Skip to main content

It’s final: U.S. Department of Transportation bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7 from U.S. flights

A Samsung Galaxy Note 7, after its battery exploded
Crushader / Reddit
It’s over for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on U.S. planes. As of noon Saturday the smartphone that gave new meaning to no-smoking zones has been banned on U.S. aircraft by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), according to Reuters.

The absolute ban follows earlier warnings against turning on or charging the phone during flight, or packing one in checked luggage. Last week the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the Note 7’s battery “can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious fire and burn hazard to consumers.” The commission further stated that Samsung had reported being notified of 96 Note 7s with overheating batteries.

Safety is paramount. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority. We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident in-flight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”

The Transportation Department warned that passengers who packed the devices in checked luggage raised the risk of “a catastrophic incident.”

The DOT originally threatened confiscation of the phones from any passengers attempting to board an aircraft with a Note 7.  Anyone found onboard with a phone or anyone who packed a Note 7 in checked luggage would face possible fines and criminal prosecution. Later Friday the agency appeared to back off partially, stating that passengers would be “denied boarding” if they tried to board a plane with a Note 7, Reuters reported.

Samsung Electronics dropped the Galaxy Note 7 following reports of fires in devices sent as replacements for the original phones. Samsung has also put together plans for the safe return of the 2.5 million Note 7s including supplying special kits including safety gloves and fireproof bags and boxes. If you have a Note 7 check here for information on how to return the phone safely.

Most mobile devices use lithium-ion batteries, the type in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. U.S. air carriers are stepping up their onboard fire safety precautions against the possibility of Note 7s or any other mobile devices catching fire, including fire-containment bags, special flight crew training, and high-temperature fire suppression extinguishers.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
I’m glad the Samsung Galaxy Note died when it did
samsung galaxy note 20 ultra review rear

The Samsung Galaxy Note changed the mobile industry when it arrived, and it became a firm favorite with a lot of people. Its committed, passionate fanbase is perhaps only rivaled by those who love the iPhone.

But all that was a long time ago, and now in mid-2023, I’m very glad Samsung killed the Note when it did.
The Samsung Galaxy Note needed to die
Galaxy Note 10 Plus (left) and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (right) Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Read more
I did a Pixel 7a camera test — and it’s bad news for Samsung
Google Pixel 7a and Samsung Galaxy A54 cameras

Every smartphone manufacturer updates its flagship lineup annually, packing in all of the best components that are available. For Google, this is the Pixel 7 lineup, and Samsung has the Galaxy S23 series.

However, not everyone wants to — or can afford — to pay flagship prices all the time. Thankfully, both Google and Samsung have more budget-friendly options with the Pixel A-series and Galaxy A-series devices. If you want a good smartphone without paying too much, then these are both pretty good phones to check out.

Read more
Can a $450 phone beat the Samsung Galaxy S23’s cameras? It’s close
Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy A54 in hand

Samsung has a typical release schedule each year that starts with the main flagship devices. After that, there are some new, budget-friendly options.

So far in 2023, Samsung has given us the flagship Galaxy S23 lineup, which includes the S23, S23 Plus, and the S23 Ultra. Though the S23 Ultra is no doubt the most powerful of the trio, the standard S23 is also great for those who want a more compact smartphone that still packs a punch.

Read more