In case you hadn’t noticed, airlines aren’t particularly keen on letting passengers take items onto planes if they have a chance of spontaneously combusting. After all, a fire at 36,000 feet is likely to prove somewhat problematic.
For that very reason, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) appears to have Samsung’s just-launched Galaxy Note 7 in its sights.
The American regulatory agency is understandably concerned about recent reports of at least 35 Note 7 devices catching fire without warning after the battery apparently overheated while charging.
The Korean company’s flagship device had reportedly been flying off the shelves, with 2.5 million units sold in just a couple of weeks. But last Friday Samsung said it was halting sales and offering to replace all Note 7 devices free of charge, a process that it said will likely take several weeks to complete.
Related: Galaxy Note 7 recall – what you need to know
Despite the recall, or perhaps because of it, the FAA told Gizmodo this week that it’s exploring the possibility of slapping a ban on the troubled Note 7 until it’s satisfied the battery issue has been fully resolved and the affected units taken out of circulation.
The FAA said that a ban, should it issue one, would mean “airline crew and passengers will not be able to bring recalled batteries or electronics that contain recalled batteries in the cabin of an aircraft, or in carry-on and checked baggage” – a headache for those with the Note 7 as their main mobile device, but good news for fliers who want the guarantee of a smoke-free environment during their journey.
Of course, airlines can also take unilateral action to ban any item they like, but up to now no U.S. carrier has deemed the Note 7 dangerous enough to warrant such a ban.
At the end of last year a number of airlines stopped passengers from taking hoverboards on planes following reports of faulty batteries causing some of the machines to suddenly explode.
As for the Note 7, we’ll be sure to keep you posted should the FAA – or any airline – move to ban the phablet in the coming days and weeks.