On Friday afternoon the Department of Transportation left travelers and airports scrambling when it announced it was banning Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones – which have a problem with overheating and catching fire – from all U.S. airports. A Reddit user grabbed this video of a temporary road sign outside LAX over the weekend. Because the ban came so late in the week and late in the day, the sign was the first some Los Angeles travelers had heard of it.
LAX public relations director Nancy Castles said that the Transportation Security Administration will not allow travelers with a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to proceed through the security line. If a traveler makes it through security (which we all know is impossible because the TSA is the most effective security force on the planet), gate agents have been instructed not to allow anyone with a Galaxy Note 7 to board the plane. What happens to the phone at either point?
“That’s the problem,” Castles said.
UPDATE: Castles says Samsung representatives showed up between 6-8 AM Monday morning. They are staffing tables located at the entrances to TSA passenger security screening at all terminals. Their schedule is 6 AM to 8 PM every day this week through Friday night. They are wearing dark blue shirts with the Samsung logo.
If a passenger with a phone makes it onboard a plane and a crew member sees the phone, the crew member is to instruct the passenger to power down the phone and keep it on their person – not to store it in an overhead bin or back seat pocket or under the seat. Presumably so that if it catches fire, the passenger will know right away as he feels the scorch of instant regret sear into his leg.
Travelers who check the phone in their luggage could find themselves subject to prosecution and fines, according to the DOT, which lists all of its do’s and don’ts here.
So, to recap, if you try to bring your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 with you to LAX or Ontario or Burbank or into any airport, you will be denied boarding, either in the security line or at the gate. Your options at that point: 1.) Don’t travel and go back home and have the saddest staycation ever with your fire phone 2.) Throw your phone away and have the saddest flight ever. Samsung is encouraging its customers to abide by the FAA’s order and posted the following on its website because what the hell else can it do?
As of 12:00pm EDT on October, 15, 2016, you will not be allowed to take your Galaxy Note7 on any flights. This includes both carry on and checked luggage. We ask that you abide by any guidance from the FAA and refer to the FAA website for more information. Because your safety is important to us, if you own a Galaxy Note7 we ask that you power it down and exchange your Galaxy Note7 for another Samsung smartphone or receive a refund, plus added incentives. If you bought your Galaxy Note7 from Samsung.com or have questions, please call 1-844-365-6197.