In a classic case of bolting the door after the horse has left the stable, Virgin Atlantic has banned the use of Apple and Dell notebooks - even after those companies recalled the batteries that pose a safety risk in a minority of cases.

A note on the Virgin Atlantic website warns: "As a result of the current problems being experienced by Apple and Dell with some of the batteries fitted to some of their laptops, as a safety precaution and with immediate effect, customers wanting to use an Apple or Dell laptop on board can only do so if the battery is removed."

The move follows Apple's August recall of 1.8 million notebook batteries, provided by Sony.

Passengers must wrap and protect the batteries - which must be removed from their computers - and place them in their cabin luggage. Only two batteries are permitted per customer.

Of course, the side-effect of the battery ban is that only passengers in Business and Upper Class can actually use their Macs on board, as without batteries the computers need to be plugged-in to an external power source.

Virgin offers In Seat Power Supplies (ISP) to the majority of its premium passengers.

"Where no ISP is provided or no laptop leads/adaptors are available, the use of Apple and Dell laptops is prohibited," the company states.

Virgin offers no schedule for when it will let its passengers remain productive mid-flight, but asserts: "Virgin is in communication with Apple and Dell. As soon as this safety issue is resolved these restrictions will be lifted."