Here it comes…the official “ban.” I’ve covered extensively the increasing caution the aviation industry is having with the Galaxy Note 7. It started a week ago when three Australian airlines banned the Galaxy Note 7, and escalated to a few US airlines making announcements discouraging passengers from using the phone in-flight.
Earlier today, a cell phone battery caught fire 15 minutes into a Delta flight from Norfolk to Atlanta. The battery in question did not belong to a Galaxy Note 7, which does not feature a removable battery. However, there is no doubt this raises a sense of urgency in “doing something” about potential fire hazard in-flight. Just hours after the incident, the FAA released a statement, officially prohibiting the use of Note 7s onboard.
Specifically, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) now forbids the transportation of Galaxy Note 7 devices, unless passengers comply with all of the following:
- Turn off the device
- Disconnect the device from any charging equipment;
- Disable all applications that could inadvertently activate the phone (e.g., alarm clock);
- Protect the power switch to prevent its unintentional activation; and
- Keep the device in carry-on baggage or on your person. (Do not place in checked baggage.)
Since this latest statement, airlines like Southwest and JetBlue, which previously didn’t make announcements regarding the phones, have begun to do so.
Southwest agents are now having to make announcements about turning off the Samsung Galaxy Note7s
Of course, this is all extremely hard, if not impossible to enforce. We have even seen American Airlines flight attendants wrongly telling passengers with any Samsung phones to turn them off (ironic, because AA flight attendants are equipped with Galaxy Note devices). Now more reports have surfaced where flight attendants are telling all Samsung phone users to switch their phones off.
My @Delta fight attendant: If you are not already aware, your Samsung phone is "EXXXXPLOSIVE". Please don't turn it on or charge it
— Scott Mayerowitz (@GlobeTrotScott) September 14, 2016
I feel bad for Samsung, since they are getting so much bad press from this issue. But with ~70 incidents of battery exploding in North America alone, this is a serious issue.
According to Recode, less than 15% of the one million Galaxy Note 7 has been returned. Replacement phones are due to arrive on September 21, so hopefully the exchange can happen in a timely manner. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission urges all customers with a Galaxy Note 7 to return it to Samsung as soon as possible. The replacement phones, according to Samsung, will come with a green battery icon to show that they are safe.