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Qantas clamps down on fire-breathing Dells

Orders pre-flight battery removal

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Australian airline Qantas has issued guidelines to those passengers taking their lives into their hands by powering up a Dell laptop with a potentially fire-breathing battery while on board.

The company has declared that "although passengers would be allowed to carry their Dells either as checked or cabin baggage, they could only use them on battery power or through the aircraft power supply available in some first and business class cabins once they have first removed the batteries from the unit", The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) explains.

The measures are in accordance with Dell's own advice issued to users such as tech consultant Mitch Denny, who travelled from Canberra on Monday and told the SMH that he'd found "security personnel removing the batteries from all Dell computers, and taping up the contact points on the battery".

Denny elaborated: "They stopped me at the security gate where I was told I couldn't use my Dell laptop on the plane. I told them it wasn't one of the affected units, but they said all Dell batteries had to be taped according to an agreement between Dell and Qantas."

Qantas was unable to say how long Dell users will be subjected to this humiliation, but a spokesman noted: "We are closely monitoring the situation as Dell's retrofit program progresses." ®

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