LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — If you carry a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly suggests you turn it off before boarding an aircraft. The FAA also warns Galaxy owners not to charge their phones during flight, or stow them in checked luggage.
The reason: a series of explosions involving the device’s batteries.
Samsung recalled about 2.5 million devices last week after reports of exploding batteries. The devices uses lithium batteries, which have exploded and caught fire in other items including hoverboards and laptop computers made by various companies. Lithium batteries have also caught fire in electric vehicles made by Tesla and General Motors.
“I think that’s a smart safety move,” said Samsung Galaxy owner Noha Aljawhary when she learned of the recall and the FAA warning. “Just given the possibility this could happen. You could be putting hundreds of people at risk and I think that’s absolutely the right thing to do.”
Lithium batteries store a great deal of energy in a tiny space. Components are combustible, and if they touch a chemical reaction can start a fire. Those reactions are rare, and lithium batteries power millions of devices – usually with no safety issues.
Samsung’s latest smartphone was getting good reviews, with its water-resistant feature and an iris scanner that allows users to unlock the device with their eyes. But the recall has been a serious reversal for the company.
“I worked in electronics for a lot of years so I kinda know that sometimes they outsource these things so it’s really not their fault that the batteries are having these issues,” said Samsung owner Shannon Ades. “So I don’t think it’s much of an issue.”