Dear Tammy: What do I tell my clients about this new smartphone travel ban?
Tammy: You can tell them it’s crazy, but it’s true. Effective immediately, travelers are not allowed to bring a Samsung Galaxy Note7 on any flight leaving from the United States. It’s a ban directly from the FAA and includes both the new Samsung Note7 phones and their replacements. Don’t pack them. Don’t try to sneak them in your carry-on or checked luggage either. Even if the devices are turned off they are not allowed on the flight at all. Try to carry it on and get caught and the passenger will face FAA fines and possible criminal prosecution.
This ban started because there of documented cases where Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices have begun to smoke, causing a danger. On one Southwest Airlines flight from Louisville International Airport to Baltimore, a passenger’s device overheated and 75 people needed to be evacuated.
If one of your customers contacts you regarding the ban you should let them know about these changes. If they are trying to board a flight and have a Samsung Note7 on them, they can be denied boarding until they get rid of the device. If they are found to have the Samsung Note7 on them during the flight, a flight attendant will tell them to turn off the device and is allowed to disable any features that may turn on the advice. Then, according to the FAA, they must “keep the device on their person and not in the overhead compartment, seat back pocket, nor in any carry-on baggage, for the duration of the flight.”
This isn’t a joke and needs to be taken seriously. So many Samsung Note7 devices have overheated that they are now considered a hazmat material on the FAA list. This debacle has also cost the Samsung company more than $5 billion. The fault lies within the battery, which the company says that it is trying to fix.
In the meantime, as a travel agent, I would send out an email letting your clients know about the change. This is especially important for those who are traveling outside of the country right now and who may be aware of the change or have access to the internet. A good travel agent makes sure that their clients are well-informed of any changes that could affect their travel.