In a strongly worded statement, the US Federal Aviation Administration has asked passengers not to turn on or charge Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 during flights. It’s a pretty unusual step by an air-safety regulator to single out a handset as a potential fire hazard. The FAA’s move was in response to dozens of reports of the Galaxy Note 7 batteries exploding or catching fire.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Image source: Samsung.com

Battery issue could badly hurt Galaxy Note 7 sales

Samsung has been trying to recover from the damage to its brand caused by the Note 7 battery malfunctions. Last week, the company said it would recall all the 2.5 million units of its phablet sold so far and replace them with a new one. The mass recall is expected to cost Samsung about $1 billion directly. Analysts believe that it will also hurt the Galaxy Note 7 sales through the end of the year.

Earlier this week, Australian airliners Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia banned the use of Galaxy Note 7 in both domestic and international flights as a precautionary measure. You know that fire and airplanes in the same sentence don’t make for a pleasant outcome. However, South Korea’s air-safety regulator said that it had no plans to take preventive measures or ban the Galaxy Note 7 phablets on airlines.

Samsung discussing the FAA move internally

Samsung told the Wall Street Journal that it was discussing the FAA’s move internally. The Galaxy Note 7 was well-received by users and critics alike. But over the past few weeks, reports of the Note 7 batteries exploding in hotel rooms, garage and other places have done some serious damage to Samsung’s reputation. It will take the South Korean giant about two weeks to prepare the replacements.

While the Note 7 is getting all the bad attention, not all Note 7 units are at risk of battery explosions. The faulty battery packs were supplied by Samsung SDI, which has stopped supplying batteries for the Note 7. According to Samsung executives, less than 0.1% of the Galaxy Note 7 phablets came with faulty batteries. But the company chose to recall and replace all the units worldwide in an attempt to win back consumer confidence.