I was wondering how many people were stuck with a Note 7 on their connecting flight when it wasn’t prohibited on their flight of origin. There were no announcements when I flew out yesterday, but they were announcing it repeatedly after I landed in Minneapolis.
A widespread ban on carrying Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Note 7 cellphones on aircraft went into force on Saturday, after U.S. air-safety officials deemed the device to be a potential fire hazard.
U.S. authorities on Friday flagged the ban on carrying the phones in the passenger cabin or aircraft hold, including checked baggage, on all domestic flights as well as those into and out of the country.
The move was followed by airlines in Canada, Asia and other regions where the device had been sold. Carriers contacted by The Wall Street Journal didn’t report any problems in its initial implementation.
Airlines have updated advice to passengers on their websites and are required to advise passengers of the ban before and after boarding. A Samsung spokesperson said it was working with carriers to communicate the ban to passengers.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on Friday that passengers who try to carry the phones onto flights could have them confiscated and face fines of as much as $180,000, or possible prosecution, if they try to evade the emergency order by hiding them in checked luggage.
Airlines in Asia, including Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Qantas Airways Ltd., followed the U.S. lead with their own complete bans, though Europe’s main air-safety regulator left unchanged its guidance that phones could still be carried so long as they were off.
“We believe that our current recommendation mitigates the risk given the very low number of Note 7s available in Europe,” a spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency said on Saturday.
British Airways, for example, warned passengers that the phones couldn’t be taken on its flights to the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong.
The phones join a list of items banned on U.S. flights ranging from fireworks to lighter fluid. It is unclear how many of the handsets remain in circulation after a widespread recall by Samsung, which has ceased production of the Note 7.
Airlines were informed of the move on a conference call with safety officials and the Transportation Security Administration earlier on Friday, just days after aviation authorities said the troubled phones could still be carried in hand baggage so long as they were powered down.
A handful of overseas airlines have already implemented a complete ban on carrying them, and one senior airline executive this week hinted he expected air-safety officials to go further than the ban on carrying powered-off devices that had previously been in place.
“They are clearly dangerous items to carry on airplanes and the industry is moving to ensure that they are not allowed in the cabin, or the hold,” Emirates Airline President Tim Clark told The Wall Street Journal.
The Federal Aviation Administration said its move toward a complete ban followed Thursday’s official recall of the phone’s fire-prone batteries by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The main U.S. flight attendants union welcomed the ban.
Some airline officials said staff wouldn’t be checking on what kind of devices passengers had on board and would rely in part on the ban being self-enforced. Airport X-ray machines can’t identify individual phone types, officials have said.