If you’re thinking of getting on an airplane and own a Samsung Galaxy Note7, it’s best that you leave the device at home. The U.S. government reportedly (and has since confirmed) banned passengers from bringing the Note7 on board any aircraft, even if they’ve been powered down. The flight restrictions extend to flights in the country.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has formally banned the Galaxy Note7 smartphones, effective October 15, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. Phones may not be transported either on your person, in carry-on baggage, or even in checked baggage on any flight to, from, or within the U.S.
“We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “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.”
Those that happen to evade this ban could be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines. Those that try to board with a Note7 may be denied boarding until the phone is no longer with them.
Authorities have already been issuing warnings to passengers not to use or even charge the Note7 while in-flight, but this is taking it one step further, especially following repeated instances of the phones catching fire soon after Samsung released it, and after the faulty lithium-ion battery was replaced. If you want to know about the potential dangers of having a phone catch fire in a confined space 35,000 feet in the air, just look at what happened earlier this month when a device exploded when a passenger boarded a Southwest Airlines flight — now picture that happening when it’s up in the air.
The hits keep coming to Samsung in this major company disaster. This week, it revealed that it expects to cut its operating profit by more than $2.6 billion over the next two quarters, in addition to the expense it’ll incur this quarter. All major U.S. phone carriers have already permanently discontinued selling the Note7 and the company itself will no longer produce the two-month old device.
A Samsung spokesperson provided VentureBeat with this statement: “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.”
Updated as of 2:40 p.m. Pacific on Friday: This post has been updated with official statement from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Samsung.