FAA warns airline passengers not to use Samsung smartphone

(AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. aviation safety officials took the extraordinary step late Thursday of warning airline passengers not to turn on or charge a new-model Samsung smartphone during flights following numerous reports of the devices catching fire.

The Federal Aviation Administration also warned passengers not to put the Galaxy Note 7 phones in their checked bags, citing “recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung” about the devices. It is extremely unusual for the FAA to warn passengers about a specific product.

Previous story: Samsung stops Galaxy Note 7 sales after battery explosions

Some buyers reported their phones caught fire or exploded while charging, sharing the photos of scorched phones on social media. Samsung said it had confirmed 35 such cases in South Korea and overseas.

Last week, Samsung suspended sales of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after finding batteries of some of the gadgets exploded while they were charging. Samsung said it has sold more than 1 million Note 7 smartphones since the product’s Aug. 19 launch. It has manufactured about 2.5 million Note 7 phones so far, some of them still in inventory. Koh said they also will be returned and swapped with new ones.

The company estimated that it would take about two weeks to begin swapping old Note 7s for new phones.

Owners of the phone should call 1-800-SAMSUNG for more information on swapping their device.

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