Australian carriers Qantas, its budget unit Jetstar and Virgin Australia have banned the use of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones on board their flights in view of the recent explosion cases surrounding the device and its consequent recall. Customers can bring the Note 7 on flights but they cannot be plugged in to flight entertainment systems, charged or even used on the flight.
"Following Samsung Australia's recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 personal electronic device we are requesting that passengers who own them do not switch on or charge them in flight," a Qantas spokesman told Reuters.
The ban comes after nearly 35 Galaxy Note 7s have been reported by Samsung to have encountered malfunctions most of which were related to battery explosions. The airlines said despite many cases, they initially did not ban the device nor have they received any direction from aviation authorities to do so, but have gone ahead post the recall of the device as they feel it is best for safety precautions.
Samsung, the world's biggest smartphone vendor, has had to recall 2.5 million of the premium devices so far after reports came in of a grave battery malfunction leading the device to burst into flames. In Australia alone, over 51,060 Galaxy Note 7 have been recalled. The company has offered its consumers who paid for the device a brand new Galaxy Note 7 or a Galaxy S7/S7 Edge in place of the faulty ones.
The latest ban comes a day after US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorities also indicated a possible ban of the Note 7 on board flights in the US. Prior to this, airlines have banned hoverboards from planes due to battery-fire risks.
Lithium-ion batteries which have been at the centre of these controversies are often considered a fire hazard. When overcharged, it results in their cells expanding and becoming too hot. When this heat builds up, it sometimes causes the cells to ignite.