Just days after the FAA issued a strong warning about the risk of unstoppable fires from lithium battery shipments, an Alaska Airlines passenger flight from Newark to Seattle made an emergency landing in Buffalo after a credit card reader, used as the point of sale for onboard purchases of food and drink, began to overheat and smoke in the cabin of the aircraft. The card reader, which was powered by a lithium-ion battery, was a new device recently introduced on Alaska aircraft.
A statement released by the airline after the October incident said, “while there were no flames at any point during the flight, the flight crew used a fire extinguisher to stop the device from smoking while the captain made arrangements for an emergency landing in Buffalo, New York.” Alaska Airlines has now removed all of its electronic credit card Readers from its fleet for inspection as a result of the incident, according to local news media.
The FAA has been warning airlines about the possible danger from lithium-ion batteries, a number of which have over-heated and created fires on board aeroplanes, primarily in the cargo compartments. These incidents have prompted the FAA to back a proposed international ban of the batteries carried as cargo on all passenger airlines