In-flight fires caused by gadgets are back in the news after a recent piece in the New York Times warned of yet another risk: fires caused by the rechargable lithium batteries in handheld credit-card machines used by flight attendants to ring up purchases. The Federal Aviation Administration considers the batteries hazardous, and requires special training for flight attendants on airlines who carry spare batteries (some airlines, like Delta and JetBlue, don't carry spare batteries at all).
No fires from the readers have been reported, but according to the same article, in the last two years, a portable DVD has caught fire on a plane, a flashlight placed in a storage compartment exploded, turning into a projectile, and eight people were injured when a battery fell against a metal seat frame and exploded.
The best way to keep devices from overheating, or worse, catching fire? Keep them out of overhead compartments, and turn them off completely before storing them for flight. Do you take special precautions when flying with gadgets?