Update, September 18: The FAA has issued updated guidance regarding usage of Samsung Galaxy 7 phones in flight, stating “passengers may not turn on or charge the devices when they carry them on board a plane. Passengers must also protect the devices from accidental activation, including disabling any features that may turn on the device, such as alarm clocks, and must not pack them in checked luggage.” The statement does not mention if any penalties are associated with failure to comply with this guidance. Read the full statement here.
American, Delta, and United are asking travelers to turn off their Samsung Galaxy 7 phones while in flight, citing concerns over the possibility that the phone’s batteries could catch fire and explode.
The move is a step beyond similar recommendations the FAA issued last week.
On Monday, Consumerist highlighted anecdotal reports of these policies. However, American, Delta, and United now have official notices posted asking travelers to turn off their Galaxy 7s, per the FAA’s advice. Consumerist also notes that Lufthansa, Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines have issued similar instructions to their passengers. Chances are more airlines will follow suit.
Our own Tim Winship explained that the problem is with the lithium-ion batteries used in the phones. These batteries have been implicated in at least 35 cases of overheating and catching fire, which led Samsung to recall over 2.5 million phones.
So: If you have a Samsung Galaxy 7 phone, it’s safe to expect you’ll be asked to turn it off. It’s also probably a good idea to look into the recall.
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