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US Bans Samsung Note 7 Phones From Flights

ERIN DOOLEY
US Bans Samsung Note 7 Phones From Flights (ABC News)

Following a spate of battery fires, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned Samsung Note 7 smartphones from flying to, from, or within the United States, effective at noon on Saturday.

“We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” Department of Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “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.”




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According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Samsung has received 96 reports of Note 7s overheating in the U.S. – including several incidents involving replacement phones distributed to supplant the defective ones. At least 13 people reported burns associated with the Note 7. The phones have been recalled, and the CPSC is urging consumers to seek a refund or different replacement phone.

Just last week, a Note 7 replacement phone began smoking aboard a Southwest plane at its gate in Louisville, prompting an evacuation.

The TSA told ABC News that it will not be searching for Note 7s at checkpoints. If officers see the phone, they will inform passengers of the ban and ask them to leave the checkpoint and return without the device. Officers will not, however, confiscate the phones. If they do uncover the phones in checked baggage, they will turn the devices over to the airline.

"It's a safety issue, not a security issue," a TSA spokesperson said.

Passengers who "attempt to evade the ban" by concealing their phones in checked luggage "are increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident," the FAA warned. Passengers who violate the ban may be subject to fines, confiscation of the device and even criminal prosecution.

If flight crews notice the device while the aircraft is in flight, they will instruct the passenger to power down for the duration of the flight.