The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), announced the other day that it is issuing an emergency order to ban all Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone devices from air transportation in the United States.
Individuals who own or possess a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device may not transport the device on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage on flights to, from, or within the United States. This prohibition includes all Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices. The phones also cannot be shipped as air cargo. The ban will be effective on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at noon ET.
“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.”
Device owners have experienced documented incidents of dangerous evolution of heat with both recalled and replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices. Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) acknowledged this imminent safety hazard with the company’s September 15, 2016 and October 13, 2016 recalls. Additionally, on October 11, 2016, Samsung suspended the manufacture and sale of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 device.
“The fire hazard with the original Note7 and with the replacement Note7 is simply too great for anyone to risk it and not respond to this official recall,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye. “I would like to remind consumers once again to take advantage of the remedies offered, including a full refund. It’s the right thing to do and the safest thing to do.”
What air 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, at www.samsung.com/us/note7recall/. Samsung is also answering customers’ questions at 1-844-365-6197.
- 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 (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-185), which forbid 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.
The Emergency Order will be on display in the Federal Register display on Friday, October 14, 2016, and the ban will be effective on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at noon ET. For additional information on the recall, visit the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov.