As a frequent business traveler, I’m accustomed to the on-boarding and pre-flight protocol of the flight attendants. But this last week, I quickly noticed a new addition to the announcements about a specific smartphone. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently banned the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7s phone from being on during flights. The reason? The phones may explode if overheated.
FAA Bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7s On Flights
Released August 19, 2016, the latest Samsung smartphone has already been recalled. In the last month since the release, these phones have been exploding, including in a man’s pocket. The issue stems from the lithium ion battery. Samsung admitted that during the manufacturing process, the layer of plastic separating the positive and negative sides of the battery may have punctured, causing an explosion when overheated. It appears this happens more frequently when it’s charging, but not always, hence the pocket incident.
Initially, the FAA was “strongly encouraging” people from using the phone during the flight. They have now elevated their statement to “ban” airline passengers from using or charging the device during flight. These phones are not allowed to be packed in checked luggage either. The FAA stated, ‘In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.’
I saw last week that the airlines placed notices near check-in and boarding areas about the new FAA ruling. The cabin crew also added the message to their safety script. On this flight, each seat had an individual power station. While usually convenient, myself and the people around me were suddenly nervous of the possible repercussions. What if someone disobeyed? What can the airlines do to enforce the ban? Similar to asking that devices are placed in ‘airplane mode’, everyone trusts that the passengers abide by the rules. It’s currently a little nerve-wrecking to think about. Fortunately, Samsung will be providing replacement units later this month. I will certainly be relieved when these exchanges are complete, and the power stations can return to be the inculpable amenity I frequently enjoy.