Samsung was doing well again – sales of their Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge were strong and profits were finally rising. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 launch went without a hitch and flocks of preorders were received, and sales were so brisk that Samsung had to delay the launch in several countries until production quantities could catch up to demand. Then the unthinkable happened – several of the Galaxy Note 7s caught on fire, and then a few more. Samsung had to suspend sales, did their own investigation, and found out it was a few defective batteries used. Samsung did the only thing they could do and issued a complete recall of all Galaxy Note 7s just as the new Apple iPhone was being released – a marketing nightmare to be sure.
This defect is a serious issue, and it drew the attention of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that many passengers have their smartphones with them when they fly – some store them in with their baggage and others bring them onboard with them. Having an explodable device or fire hazard on an airplane is not a good idea, but thankfully, the FAA did not come out with an all-out band of the Note 7 on flights. They instead said the Note 7 can no longer be charged during flights, users were asked not to use them in flight, and not to stow them in any checked baggage.
Transport Canada decided to follow the FAA guidelines on their own flights – they want them carried in the cabin where any incident can be immediately handled. If a device was down in the baggage area of a plane and happened to catch fire, it could be a real disaster. They also “strongly recommend(s) against using or charging these devices in the cabin of an aircraft.” The Transport Canada Guidelines explain that lithium-ion batteries have the potential to overheat or short-circuit for a number of reasons and a reaction with other batteries stored in baggage may be too much for the aircraft’s fire suppression system. It makes sense to keep the Note 7 with you at all times, where it can be under more stringent control.