Qantas, Virgin Australia, Tigerair, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Fiji Airways and other airlines have banned carriage of Samsung Galaxy Note7 mobile phones – and some carriers are going further.
Airlines have acted to ban the controversial phone after the US Department of Transportation issued an official, blanket ban against bringing the device on any aircraft.
Some of the phones have spontaneously overheated, burst into flame or emitted smoke.
Some US airlines are reportedly equipping themselves with bright red bags made of a fire-resistant material, designed to contain electronic devices like mobile phones and laptops that suddenly overheat or catch fire and can’t be extinguished.
Delta Air Lines is said to be the first major carrier to acquire the bags, which can withstand temperatures up to 1760 degrees Celsius. That’s hotter than boiling lead – not just molten, boiling. Two other carriers have acquired the bags as well, according to US reports.
At the weekend, Singapore Airlines said it would not permit any passenger carrying a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device aboard any of its planes. Anyone found in possession of the device will be denied boarding. Neither may the device be shipped as air cargo.
Qantas and Jetstar banned the Note7 from being carried on aircraft, either in carry-on baggage or check-in luggage. Other Samsung devices are not affected.
Yesterday, Etihad issued the following notice: “Following the global recall by Samsung of its Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones, Etihad Airways is enforcing a total ban on these devices on board its aircraft, as some phones have been installed with faulty lithium batteries, which present a risk of combustion and fire. Guests must not carry these smartphones in their checked-in baggage, in cabin baggage, or on their person.
“Etihad Airways apologises for the inconvenience caused. However, the safety and security of our passengers and staff is of the utmost importance.”
US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx issued the following statement in a media release announcing the American ban:
“We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority. 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.”
Written by Peter Needham