The Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have issued an emergency order banning all Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones, even ones that have been powered off, from commercial and cargo US aircraft. The ban goes into effect on Oct. 15.
According to the order, passengers who attempt to board flights with a Note7 on their person or in their bags may have their phones confiscated. If an airline representative sees a passenger attempting to board with a Note7, the order authorizes them to bar that passenger from boarding. And passengers who try to sneak their Note7 phones on planes may face fines and criminal charges, the order states. However, exactly how airlines intend to enforce this ban is still unclear. The FAA previously advised passengers to power off the devices and refrain from charging them on flights.
The smartphone is now considered a forbidden hazardous material under the Federal Hazardous Material Regulations. FedEx and UPS previously told Bloomberg they would not be shipping the phones by air.
Samsung and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission have recalled the phones, which are linked to nearly 100 reports of overheating, catching fire, and exploding because of faulty batteries. Samsung sold nearly 2 million of them in the US, but after initial reports that the phones were exploding and smoking, it offered replacement Note7s with safe batteries. Several consumers reported, however, that these replacement phones showed the same problems as their predecessors. Notably, a Southwest Airlines flight was grounded because of a smoking replacement Note7. Samsung has stopped sales, shipping, and production of the phone and has sent explosion-proof boxes to customers to return their phones for refunds.
The company has slashed its operating profit projections for the third quarter of 2016 by 33%. It estimates the recall will cost $5.3 billion in total.
Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the FAA's announcement. In an Oct. 13 statement about the CPSC's expanded recall, the company said it was working with the government, adding, "Customers’ safety remains a top priority and we ask consumers with an original or replacement Galaxy Note7 to power down and take advantage of the remedies available."
If you have a Galaxy Note7, you can start the return process by clicking here. Now would probably be a good time to get around to it.