FAA bans all Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices from air transportation
By Colleen Kave, J.D.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), have issued an emergency order banning all Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones from air transportation in the United States, according to a DOT press release. The ban, which took effect at noon ET on Saturday, October 15, 2016, includes all Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices, and prohibits individuals who own or possess the devices from transporting them on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage on flights to, from, or within the United States. Additionally, the smartphones cannot be shipped as air cargo. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx defended the additional safety measure as necessary to ensure passenger safety, noting that even one fire incident on an aircraft poses a high risk of severe personal injury and endangers lives.
On October 11, 2016, Samsung suspended the manufacture and sale of the Galaxy Note7 smartphone after consumers reported incidents of overheating involving devices covered by the company’s September 15, 2016, and October 13, 2016, recalls and replacement Galaxy Note7 devices. Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices are currently classified as 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 permit to Samsung to allow commercial shipment of the recalled smartphones by ground transportation.
Under the terms of the ban, passengers who attempt to travel by air with a Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone will be denied boarding, and those who attempt to evade the ban by packing their device in checked luggage may be subject to criminal prosecution and fines. Any passengers currently traveling with a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device should contact Samsung or their wireless carrier immediately to learn how to return their phones and arrange for a refund or replacement. If an airline representative discovers that a passenger is in possession of a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device prior to boarding an aircraft, the passenger will not be allowed to board unless and until they divest themselves and their carry-on and checked baggage of the mobile device. If, while an aircraft is in flight, a flight crew member observes that a passenger has a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device, the crew member must instruct the passenger to power off the device, refrain from using or charging the device while on board the aircraft, protect the device from accidental activation, and keep the device on their person, as opposed to in the overhead compartment, seat back pocket, or carry-on baggage, for the remainder of the flight.
For additional information from the FAA, visit http://www.faa.gov/Go/PackSafe. For details of the CPSC recall of Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones, visit the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov. For additional information on returning a recalled Galaxy Note7 device to the manufacturer, call 1-800-SAMSUNG or 1-800-726-7864 or visit the website: http://www.samsung.com/us/note7recall/. For additional information about safe travel with lithium batteries and other potentially hazardous materials, visit the DOT Safe Travel Website athttp://phmsa.dot.gov/safetravel/batteries.
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