Ryanair has released a new on-board safety announcement with an odd inclusion.
It now asks passengers to alert staff if their tech devices indicate they’re overheated.
Cabin crew are telling customers that this is a more important safety message than lifejackets, reports the Mirror.
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The budget airline has added new vital information to its normal pre-flight safety message to passengers.
After the familiar part about oxygen masks, ditching in the sea and how to use your lifejacket, you’ll now hear the crew warning passengers to alert crew immediately if their electronic device such as an iPad, mobile phone or laptop starts to overheat, or people lose them in their seats.
“If your device or its battery is damaged, hot, produces smoke, is lost or falls into the seat structure then please inform the cabin crew immediately," the flight attendants are now saying.
The message is an important one and stands in contrast to the life jacket insights, which have really needed to be brought into action.
One of the only times that advice was needed was in 2009 when a US Airways flight made an emergency ditching on the Hudson River in New York after the plane hit a flock of large Canadian geese and lost all power.
There were 150 people on board, but only 33 grabbed their lifejackets and just four put them on properly.
More important is the risk of fire on an aircraft, which is what this Ryanair warning is all about.
All personal electronic devices are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and with passengers taking mobile phones, laptops and iPads on board there are hundreds on every flight.
The trouble is many people buy cheap batteries and chargers on the internet, not covered by safety standards, so there is always the danger they can catch fire in a frighteningly quick process called thermal runaway.
This happens when one cell in a battery warms up and produces enough heat – up to 900°C – to cause adjacent cells to overheat.
This can cause a lithium battery fire to flare repeatedly and, because they burn at such a high temperature, they are very difficult to put out.
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The organisation covering flight safety in the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority, says a fire caused by a lithium battery could cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft and even bring it down.
It warns: “Poor quality or counterfeit batteries have been the cause of fires on board aircraft. In recent years we’ve seen a growing number of fire incidents involving lithium batteries which have the potential to lead to the loss of an aircraft.
"All types of batteries must pass stringent tests. Batteries which are not tested such as counterfeit batteries pose a significant risk to flight safety.”
Also, if personal electronic devices are lost down seats they can become crushed in the mechanism, which could well cause the device to go into thermal runaway, setting fire to the seat.
The CAA adds: “Any fire on board an aircraft, particularly one involving lithium batteries, has the potential to be catastrophic.
"There have been occasions where incidents involving lithium batteries have occurred in the passenger cabin.
"Prompt actions of cabin crew and subsequent actions by the flight crew can avoid an inflight fire becoming uncontrollable with potentially disastrous consequences.
"Therefore, it is important the cabin crew respond quickly.”
Each airline company has its own procedure for dealing with the danger, but the one preferred by the CAA is to use specialist battery fire containment bags as they are designed to deal with the problem in seconds.
The organisation warns that these so-called burn bags must be able to both cool and contain the device.
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