Once the Galaxy Note 7 fires started hitting the headlines, several aviation safety authorities from around the world started issuing advisories, urging passengers and crew members not to use the devices on board aircraft. Early last month, the U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India, the Japanese aviation authorities and the European Aviation Safety Agency were among some of the aviation regulators to have issued the warnings because of obvious public safety concerns. However, with Samsung claiming to have fixed the problem by a simple swap of the allegedly flawed batteries, some aviation watchdogs, like the DGCA, started relaxing their restrictions regarding the usage of the device during flights.
Yet, as we all know now, that proved to be a false dawn, and with reports of the supposedly safe replacement units catching on fire also starting pouring in soon after, the South Korean electronics company had to take the extraordinary step of scrapping the smartphone altogether. Now, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, Mr. Anthony Foxx, has announced a blanket ban on carrying or transporting the ill-fated Samsung phablet on all commercial flights in the country. Such a move, although unprecedented, isn’t at all surprising, given the sheer number of people reporting Galaxy Note 7 fires from around the world. According to Mr. Foxx, "The safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority ... We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident in-flight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk".
Following the U.S. Government's decision to ban the Galaxy Note 7 on all flights, Samsung has released the following statement to the media: "Samsung, together with carriers, is working to communicate the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new order to ban all Galaxy Note7 devices in carry-on and checked baggage on flights. We have encouraged airlines to issue similar communications directly to their passengers. Any Galaxy Note7 owner should visit their carrier and retail store to participate in the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program now. We realize this is an inconvenience but your safety has to remain our top priority".
While Samsung has already put an end to the sales and production of the controversial phablet, the company is yet to come up with an explanation for the spontaneous combustion of the devices in the first place. The company is expected to suffer massively because of the fallout from the Galaxy Note 7 controversy. Surveys conducted over the past week have indicated that a significant percentage of current Samsung smartphone owners are already looking elsewhere for their next handsets, and companies like Apple, LG and Google are being tipped to be the biggest beneficiaries of the South Korean company’s royal mess up. It remains to be seen how long it will take for Samsung to regain people's trust, now that the reputation it had so painstakingly built over the past two and a half decades lies in tatters.