SAN FRANCISCO – Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, recently the subject of a recall, is now considered a flight risk.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement late Thursday that “strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.”
At issue are the new phone’s lithium-ion batteries, which have burst into flames for some consumers.
Earlier in the day, Florida resident Nathan Dornacher reported that his Jeep caught fire as he was charging his Samsung smartphone. His Facebook post showed pictures of the SUV in flames and what looked like the charred remains of a cellphone. No one was injured.
Also on Thursday, three Australian airlines went ahead and banned the operation and charging of Samsung’s $800 waterproof phone-tablet on all Quantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia flights.
The airlines were not directed to do so by government officials, but rather took the decision on their own after Samsung Australia – one of 10 recall markets – halted sales and began exchanging existing models.
The most detailed explanation from Samsung appears on the company’s U.K. site, which notes that “based on our investigation, we learned that there was an issue with the battery cell. An overheating of the battery cell occurred when the anode-to-cathode came into contact which is a very rare manufacturing process error.”
The airline bans are reminiscent of similar measures enacted late last year after a hot holiday gift – hoverboards - also suffered from exploding batteries. Some airlines allowed the gadgets on-board but not in cargo, while others declined outright to accept.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 went on sale three weeks ago after receiving positive reviews from critics. The Sept. 2 recall affects some 2.5 million units.
The timing of the recall comes at a vexing time for the South Korean smartphone giant, which has long been in a fierce competition with rival Apple.
In the weeks leading up to Apple’s iPhone 7 unveil on Sept. 7, many critics openly wondered if Apple could muster a challenge to Galaxy Note 7, which is waterproof and features a stylus.
Apple’s new iPhone also is waterproof, has new camera features and, for the moment, no issues with its batteries. iPhone 7 goes on pre-order Sept. 9.
Copyright 2016 WFMY