Tests have shown just how quickly luggage can be destroyed in an explosion caused by a faulty lithium-ion battery … and potentially bring down a passenger plane.

Airline passengers are now being urged to carry all their small electronic devices such as laptops and mobile phones into the cabin with them … not in their luggage that goes in the hold.

The reason is that if the battery becomes faulty in the hold and is packed next to something potentially explosive such as a can of hairspray or even a can of dry shampoo it could cause an explosion and fire leading to disastrous consequences for the plane.

Anyone in doubt only needs to watch this video showing how quickly luggage can catch fire and explode.

The tests were carried out by the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA.

According to online technology magazine Wired: “The resulting fires and explosions were large enough for the FAA to warn there’s a risk they could overwhelm the on-board fire suppression systems of planes which flood the hold with inert halon gas. And if shrapnel from the explosion punctures the skin of the plane all the halon can escape, leaving the blaze to burn unchecked.

“In separate tests, the FAA also experimented with a galley cart which airlines might use to store large numbers of in-flight-entertainment tablets together. If a device there catches fire and spreads the resulting bang is dramatic, and potentially deadly.”

To watch the video and for more on this story go to https://www.wired.com/story/these-explosions-show-why-the-faa-doesnt-want-laptops-in-luggage/

* AvSax fire containment bags are now on board several major airlines worldwide and were deployed 27 times in 2017.

If an electronic device starts to seriously overheat or emit smoke the cabin crew will pour at least two litres of water into an AvSax. It is imperative to first knock down the flames from the device using an on board halon fire extinguisher, then transfer the device into AvSax before it reignites. Additional water is then required. The water activates the polymer gel inside the bag causing it to expand around the device. Should the device keep on venting then the AvSax is tough enough to absorb the energy.

The AvSax cools the batteries in the device, reducing the likelihood of the battery igniting but if it does go into thermal runaway it is all contained within the bag.

Amazingly, the water is absorbed into the internal lining of the bag so the device is dry when it is removed.