Overheating Samsung Tablet Blamed For Delta Flight Diversion

Image courtesy of Kārlis Dambrāns

A Delta Air Lines flight was diverted over the weekend when a Samsung device overheated after being jammed between seats. But the device wasn’t the recently recalled Samsung Note 7 smartphone, it was an unspecified tablet from the device maker. 

ABC News reports that the incident occurred late Saturday night on a flight from Detroit to Amsterdam, forcing the plan to divert to Manchester, England for several hours.

According to a Delta official, the tablet fell inside a seat and became jammed when the seat was either reclined or returned to the upright position.

At that point, the tablet and foam from the seat began to smoke, with passengers reporting a strange odor.

Upon landing in Manchester, the plane’s seat was replaced. The flight resumed about two hours later.

Samsung tells ABC News in a statement that it appears “external factors contributed to this incident. We have reached out to Delta to investigate as the cause is yet to be determined.”

The incident comes less than a week after a Samsung Note 2 phone — also not part of the current recall of the Note 7 found to contain batteries that could catch fire and explode — began smoking and passengers reported seeing sparks on an IndiGo flight in India.

While it’s unclear what Samsung tablet was involved in the Delta Air Lines incident, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s SaferProducts.gov database shows at least two complaints published that allege overheating and burning issues with Samsung Galaxy tablets and Tab 3.

The owner of a Galaxy Tab 3 notified CPSC in June 2014 that the device caught fire and injured her daughter.

“My daughter, age 10 came home from school and smelled something burning in the hallway,” the woman writes. “She went to investigate around 4-4:30pm. She found her tablet charging and smoking. She immediately unplugged it from the wall. She unplugged the charger from device, the metal had melted. It burned her – she dropped it onto her bedding which in turn burned her bedding.”

In Jan. 2015, the owner of a four-year old Galaxy Tablet alleges the device’s cord was melted while charging, burning and electrocuting her daughter.

“I handled the cord and was also burned. The rubber at the end of the cord where it plugs into the device had suddenly come apart which exposed metal wiring,” the report states. “There had been no signs of wear on the cord prior to the incident which makes this a risk.”

In addition to the incidents with the Samsung tablets noted on the CPSC database, there have been numerous reports of other tablet and smartphone batteries overheating, yet no recalls have been issued.

Samsung Tablet Causes Emergency and Diversion on Transatlantic Flight [ABC News]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.