Article by Nick Zotalis
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which has recently been in the limelight for a series of dangerous accidents, has been banned from all American flights by the Department of Transportation. It is now included in the Federal Aviation Administration’s categories of flammable aerosoles, lighters, and fireworks. The smartphone will not be allowed on flights within the United States–not even if it is packed in checked luggage. A Galaxy 7 found on a flight could be confiscated. The Department of Transportation said in a release that “anyone violating the ban may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines.” Anthony Foxx, the United States Secretary of Transportation, said “We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident in-flight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”
The ban on the phone was issued shortly after Samsung announced they would officially be ending its production. 96 reports of the phones’ batteries overheating and exploding have been filed since the phone’s release on August 19th . Among these reports are 47 cases of property damage and 13 cases of injury. Samsung initiated a recall of the devices–approximately 2.5 million worldwide–offering a free replacement phone to its customers. Although the replacement phones contained batteries from a different supplier, even the replacement phone caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight, resulting in an evacuation while still at the terminal.
Even before the decision to completely halt production of the Note 7, Samsung suffered heavy losses. The value of Samsung stocks traded in South Korea, the company’s home country, fell by 6.9%. This was the largest daily drop in these stocks’ values since 2008, and has resulted in a $26 billion drop in Samsung’s market value. On October 16th, Samsung was sued by American user Jonathan Strobel, who claims that his Note 7 exploded in his pocket, causing second-degree burns on his leg and on his thumb when he attempted to remove the device. This case is ongoing.
Samsung’s inability to resolve the situation has resulted in a second recall, carried out and enforced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Samsung itself. After the American flight ban, Amtrak also banned the phone and many international airlines followed suit. Dongjin Koh, mobile chief of Samsung promised to “find the exact cause to restore trust of consumers so that they can use Samsung products without any safety concerns.”
Feature Image Credit: Isriya Paireepairit