All Samsung Galaxy Note7 Devices Banned From Airplanes
T he Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the United States jointly announced yesterday that an emergency order has been issued to ban all Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices from all commercial air transportation in the United States effective as of today, Saturday, October 15, 2016 at noon Eastern Daylight Time.
If you own or possess a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device of any kind, you may not transport the device on your person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage on flights to, from, or within the United States; and they also cannot be shipped as air cargo.
All Samsung Galaxy Note7 Devices Banned From Airplanes
A press release from Samsung Electronics America, Incorporated on Friday, September 2, 2016 announced the immediate availability of the United States Product Exchange Program for owners of Galaxy Note7 smartphones, which was launched in response to the recent announcement pertaining to a “small number” of isolated issues with lithium ion battery cells associated with Galaxy Note7 devices…
…but unfortunately, the devices which were supposed to be replacements proved to be no safer, as there have been reports of them catching on fire as well and rendering them as potentially serious safety hazards, according to this article pertaining to the extension of the recall to include the replacement devices — totaling approximately 1.9 million devices altogether — by the Consumer Product Safety Division of the United States.
Owners have experienced documented incidents of dangerous evolution of heat with both recalled and replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices. “Samsung has received 96 reports of batteries in Note7 phones overheating in the U.S., including 23 new reports since the September 15 recall announcement. Samsung has received 13 reports of burns and 47 reports of property damage associated with Note7 phones.”
Samsung has voluntarily recalled the devices on Thursday, September 15, 2016 and Thursday, October 13, 2016; and the company suspended the manufacture and sale of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 device on Tuesday, October 11, 2016.
What You Should Know
As a frequent flier, here are some things about which you should know pertaining to Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices, according to the Department of Transportation of the United States:
- You will be denied permission to board the aircraft if you attempt to travel by air with your Samsung Galaxy Note7 device
- You may be subject to criminal prosecution — in addition to fines being levied against you — if you violate the ban by attempting to evade the ban by packing your Samsung Galaxy Note7 device in checked luggage, as you are increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident
- You should contact Samsung or your wireless carrier immediately to obtain information about how to return your Samsung Galaxy Note7 device and arrange for a refund or a replacement device, as Samsung has provided guidance for you about refund and replacement options as well as how to contact wireless carriers — and Samsung is also answering questions at 1-844-365-6197
- If an airline representative observes that you are in possession of a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device prior to boarding an aircraft, the air carrier must deny boarding to you unless and until you divest yourself and your carry-on and checked baggage of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 device — and you absolutely should not pack your Samsung Galaxy Note7 device in your checked luggage
- If a flight crew member identifies that you are in possession of a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device while the aircraft is in flight, the crew member must instruct you to:
- Power off the device
- Not use or charge the device while aboard the aircraft
- Protect the device from accidental activation — including disabling any features that may turn on the device, such as alarm clocks
- Keep the device on your person and not in the overhead compartment, seat back pocket — nor in any carry-on baggage — for the duration of the flight
The Samsung Galaxy Note7 device is considered a forbidden hazardous material under the Federal Hazardous Material Regulations — HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-185 — which forbid airline passengers or crew from traveling with lithium cells or batteries or portable electronic devices that are likely to generate a dangerous evolution of heat. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the United States has issued a special permit to Samsung to facilitate commercial shipment of the recalled devices by ground transportation.
For additional information pertaining to:
- Returning your recalled Galaxy Note7 device to the manufacturer, call 1-800-SAMSUNG or 1-800-726-7864 or visit the official Internet web site of Samsung
- Safe travel with lithium batteries and other potentially hazardous materials, visit the Safe Travel Internet web site of the Department of Transportation
- Passenger information from the Federal Aviation Administration
- Other questions about the transportation of hazardous materials, contact the Hazardous Materials Information Center of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the United States at 1-800-467-4922; or send a message via e-mail at email@example.com
A Synopsis of the Checkered History of Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium ion batteries have been a bane for commercial aviation for years, as they pose potential hazards to air travel due to their unpredictable combustible nature. Limits on the transportation of lithium batteries were first implemented by the Transportation Security Administration of the United States back in December of 2007 and became effective as of Tuesday, January 1, 2008.
The transporting of UN3480 lithium ion batteries as cargo on any airplanes which carry passengers became prohibited in Canada effective as of Friday, April 1, 2016 in order to protect the safety of the public.
Some airlines — both passenger and cargo — and other governments already have their own similar directives to the one recently issued in Canada. This document pertaining to guidance of the transport of lithium batteries was issued by the International Air Transport Association on December 15, 2014; and it contains detailed information and photographs of examples of lithium batteries.
A final rule which explicitly bans the use of electronic cigarettes on commercial airplanes — which applies to all scheduled flights of carriers based within and outside of the United States involving transportation within, to, and from the United States — was recently implemented by the Department of Transportation of the United States. Electronic cigarettes are considered hazardous because of incidents such as the one where an electronic cigarette reportedly burned a small hole in a piece of checked baggage located inside of an Embraer 190 airplane operated by JetBlue Airways at Logan International Airport in Boston on Saturday, August 9, 2014, causing the evacuation of passengers from the aircraft whose destination was Buffalo.
Delta Air Lines flight 689 was delayed on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 when an electronic cigarette ignited inside a bag carried aboard the airplane by a passenger while the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 aircraft carrying 160 passengers was still on the tarmac at the international airport which serves the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, according to this article written by Carla Caldwell of the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The bag was extinguished with no damage to the aircraft, which arrived late at its destination in Saint Louis.
The dangers of lithium ion batteries were arguably most famously illustrated by the flawed rollout of the new Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” airplanes, which were initially plagued with problems. A battery fire occurred in January of 2013 at Logan International Airport in Boston — which prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to ground the entire fleet of Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft worldwide for months; and lithium battery fires contributed to the temporary removal of the aircraft from service of the fleets of both All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines back in January of 2013.
Airlines Purchase Fire Containment Bags
Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air outfitted their entire fleets of airplanes with new bright red HOT-STOP ‘L’ fire containment bags specially designed to reduce the danger of mid-flight lithium-ion battery fires and to hold portable electronic devices that can sometimes overheat and catch fire, as they can be shut with Velcro and heavy-duty zippers; can withstand temperatures up to 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit; and are constructed of a sturdy material which is resistant to fire.
Other airlines — such as Virgin America and Delta Air Lines — are also equipping their airplanes with similar bags.
Lithium-ion battery fires can be particularly dangerous because they burn at extremely hot temperatures — but at least one new lithium battery is being designed and developed which not only will purportedly be smaller and safer to use; but will also be faster and last a significantly longer period of time on one charge than current technology is capable of doing…
…and that technology could be available as early as sometime next year — certainly not in time to save the Samsung Galaxy Note7 device.
In the case of a fire caused by a lithium-ion battery fire, flight attendants — who are trained to fight fires — will don gloves which are resistant to heat; place the device inside the bag; and zip it shut once the initial flames are extinguished. Even if the electronic device ignites again, the bag will contain the heat and flames — protecting the occupants of the aircraft.
Portable electronic devices are generally safe to carry and use, thankfully — especially when brought aboard a limited enclosed space such as the passenger cabin of an airplane — but neither the airlines nor the federal government of the United States are willing to underestimate or gamble on the unpredictability of the hazards of lithium batteries, which is necessary in order to protect the traveling public.
The ban of the Galaxy Note7 device is already causing serious damage to the reputation — and to the financial bottom line to the tune of an estimated $5.3 billion — of Samsung; and recovery from this negative publicity will require substantial time and effort.
Hopefully, Samsung and other manufacturers will have learned some valuable lessons from this issue and create devices which will be substantially safer to use — both in the air and on the ground.