A pilot holding the award-winning AvSax fire containment bag A pilot holding the award-winning AvSax fire containment bag

Official report shows how fire containment bags are being used in action on board planes

Fire containment bags are being increasingly used on aircraft to deal with fires in small electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones and even e-cigarettes.

The Federal Aviation Administration in the USA has revealed details about fires on planes and at airports that have happened so far this year which brings the tally of such fires to 265 recorded by them since March 20, 1991. It is thought there were many more incidents worldwide.

Once a burning device is sealed within a fire containment bag such as an AvSax then the flight can often continue, saving the need to make costly and disruptive diversions and emergency landings.

AvSax are now on more than 15,373 aircraft operated by 75 airline companies across the world – including some of the biggest and best-known. 

AvSax  – which won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2018 - has been used 31 times to deal with emergencies since the start of 2017.

Here are some incidents where fire containment bags – including some AvSax - have been used so far this year.

*During a flight to Houston in Texas a passenger’s phone became lodged in their seat while they were sleeping and they woke to find the phone smoking. The phone was placed in a containment bag and then returned to the passenger upon arrival in Houston.

*Around 7 hours into a flight from London to Charlotte in North Carolina a bag in the overhead compartment began to smoke. It was removed and extinguished. The source appeared to be an e-cigarette which was placed in a containment bag.

*A battery pack plugged into a passenger’s tablet caught fire on a flight from Japan to Portland in Oregon. It was extinguished and placed in a containment bag.

*On a flight from Manchester to Newark a passenger reported an e-cigarette overheating which had begun to smoke. It was placed in a containment bag.

*During a flight to Cleveland in Ohio a passenger gave the flight attendant a mobile phone battery charger that was hot and had begun to smoke. The device was placed in the on-board fire containment bag.

*On a flight from Madrid in Spain to Newark in New Jersey a passenger dropped their mobile phone and smoke then started to seep from it. The phone was placed in a fire containment bag and the smoke stopped.

*Just before take-off on a flight from Tucson, Arizona, to Salt Lake City in Utah a passenger told the flight attendant that a battery pack/charger in his carry-on bag was overheating. The flight attendant placed the device in a containment bag and the plane returned to the gate to remove the device.