Agencies – Etihad Airways said Friday it has temporarily banned the use of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on board its flights following reports of explosions from faulty batteries in some handsets.
“Following the global recall by Samsung of its Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, Etihad Airways has, as a precautionary measure, enforced a temporary ban on the in-flight use and battery charging of these devices on all its flights until the issue is rectified by the manufacturer,” the Abu Dhabi-based carrier said in a statement to AFP.
Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, said last week it was suspending sales of its latest flagship mobile device and recalling 2.5 million units shipped globally following reports of exploding “phablets” that dealt a heavy blow to the firm’s reputation.
US and Japanese aviation authorities on Friday urged passengers not to turn on or charge Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on aircraft.
Qantas and Virgin Australia have issued similar warnings.
Several other airlines said they are taking a closer look at the Samsung smartphones. American Airlines Group Inc., the world’s largest carrier, said it was in touch with the FAA about the phones.
“We continue to review the FAA’s guidance and raise awareness with our employees and passengers about these devices,” said United Continental Holdings Inc spokesman Luke Punzenberger.
Other airlines including Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Qantas Airways Ltd. have banned travelers from powering up or charging the Galaxy Note 7 phones on flights, though they still can bring the smartphones on board.
Air France KLM SA said its flight attendants will instruct passengers not to use the phones at all during flight “in order to limit our exposure to this risk.”
Industry experts said such guidelines may be difficult to enforce because it was hard to distinguish the faulty Galaxy Note 7 from other smartphones.
“Can anybody tell that particular model of phone by sight?” said consultant Robert Mann, noting that flight crew will have trouble verifying if a customer has a faulty Note 7 or a replaced version.

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