FAA officially bans ‘exploding’ Samsung phones on flights

© Jung Yeon-JE
The US Federal Aviation Administration has issued new guidance against the recalled Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone: The agency officially considers the device unsafe to be turned on during flights – even packed in checked-in luggage.

“Following a Consumer Product Safety Commission recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the FAA is issuing general guidance to airlines about the rules for carrying recalled or defective lithium devices on board aircraft as cargo or in carry-on luggage,” the FAA said in a statement.

It also stressed that “passengers may not turn on or charge the devices when they carry them on board a plane,” adding that “passengers must also protect the devices from accidental activation, including disabling any features that may turn on the device, such as alarm clocks.”

The FAA warned that the passengers “must not pack them in checked luggage” as well.

The agency further demanded that airlines “ensure that cargo and passenger processing employees, and those responsible for cabin safety, are aware of the rules,” adding that cargo customers also should be aware of the rules while the information and guidance about damaged or recalled lithium batteries and devices should be published on the airlines’ websites.

The FAA also said that airlines can “proactively place its own restrictions on carrying or using specific lithium battery products on board aircraft” if they deem it necessary.

The Friday FAA statement follows its earlier warning from September 9, in which it “strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these [Galaxy Note 7] devices on board aircraft” and not to stow them in baggage.

New York City's MTA subway also issued a warning on Wednesday, in which it asked passengers not to turn on or charge the smartphones in subway cars.

The measures come following a global recall by the manufacturer, after several cases of Galaxy Note 7 battery fires and explosions were reported. So far, Samsung confirmed that there have been at least 35 incidents worldwide out of the 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s sold.