U.S. Department of Transportation Bans Samsung Galaxy Note7 from Airplanes

Amid a firestorm of reports about overheated and exploding devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note7 has been prohibited from being brought onboard all domestic-bound aircraft. As of Oct. 15, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), announced an emergency order to ban the smartphone device. Passengers may not transport the Galaxy Note7 on their person, on carry-on or checked baggage on flights to, from or within the U.S. The phones can also not be shipped as air cargo.

“We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”

Last week, Samsung also ceased production of recalled and replacement models amid reports of the smartphone overheating and catching fire, deeming it a serious threat on airplanes. Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission acknowledged the safety hazard with two company recalls on Sept. 15 and Oct. 13.

“We appreciate the patience of our consumers, carrier and retail partners for carrying the burden during these challenging times,” says Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer, Samsung Electronics America. “We are committed to doing everything we can to make this right.”

According to the DOT, Travelers Should Know:

If passengers attempt to travel by air with their Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices, they will be denied boarding.

Passengers who attempt to evade the ban by packing their phone in checked luggage are increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident.  Anyone violating the ban may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines.

Passengers currently traveling with Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones should contact Samsung or their wireless carrier immediately to obtain information about how to return their phones and arrange for a refund or a replacement phone. Samsung has provided guidance for customers about refund and replacement options, as well as how to contact wireless carriers.

If an airline representative observes that a passenger is in possession of a Samsung Note7 device prior to boarding an aircraft, the air carrier must deny boarding to the passenger unless and until the passenger divests themselves and their carry-on and checked baggage of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 device. Passengers absolutely should not pack the phones in their checked luggage.

If a flight crew member identifies that a passenger is in possession of a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device while the aircraft is in flight, the crew member must instruct the passenger to power off the device, not use or charge the device while aboard the aircraft, protect the device from accidental activation, including disabling any features that may turn on the device, such as alarm clocks, and keep the device on their person and not in the overhead compartment, seat back pocket, nor in any carry-on baggage, for the duration of the flight.

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 device is considered a forbidden hazardous material under the Federal Hazardous Material Regulations, which forbids airline passengers or crew from traveling with lithium cells or batteries or portable electronic devices that are likely to generate a dangerous evolution of heat. PHMSA has issued a special permit to Samsung to facilitate commercial shipment of the recalled devices by ground transportation.

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