FAA: Pretty Please Do Not Use Or Charge Your Exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 On A Plane

Image courtesy of Reddit

Exploding phones are never a good thing, unless maybe you’re writing a James Bond movie. But they’re an exceptionally bad thing in a crowded, high-pressure space where emergency workers can’t reach you… like an airplane. So the FAA is asking you, please, pretty please: if you have a Galaxy Note 7 could you, you know, not use it or charge it on your flight?

That’s the latest from the Federal Aviation Administration, which last night put out a short statement on the matter. “In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices,” the agency writes, it “strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.”

Samsung has admitted the Galaxy Note 7 is defective, and has set up a way for device owners to exchange their faulty phones for ones that are less likely to self-immolate from normal use. But it’s not officially a recall, and that’s a problem for the FAA: it can’t just automatically ban the phones without a recall the same way it otherwise could.

So that means that our flight safety regulators are down to asking nicely and “strongly advising” you not to do something that could result in lighting your aircraft on fire.

CNNMoney found that some international airlines are totally on board with this suggested policy, and have instituted their own similar ones. Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines — all of which fly in the Asia-Pacific region where Samsung phones are even more popular than in the U.S. — have been telling passengers not to turn on or charge the defective phones on flights.

American carriers aren’t quite so ban-happy, though. Delta told CNN that it would “comply with any directive,” and American said it was “in touch with the FAA.” Southwest told CNN any questions about the phone should go to the FAA, and none of the other U.S. carriers responded to CNN’s question at all.

For a universal action in the U.S., it’s going to take a real product recall: batteries recalled for safety reasons are automatically banned in carry-on or checked luggage on flights. And for that, the CPSC is going to have to keep annoying Samsung into issuing the recall itself, which so far it has not been willing to do. The CPSC can force the issue, but that process can take years.

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