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Here is a warning message (unconfirmed and untested by myself) I just
received which I thought I might pass on to help prevent verbal pollution
from people discovering their laptops are malfunctioning during
Warning for international air travelers
Laptop Computers on international Airplanes:
Recently, two individuals from USPL were traveling to Belgium on Sabena
Belgium World Airlines, which is affiliated with Delta Airlines. They were
seated in row 6 of the plane where seats contain the tray tables in the
armrest section of the seat. They setup their tray tables and proceeded to
use their laptop computers. During the flight, both their PCs began
experience problems, and soon they were unable to use their PCs.
Apparently the tray tables were magnetized, so that tray tables will not
make noises while stored in the armrests. The magnetized trays corrupted
the hard drives of both laptops. On this particular Belgium flight, the
aircraft happen to be a "new" Airbus 340, which explains why this has not
surfaced until now.
The problem seems to be with a specific European aircraft seat
manufacturer. US Airways, Northwestern and United have no plans to utilize
these magnetized trays in their new Airbus aircraft. Boeing and McDonald
Douglas also have no plans to use these magnetized trays in their new
aircraft, and there have been no reported cases of other types of aircraft
experiencing this problem.
The purpose of this notice is to simply make travelers aware of the
"potential" problem, especially on Airbus aircraft built for European-based
airlines. If the tray table appears to be magnetized (use a paper clip to
see if it sticks), then I advise people not to use their laptop computer on
these trays. Please pass this advisory on to your international travelers.
The INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION - IATA"