Virgin eases laptop restriction

Dell and Apple laptop users are now a little freer to mouse around the cabin of Virgin airplanes.

Earlier this month, Virgin decreed that passengers could not use certain Dell and Apple laptops running on batteries while in flight.

The problem leading up to the restriction: Some Sony-spawned lithium-ion batteries found in certain Apple and Dell machines were overheating and causing systems to burst into flames. Both Dell and Apple have both since announced battery recalls.

Since then, the airline has revised the rule: Flight crew will check the serial number of the battery in your laptop. If it's not on the recall list (here's Apple's and Dell's), you're free to work and play your flight away.

Otherwise, you have to stow the battery and go computer-less -- unless you're sitting in one of the cushier parts of the plane and have a power source in your seat in which to plug in your portable.

I'm just waiting for the airline to announce that it will sell batteries on-board -- at a 200% markup, of course.