FAA Reaction to Galaxy Note7 Fires
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. http://www.faa.gov/go/packsafe
The incidence of Samsung Galaxy Note7 device fires has been well documented. The above notice issued by the FAA does not prohibit passengers from carrying these smart phones on planes nor does it order passengers not to include them in their checked baggage. Why?
First it is useful to list what actions have been taken in response to this threat:
- Consumer Product Safety Commission: Samsung and Watchdog Warn
Against Using Galaxy Note7 Smartphones; CSPS has the power to recall products and after the Korean company issued a voluntary recall, the commission said:
“The CPSC confirmed it is ‘working cooperatively’ with Samsung to formally announce an official recall as soon as possible. The agency said it ‘is working quickly to determine whether a replacement Galaxy Note7 is an acceptable remedy for Samsung or their phone carriers to provide to consumers.’”
- Transport Canada: Transport Canada Issues Safety Advisory for Galaxy Note7: “Transport Canada decided to follow the FAA guidelines on their own flights – they want them carried in the cabin where any incident can be immediately handled.”
- European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Passenger information on Samsung Galaxy Note7: “Following the official communication from Samsung on issues with the Samsung Galaxy Note7, the European Aviation Safety Agency advises passengers and crew members to keep these devices turned off and do not charge them while on board of the aircraft and do not put them inside the checked baggage. Passengers are also reminded of the need to inform the cabin crew when a device is damaged, hot, produces smoke, is lost, or falls into the seat structure.”
- Delta Air Lines: Delta echoes FAA recommendation for customers traveling with Samsung Note7 device: “…Delta directs customers to comply with the FAA recommendation with the following guidance:
- A Samsung Note7 device may be taken on board aircraft or placed in carry-on baggage only.
- At all times while on board the aircraft, the device must be turned off and it must not be charged.
- The device may not be placed in checked baggage.
- Samsung Exchange Program: In response to our recent announcement regarding battery cell issues with the Galaxy Note7, we are advising that you power down your Note7 and exchange it now, as part of our U.S. Product Exchange Program for all Galaxy Note7 owners. We strongly advise all customers to use this exchange program because your safety is our top priority. Additional sales and shipments of the affected devices have been stopped, but if you already have a Galaxy Note7, we strongly advise that you replace it.
Through the U.S. Note7 Exchange Program, you can:
1. Exchange your current Galaxy Note7 device with a new Galaxy Note7 (pending CPSC approval). Select carrier and retail outlets will provide customers, who prefer a replacement Note7, an exchange for a Samsung J Series or equivalent device to use until CPSC-approved Note7s are available.
2. Exchange your current Galaxy Note7 for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge and replacement of any Note7 specific accessories with a refund of the price difference between devices.
- We know this exchange is an inconvenience, so you will also receive a $25 gift card, in-store credit or bill credit from select carrier retail outlets when participating in the U.S. Note7 Exchange Program.
That’s a very powerful, persuasive record: it would seem that those facts could justify issuing a mandatory order by the FAA prohibiting the carriage of these dangerous instruments. The statute is very restrictive as to what it may regulate, 49 USC §§44704 and 44709; it would take a very broad interpretation to include smart phones carried by individuals as within the FAA’s jurisdiction.
As technologies emerge there may be more devices which pose risks to aircraft, passengers and crews. Congress might consider revising the FAA’s authority to include such purview, to create safety standards for such review and to provide the FAA with explicit powers to regulate individual passengers.
PRESS RELEASE: FAA Statement on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 DevicesShare this article: