Question: You said the US had banned Samsung Galaxy Note7 from flights.
But weeks ago when I flew to Havana and back several weeks ago on Virgin Atlantic, we were warned to keep them switched off. So what’s changed?
Answer: The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been a disastrous product for the manufacturer. After some of the batteries in them exploded, Samsung issued replacements. But some of these have been combusting too. As a result, the 2.5 million new smartphones have been recalled, with customers being given a full refund.
Each country sets its own rules for what’s considered risky to take on, or use aboard, an aircraft. Since the Note 7 was identified as a potential threat last month, the usual position has been: you can take them on board, but not in checked luggage (in case they cause a fire in the hold, which cannot be accessed), and must keep them switched off, and not charging, throughout the flight.
As of this week, though, the smartphones are officially classed as “forbidden hazardous material” and banned from all flights to, from or within the US.
That prohibition applies even if you are flying on a non-US airline, such as British Airways or Virgin Atlantic.
The US Department of Transportation says: “Passengers who attempt to evade the ban by packing their phone in checked luggage are increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident.”
In other news, Fiji Airways, the Pacific island country's national carrier, has imposed ban on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices on all of their flights amid safety concerns, the government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.