Airlines adding “fire containment” bags

Maybe it’s a step in the right direction, a down payment on paying it forward or an example of smart preparation, but some are saying the recent decision by major airlines to include so-called “fire containment” bags actually makes passengers feel less safe.

The idea behind the small fire containment bags is not a bad one. After a slew of headlines about exploding cell phones, mobile device owners – which is pretty much anyone these days – are all wondering if they will be next.

This fear has motivated at least three major U.S.-based airlines to add what they are calling new fire suppression equipment to their aircraft. The AP is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration has taken the step of warning passengers not to charge their devices on the plane and definitely not to stow them in checked luggage.

Alaska Airlines led the way in adding the fire-containment bags, a preventative measure they could tout as a consideration of passenger service and protection. Virgin followed suit, and Delta recently announced it would be adding the suppression bags as well. But AK Air and their compatriots must walk a fine line between patting themselves on the back and giving their passengers something else to worry about.

It’s no secret that there are really two kinds of air travel passengers, those for whom flying is no big deal and those who are, at least on some level, relatively convinced the plane is going down at any minute.

The bags are not foolproof, but they could be of service. Nothing incites panic on an airplane quite like fire. And, with the concerns about flaming and exploding cell phones, it’s likely passengers are wary. To that end, these bags could be a benefit.

But for those who just don’t want to have something else to worry about while flying, the bags could provide something else to keep them out of the sky. Just the thought of an exploding cell phone on a flight could be enough to keep some passengers on the ground.

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