spare battery had fallen before it was crushed. Image: Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses
A photo from the report showing where the spare battery had fallen before it was crushed. Image: Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses

Passengers aboard a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Bangkok witnessed this very occurrence over the weekend, after a lithium battery caught fire in a passenger’s carry-on luggage. The incident went onto to make global headlines.

Flight Safety Australia reported another incident last year when short-circuiting led to a fire in the cargo hold of a Boeing 737 moments before passengers boarded a flight from Melbourne to Fiji.

The fire was confined to one case, which was later found to have contained more than eight lithium batteries. It’s for this reason that spare batteries—regardless of size—are prohibited from checked baggage.

The new safety warning to passengers from Air France will only add to the long list of such warnings already facing travellers around carrying lithium batteries safely.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia has produced various safety materials to help guide travellers carry batteries safely, including a new multi-platform app and a YouTube video showing what could happen if you pack spare batteries into your checked luggage.

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