In the latest instalment of Samsung’s ongoing Note 7 saga, the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued an official, blanket ban against bringing the Galaxy Note 7 on airplanes. The ban applies to all Note 7 devices, and covers both carry-on and checked baggage, as well as prohibiting anyone from carrying the phone onto a plane on their person. The ban will go into effect beginning October 15 at 12 PM ET.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx issued the following statement in a press release announcing the ban:
We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority. 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.
The Galaxy Note 7 has been officially recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, so theoretically all Note 7 owners should be returning the phone anyway. But this new blanket ban means passengers can no longer even transport a Note 7 on a plane (perhaps to the place where they originally purchased it), and face the penalty of a potential fine if they attempt to do so, or even “criminal prosecution,” according to the DOT.
Samsung will be fielding requests about how best to return Note 7s, the release notes, and customs can look for more info on their recall support site, or contact them directly via their customer support number at 1-844-365-6197 if the flight ban leaves them in a lurch.
A flight ban is likely the only course of action that can guarantee incidents related to the Note 7 don’t occur in the future, given that the replacement Note 7 which caught fire on a Southwest Flight last week wasn’t even powered on when it began to smoke, and subsequently burned through the cabin’s carpeting. The blanket ban won’t do Samsung’s brand any favors, however, and it’s now more likely than ever that the Note sub-brand won’t survive this ongoing ordeal.
A Samsung spokesperson provided the following statement to TechCrunch regarding the ban:
Samsung, together with carriers, is working to communicate the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new order to ban all Galaxy Note7 devices in carry-on and checked baggage on flights. We have encouraged airlines to issue similar communications directly to their passengers. Any Galaxy Note7 owner should visit their carrier and retail store to participate in the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program now. We realize this is an inconvenience but your safety has to remain our top priority.