There’s plenty of stuff the FAA says you can’t bring on a plane with you: dynamite, self-inflating rafts, gasoline (oh great, how am I supposed to pass the time on a cross-country flight now — huff a Sharpie?).
But the agency is now urging passengers to add the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to the list, asking that anyone airborne not use or charge their Note 7 while in flight, nor check the phone in their luggage. It should be noted this isn’t an official ban, simply a strong recommendation from the from FAA.
Still, it’s rare for the FAA to single out a certain product like this. In a statement, the FAA said:
In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage
Overall, the statement is likely the FAA continuing to be leery of any sort of lithium battery, which have caught fire onboard in the past (including an iPhone 6 in midair earlier this year). It was the driving decision behind the FAA’s decision to ban hoverboards last year.
Samsung has issued a worldwide recall of all Note 7s, promising to replace all of them, though the company has yet to isolate what exactly is causing some phones to catch fire.
All this comes at an incredibly bad time for Samsung. Both of its flagship phones, the Galaxy S7 and the Note 7, got high marks from reviewers, and the South Korean firm was poised to offer miffed Apple consumers a luxury smartphone containing the novel and groundbreaking tech of a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Both phones are a pleasure to use, with the Note being particularly notable for having a massive screen that you can realistically use one-handed, along with a sharp OLED screen. But Samsung has now halted all new sales of the Note 7 until it can figure out what exactly is going on.
If you’ve got a Note 7, I’d strongly recommend sending it back on in. The number of phones catching fire has been statistically small, but you don’t want to be that one unlucky owner who sees their car or garage go up in smoke due to a faulty battery.