The Federal Aviation Administration is “strongly advising” passengers to leave their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones — recalled on September 2 — on the ground because they could pose a danger to airplane passengers.
“In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage,” reads the warning sent to Inverse.
Early reports indicated that the Galaxy Note 7 might explode when it’s plugged in. This led Samsung to delay the smartphone’s debut outside South Korea and ultimately resulted in the company recalling millions of handsets so it could perform safety tests so it can figure out why the devices are so volatile.
Samsung did not follow the right protocol when recalling the Galaxy Note 7 in the United States, though. It should have alerted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, but it didn’t. This makes it difficult for the FAA to ban the device from planes under its existing rules. Now, both agencies must figure out how to prevent the unlucky few who managed to buy Samsung’s new smartphone from bringing them onto planes and endangering their flights.
The Product Safety Commission explains it like this to Inverse:
Congress established a law in 1981 that restricts CPSC’s ability to discuss information related to a company or its brand, if there is not previously agreed-upon language. By law, CPSC has to give a company 10 days notice of what we seek to say about a particular product and the company is given an opportunity to edit what we say. No other agency in the federal government has a similar information disclosure restriction.
Basically, Samsung’s decision not to follow this process limits what the Commission can say about those batteries that may or may not turn your phone into this:
Meanwhile, three airlines in Australia have banned people from using the Galaxy Note 7 on flights in response to the recall. The devices can be brought onto the planes, but they cannot be powered on or charged, as that appears to be the spark that ignites whatever technical failure is causing these smartphones to explode.
The Galaxy Note 7 isn’t the only explosive consumer product recalled in recent months. CPSC recalled 500,000 “hoverboards” made by 10 different companies in July because the popular toys kept lighting on fire. That was a proper recall — so far Samsung’s treatment of the Galaxy Note 7 has been far less responsible.
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