U.S. air safety regulators are urging air travelers to refrain from charging, turning on, and packing their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after reports of the newly released devices exploding and starting fires.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) unusual announcement stated that “In light of recent incidents and concerns” about Samsung’s new smartphones, it “strongly advises passengers” to refrain from activating or charging them onboard aircraft and “not to stow them in any checked baggage.”
The FAA advisory is the latest measure the FAA has taken to address the risk posed by the proliferation of devices powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that have been known to overheat, catch fire, and even explode due to manufacturing defects or poor charger configurations.
Incidents involving volatile electronic devices such as hoverboards and e-cigarettes have already caused multiple flight diversions.
Last week Samsung recalled all the 2.5 million Note 7 smartphones it sold since its launch date Aug. 19. The device was shipped to the U.S., South Korea, and eight other countries.
So far the company has received more than 35 reports of Note 7s exploding or catching fire. The reported incidents have not been linked to any personal injuries, just property damage.
The South Korean electronics manufacturer believes the problem stems from the batteries provided by one of two suppliers and estimated that 1.7 percent of the smartphone are affected by one of the bad batteries.
Samsung initially offered no recommendations for Note 7 owners when it announced its plans to recall the devices. On Friday the company said that everyone should stop using their Note 7s immediately and swap them for another device until the replacements are ready. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also advised consumers to stop using the devices and said it is working with Samsung to develop an official recall as soon as possible.
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