Explosive news, as Samsung recently recalled about 2.5 million smartphones after 35 of its Galaxy Note 7 spontaneously burst into flames.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering banning passengers from taking the device on planes, but the regulator is still pondering on that decision. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and big United States airlines are still in discussion about the possibility of restricting the presence of the Samsung device on flights.
If the regulator and commercial airlines decide to label the Galaxy Note 7 as a hazardous product, passengers will be prohibited from carrying one on board of upcoming flights.
"The FAA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are working on guidance related to this issue," the FAA explains.
The authority goes on to add that if the manufacturer recalls the device, neither passengers, nor airline crew will be permitted to take "recalled batteries or electronics that contain recalled batteries in the cabin of an aircraft." What is more, such devices will be banned from checked and carry-on baggage, as well.
If you find this a tad confusing, you are not the only one.
Despite Samsung recalling the Note 7, the procedure in the U.S. for such a measure is a bit convoluted. To make the recall official, the OEM had to get the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on board since the beginning of the process. Samsung didn't do that, causing federal agencies such as the FAA to figure it out on their own.
Samsung registered about 1 million sold Galaxy Note 7 devices globally since it released its latest flagship in August. In the wake of the device's battery bursting into flames, the OEM has voluntarily recalled about 2.5 million handsets.
According to the South Korean company, consumers will receive both refunds or a replacement product in the following few weeks.
However, as the official recall involving the CPSC was not launched, a number of vendors around the U.S. are still selling the device.
Gizmodo contacted a number of important U.S.-based airlines and asked them if they plan to ban the devices. Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines confirmed that no plan to restrict the Galaxy Note 7's presence on flights exists at this point.
Should the FAA come to a decision to forbid the presence of the Note 7 on flights, this should impact the airlines' policy.
Keep in mind that precedents of products getting banned exist. At the end of 2015, the FAA banned so-called hoverboards, as the self-balancing scooters were notorious for their propensity to overheat and spontaneously go in flames. Since then, passengers can no longer carry hoverboards on any U.S. flights. At the beginning of 2016, the CPSC declared all hoverboards as unsafe.
If a flight ban will strike the Galaxy Note 7, it remains to be seen how it will be put into practice. The simplest procedure could be that TSA agents will scrutinize phones when you pass through the security gates. It should work out pretty easily, in the same way TSA personnel rejects 3.6-ounce tubes of toothpaste.
Until the FAA or major U.S. airlines decide otherwise, the potentially explosive Galaxy Note 7 can sit comfortably in the cabin of domestic and international flights.
Have a safe trip!