Smartphone users in India won't be able to switch on or charge their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on-board flights, confirmed Indian aviation authorities.
Samsung launched and released the Galaxy Note 7 in August this year. The phablet was expected to attract many customers — it did, but the recent battery explosion issues have resulted in the company recalling the newly released and highly popular phablet.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a warning to airline passengers asking them not to use the Galaxy Note 7 on planes.
A number of Australian airline operators including Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia has restricted the use or charging of the Galaxy Note 7 on their flights.
Now, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India has also banned passengers from using or charging the Galaxy Note 7 on Indian flights.
"In light of the recent incidents involving battery incidents with Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices globally, traveling public and airlines are advised not to switch on these mobiles during the flight or stow them in any checked in baggage," reads a DGCA order.
The Indian aviation regulator has clarified that passengers can carry a Galaxy Note 7 in flights. However, they are not allowed to switch it on or connect it to the flight entertainment system.
In India, customers have the option to use their mobile phones in "flight mode," which allows users to take advantage of various features such as listening to music, playing games and more. However, making calls and connecting to the internet are not possible in the flight mode. Regulations ban the use of mobile phones, even in flight mode, during taxiing, take-off and landing.
The latest bans prohibit users to use the Galaxy Note 7 even in flight mode.
It is common for airline operators and regulators to ban passengers from carrying potentially hazardous substances on board. However, this is the first instance where regulators have banned the use of a specific model of a mobile brand to be used on flights.
Previous reports suggest that the entire battery explosion issue of the Galaxy Note 7 and its subsequent recall may have cost Samsung about $1 billion.
People who have already received their Galaxy Note 7 can still get a replacement. However, many customers who have placed an order and have been waiting for the handset to arrive are left disappointed.
In India, Samsung will be compensating such customers with a free Gear VR, which is worth about $110 in the country, along with the Galaxy Note 7.
It remains to be seen how swift Samsung can replace the faulty Galaxy Note 7 and convince aviation authorities across the world that the phablet is safe to be used on flights.