Three Australian airlines have banned the use of Samsung's Galaxy Note7 on their flights, due to serious safety concerns surrounding the handset.
In recent days, it emerged that the United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering a similar ban for the Note7, after a growing number of incidents in which the new flagship phone caught fire, and some in which its battery exploded.
Samsung has recalled the handset, but hasn't initiated 'official' recall procedures in the US, which would involve the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Samsung's failure to do so means that the device remains on sale at some US retailers, and the absence of an official sales ban has left the FAA in a gray area in deciding how best to respond to the possible threat that incendiary incidents could cause to passenger flights.
But Qantas Airways, Jetstar and Virgin Australia are taking no chances when it comes to ensuring the safety of their passengers. As Reuters reports, the three airlines were not directed to introduce the ban by Australian authorities, but chose to do so as a precautionary measure.
Passengers on all three carriers are being allowed to carry the Note7 with them on flights, but are being instructed to keep the handset switched off, and disconnected from at-seat chargers on those aircrafts that offer that feature.
A Qantas spokesperson said:
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.
It's not yet clear if other airlines intend to impose similar restrictions. Over 2.5 million Galaxy Note7 handsets have been sold so far in ten markets around the world.
Update: The FAA has issued the following statement:
In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 [sic] 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.