Galaxy 7 Note phones banned from all U.S. flights

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration announced an emergency order on Friday. The ban went into effect Saturday at 1 p.m.  (Central Standard Time).

 Government officials warn that anyone caught trying to fly in a passenger plane with a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 could have their phone confiscated and “may face fines.” If passengers take their Note 7 phones into checked luggage to avoid getting caught, they could face “criminal prosecution.”

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: “We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority. Even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”

Making it even more difficult for customers to trade-in and get refunds for the Note 7’s,  the ban also cannot be shipped as air cargo, according to government officials. Samsung  released the Galaxy Note 7 device in August as a competitor to Apple’s new iPhone 7.  Customers immediately started complaining that some phones were catching fire.

The company explained that faulty lithium-ion batteries were overheating the device and causing it to ignite. Samsung  then recalled 2.5 million devices worldwide in September, replacement phones were offered but some of them were catching fire as well.

Samsung is offering customers a full refund–plus a $100 credit for those buying another Samsung phone. The catastrophe is expected to cost Samsung more than $5 billion.