Older Model Samsung Phone Disregards Plane’s ‘No Smoking’ Signs

Image courtesy of The Times of India

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is currently under recall following reports of smoking and exploding batteries, but as we noted in previous stories on this matter, consumers have raised similar overheating and smoking concerns about earlier Galaxy devices. Now comes a report that the battery on a Galaxy Note 2 began to smoke during a commercial airline flight. 

Reuters reports that the incident happened earlier today during an IndiGo flight from Singapore to Chennai, India.

The phone was reportedly stowed in the overhead bin of the plane when witnesses say they saw smoke leaking out into the cabin. Reuters reports that witnesses also claim to have seen sparks coming from the device.

“Taking precautionary measure, the cabin crew on priority relocated all passengers on other seats, and further observed smoke being emitted from a Samsung Note 2 which was placed in the baggage (of a passenger) in the overhead bin,” the airline confirmed to The Times of India. “The crew discharged the fire extinguisher… and quickly transferred the Samsung Note 2 into a container filled with water in the lavatory.”

Officials with the airline said the incident did not cause damage to the aircraft and the flight continued to its destination without issue.

While the Galaxy Note 2 isn’t part of the Samsung recall, a spokesperson for India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation says it will send an advisory to airlines warning passengers to keep all Samsung Note phones switched off during flights or avoid carrying them on commercial planes, Reuters reports.

A Samsung spokesman in India had no immediate comment for Reuters, but said the company would issue a statement soon.

In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration and airlines have asked owners of the Note 7 to not use or charge the devices on planes after reports that their batteries could catch fire and explode. Of course, this doesn’t apply to the Galaxy Note 2 involved in the IndiGo incident.

However, several versions of Samsung’s Galaxy and Galaxy Note smartphones have come under scrutiny in recent weeks following several reports of smoking or exploding devices.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s SaferProducts.gov database, there are a number of complaints published that allege similar fire and smoking problems with previous device models in the Galaxy line.

The owner of another Galaxy Note 2 notified CPSC in June 2015 that her device became hot, and emitted smoke and sparks.

“The battery then projected out of the back of the device onto the floor, leaving burn marks and a hole in the carpet,” the woman writes, noting no injuries resulted from the incident.

In Aug. 2013, an owner of a Galaxy S2 alleged that their smartphone exploded and caught fire in the middle of the night while on the charger.

“I grabbed it and threw it in the master bedroom bathroom sink and turned on the water,” the man writes of the incident. “The smell in the bedroom was bad enough to take your breath away. We aired out the bedroom put the phone in a baggy. There was minimal damage to the end table and carpet.”

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The owner of another Galaxy S2 reported in Feb. 2013 that while the phone hadn’t exploded or caught fire, he believed it was only a matter of time.

“Cellphone over heating, battery swelling, battery jumps down in charge after heat,” the complaint states. “The phone shuts off, restarts with now battery reserve. There’s a fear of a battery fire.”

While recent Galaxy devices have batteries that are not easily replaced, earlier models in this Samsung line had batteries that could be swapped out with relative ease, so it’s possible in some of these previous instances that the batteries were not original to the device.

Samsung phone emits smoke on Indian plane mid-air, no damage [Reuters]