Both the original and replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones have been experiencing dangerous heat and combustion-related problems.
In response to the recent DOT / FAA travel ban for Note7’s, electronics giant Samsung has said in a statement that they will be “providing support to Galaxy Note7 owners by exchanging their devices or refunding them in a wide range of places, including at some of the most frequently visited airports around the country” and that “on-site reps are there to help customers with last minute travel support and can be located by calling the Galaxy Note7 hotline at 1-844-365-6197.”
At this time, there’s no word on what model the replacement phones are, but the Samsung reps are able to transfer data from a Note7 to these new phones at the booths. However, in spite of their presence at the airports, Samsung is urging all Galaxy Note7 owners to “exchange their device or obtain a refund before they arrive at their airport. We know this is an inconvenience to our customers but safety has to remain our top priority.”
The statement does not provide a list of airports, but so far, people have reported seeing booths at San Francisco International, Dallas / Fort Worth International, Philadelphia International, Seattle-Tacoma International, LAX, and Denver International. In addition, booths have been seen at major airports in both South Korea and Australia.
UPDATE: 10-17-16 12 PM PST
In response to the fire-related problems with the Samsung Galaxy Note7, additional airlines, including Delta and Virgin America, have started installing fire containment bags in their aircraft.
The bright red bags are designed to hold and seal off electronic devices such as phones and computers that have caught fire, preventing them from causing damage to the aircraft. They shut using Velcro and heavy duty zippers and can withstand temperatures of up to 1,760 degrees Celcius. According to a report from the Guardian, the bags retail for $1,800 each.
Virgin America has installed the fire-containment bags in all of the roughly 60 planes in its fleet, while Delta Air Lines said that it will be adding the bags to more than 900 of its airplanes, focusing on 166 aircraft that have flights across the oceans first. In addition, some of their domestic 757s will have two bags installed. According to a Delta spokesperson, it’s been on their to-do list, but recent events have increased the importance for the airline. Alaskan Airlines got an early start, and actually finished installing the bags to their 219 planes back in May.
Other airlines have yet to install the bags, though they do have fire extinguishers and flightcrew training in dealing with inflight fires.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), working with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) announced Friday that they have issued an emergency order banning all Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones from air transportation in the United States. This means that airline passengers may not carry the Note7 on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage on any flights to, from, or within the United States. In addition, the phones will not be able to be shipped as air cargo. According to the DOT, the ban went into effect Saturday, October 15th, at 12 PM EST.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that though he recognizes banning the phones from airlines may be an inconvenience for some passengers, the safety of everyone onboard must be the top priority. He added that “We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”
More Details on the Samsung Galaxy Note7 Phone Issues
After a number of documented incidents showing the dangerous overheating problem with the phones, Samsung issued a September 15th, 2016 recall. However, the replacement phones also had similar problems, prompting Samsung to issue a second recall on October 13th. In addition, the company suspended all manufacturing and sales of the Samsung Galaxy Note7.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot F. Kaye said that “The fire hazard with the original Note7 and with the replacement Note7 is simply too great for anyone to risk it and not respond to this official recall.” He added that consumers needed to take advantage of the recall, which included a full refund.
Phone owners can learn more about how to return their phone and get a refund at //www.samsung.com/us/note7recall/, or by calling 1-844-365-6197.
More Details on the Emergency Order Banning Samsung Galaxy Note7 Phones
According to DOT, here are the details that airline passengers need to know:
- If an airline representative sees a Note7 in a passenger’s possession, they are required to deny them boarding, unless the passenger “divests themselves and their carry-on and checked baggage of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 device.”
- Any passenger who attempts to get around the ban by packing the phone in checked luggage may be subject to both criminal prosecution and fines.
- If a member of the flight crew sees that a passenger is in possession of a Note7 in flight, the crew member is required to instruct the passenger to disable any features that may turn on or acitvate the device such as alarms, then power off the device, not use or charge the device while onboard the aircraft, and keep it on their person, and not in checked baggage or an overhead bin, for the duration of the flight.
International Bans on the Samsung Galaxy Note7 Phones
In addition to the US ban, several other countries are following suit.
- Japan’s transport ministry has ordered their air carriers to ban the Note7 from all flights. Any passenger found with one will have it confiscated, and possibly face charges or fines.
- South Korea’s Asiana Airlines has banned the phone.
- Most of the mainland Chinese airlines have banned the phones from flights, and Hong Kong International airport has banned it from all incoming or outgoing flights.
- Australian and New Zealand air carriers now have a complete ban in place as well.
- In Germany, Italy, and Britain, multiple carriers are banning the phone
The emergency order has been posted to the Federal Register in unpublished form as a PDF and will be published fully on October 19th, 2016, for anyone interested in reading the full text.