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Laptop Computers on International Airplanes

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     The following is a warning we received from one of our clients for 
     those that use their laptop computers on international travel.
     Thomas Hunt
     Fluor Daniel

>       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 has 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 paperclip 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.