Samsung has more to worry about than cheap shots from competitors. The Galaxy Note 7 recall might cost it in excess of one billion dollars when all is said and done, and in the meantime, the bad publicity just keeps pouring in.
Three airlines in Australia are now requesting passengers to abstain from charging or even powering on their Galaxy Note 7’s while on board of their planes.
“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 represented told Reuters.
The three airlines are Qantas, its budget arm Jetstar, and Virgin Australia. According to the airlines, the ban is a measure of precaution and was not enforced at the behest of Australian aviation safety authorities.
At least one Galaxy Note 7 fire incident has been reported in Australia so far –a businessman’s device caught fire while charging, causing minor injuries and 1400 AUD in damages to the user’s hotel room.
The Australian airline ban is another stain on Samsung’s reputation, but it’s relatively minor compared to the embarrassment that a similar ban could cause in the United States. According to a statement sent to Gizmodo, the US Federal Aviation Administration is “working on guidance related to the issue.”
“If the device is recalled by the manufacturer, airline crew and passengers will not be able to bring recalled batteries or electronics that contain recalled batteries in the cabin of an aircraft, or in carry-on and checked baggage.”
The situation is not very clear, because Samsung isn’t actually conducting an official recall, to the chagrin of consumer advocacy organization Consumer Reports. It’s not clear whether the FAA was talking about an official recall that requires the involvement of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission or Samsung’s own recall, which is currently underway.