US bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from planes

The US Department of Transportation says passengers with Galaxy Note 7 will be denied boarding.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The order from the US Transportation Department and other agencies also prohibits owners from placing them in checked baggage during flights, Galaxy Note 7 advertisement in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 14, 2016.

The US Department of Transportation and other agencies banned all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones devices from aircraft in the United States starting from Saturday under an emergency order, regulators have said on Friday.

The ban comes after numerous reports of fires in replacement phones prompted many warnings from regulators, phone carriers and airlines.

"We recognise that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Samsung Electronics discarded its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on Tuesday due to incidents where the phones began smoking or caught fire, possibly damaging its reputation.

The ban prohibits owners from carrying on the devices or putting them in checked baggage during flights.

The Transportation Department warned that passengers who stowed the devices away in checked luggage increased the risk of "a catastrophic incident" on planes, Seoul, South Korea, October 13. Image: Reuters.

"We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident in-flight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk," said the Transportation Department.

"Anyone violating the ban may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines," the department said in a press statement.

However, in a statement issued on Friday, the department clarified that owners attempting to board a plane with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 would only be “denied boarding.”

The phone giant this week said it was also expanding a US recall, of the model prone to catching fire, to a total of 1.9 million Note 7 phones, including the 1 million Galaxy Note 7s it already recalled on September 15.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday the Note 7's battery "can overheat and catch fire, posing serious fire and burn hazard to consumers."

It added that Samsung had received 96 reports of batteries overheating in Note 7 phones in the United States, including 23 new reports since the announcement of the recall on September 15.

TRTWorld and agencies