US approves Dreamliner battery fix


A Boeing plan to redesign the 787 Dreamliner's fire-plagued lithium-ion batteries has been approved by America's aviation authority, but there was no word on when the planes would be allowed to fly passengers again.

The 787 fleet has been grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and civil aviation authorities in other countries since January 16, following a battery fire on a Dreamliner parked in Boston and a smoking battery that led to the emergency landing of another 787 in Japan.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
The 787 is Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced plane. Its grounding marked the first time since 1979 that the FAA had ordered every plane of a particular type to stay out of the air for safety reasons.

The Boeing plan includes changes to the internal battery components to minimise the possibility of short-circuiting, which can lead to overheating and cause a fire. Among the changes are better insulation of the battery's eight cells and the addition of a new containment and venting system, the FAA said in a statement.

Congressman Rick Larsen, who was briefed by the agency, said that if all goes well, the FAA could give final approval by mid- to late April for the 787 to resume flights.

Boeing would still have to retrofit the 50 planes already delivered to eight airlines in seven countries, Mr Larsen said. That could mean the plane would not return to the skies until late April or early May, he said.

First, Boeing's redesigned batteries have to pass 20 separate tests lab, Mr Larsen said, then flight tests would follow.

"If there's any one test that isn't passed, it's back to the drawing board for that particular part of the tests," he said.

So far, test flights of two 787s have been approved - one with a complete prototype of the new battery, the other with only a new, more robust containment box for the battery, Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said.

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US approves Dreamliner battery fix

If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.

This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered. 

If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company. 

Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.  

Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.

If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.

If you are travelling within the EU you need an EHIC card, which gives you access to public healthcare. However, this won't necessarily be free, and if you need extra services such as accommodation for a carer, a helicopter home or a delayed flight, you could end up seriously out of pocket.

The only protection that will guarantee you will be looked after without running up a horrendous debt is by having travel insurance - which often covers up to £10 million of costs.

The most common form of theft is pick-pocketing, followed by theft from a car and bag snatching. Meanwhile, 752,000 of those surveyed had items stolen from their hotel room or villa.

If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.

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