Some airline passengers surprised by Samsung Galaxy Note7 ban
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
At noon Saturday, a federal emergency order went into effect, banning passengers and flight crews from bringing Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones on any flights.
This comes after several reports of the phones catching fire or even exploding.
At from Reagan National Airport, some air travelers were surprised by the ban.
After walking up and down the B and C concourses, around the ticket counters and the TSA lines, our Mike Carter-Conneen found no signage specifically warning passengers about the phone ban or what might happen if they tried to bring one on board.
As of today, the phones cannot be carried on board or packed in checked bags on domestic or international flights to and from the United States.
Samsung discontinued the product earlier this week and recalled more than 2.5 million devices after several reports of fires, including one recent incident on a Baltimore-bound Southwest Airlines flight.
Baron Hardy, traveling home to Phoenix, said he understood why a Galaxy Note7 owner might not want to trash their phone.
“I mean that's an investment you know, you put money into it. you want to use it,” he said. “But if it's a danger to everyone on board [an airplane], it's not wise.”
Several major airlines are now placing fire-proof bags on flights to contain any flames from the phones, if necessary.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation said any passengers who try to travel with the phones could be denied boarding, have them confiscated and may face thousands of dollars in fines.
Aviation Expert John Nance said, "This is a small price to pay for safety. We cannot have these phones bursting into flames on flights."
Some passengers said they heard about the ban on the news or got notified when checking-in online.
But at DCA Saturday afternoon, there were no Note7-specific announcements or any signage.
“I heard about it on the news that they were having issues catching fire on flights but I did not know they had been banned today,” said Theresa Champagne.
Peter Gambacorta said, “If it's been banned, as of today, they should definitely be telling people not to bring it.”
We reached out to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority about the lack of signage regarding the Galaxy Note7 ban.
A spokesperson emailed us, “This ban was just announced by DOT [Friday] evening. The airlines and TSA are taking the lead in enforcing this new restriction but we are working with our airport partners to look at ways to inform passengers about this change.”
The TSA did not reply to our request for comment.
According to a release from the DOT, here a checklist of what travelers need to know.
•If passengers attempt to travel by air with their Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices, the phones may be confiscated and passengers may face fines.
• Passengers who attempt to evade the ban by packing their phone in checked luggage are increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident. Anyone violating the ban may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines.
• Passengers currently traveling with Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones should contact Samsung or their wireless carrier immediately to obtain information about how to return their phones and arrange for a refund or a replacement phone. Samsung has provided guidance for customers about refund and replacement options, as well as how to contact wireless carriers, at http://www.samsung.com/us/note7recall/. Samsung is also answering customers’ questions at 1-844-365-6197.
• If an airline representative observes that a passenger is in possession of a Samsung Note7 device prior to boarding an aircraft, the air carrier must deny boarding to the passenger unless and until the passenger divests themselves and their carry-on and checked baggage of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 device. Passengers absolutely should not pack the phones in their checked luggage.
• If a flight crew member identifies that a passenger is in possession of a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device while the aircraft is in flight, the crew member must instruct the passenger to power off the device, not use or charge the device while aboard the aircraft, protect the device from accidental activation, including disabling any features that may turn on the device, such as alarm clocks, and keep the device on their person and not in the overhead compartment, seat back pocket, nor in any carry-on baggage, for the duration of the flight.
"The Samsung Galaxy Note7 device is considered a forbidden hazardous material under the Federal Hazardous Material Regulations , which forbid airline passengers or crew from traveling with lithium cells or batteries or portable electronic devices that are likely to generate a dangerous evolution of heat. PHMSA has issued a special permit to Samsung to facilitate commercial shipment of the recalled devices by ground transportation."