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UPDATED: FAA, Airlines Asking Travelers to Turn Off Samsung Phones in Flight

Update, September 18: The FAA has issued updated guidance regarding usage of Samsung Galaxy 7 phones in flight, stating “passengers may not turn on or charge the devices when they carry them on board a plane. Passengers must also protect the devices from accidental activation, including disabling any features that may turn on the device, such as alarm clocks, and must not pack them in checked luggage.” The statement does not mention if any penalties are associated with failure to comply with this guidance. Read the full statement here.

American, Delta, and United are asking travelers to turn off their Samsung Galaxy 7 phones while in flight, citing concerns over the possibility that the phone’s batteries could catch fire and explode.

The move is a step beyond similar recommendations the FAA issued last week.

On Monday, Consumerist highlighted anecdotal reports of these policies. However, American, Delta, and United now have official notices posted asking travelers to turn off their Galaxy 7s, per the FAA’s advice. Consumerist also notes that Lufthansa, Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines have issued similar instructions to their passengers. Chances are more airlines will follow suit.

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Our own Tim Winship explained that the problem is with the lithium-ion batteries used in the phones. These batteries have been implicated in at least 35 cases of overheating and catching fire, which led Samsung to recall over 2.5 million phones.

So: If you have a Samsung Galaxy 7 phone, it’s safe to expect you’ll be asked to turn it off. It’s also probably a good idea to look into the recall.

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By Carl Unger

Contributing Editor Carl Unger believes that every trip is worth taking. He loves an extended trip to Europe as much as he enjoys exploring the towns and landscape near home. Basically, you'll find him wherever there is good food, fresh air, and plenty of stories to bring home.

Carl has been writing for SmarterTravel since 2005. His travel writing has also appeared on USA Today and the About.com Boston travel guide.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "It's not revolutionary, but a small Moleskine notebook is my one travel must-have. It's great for noting things you want to remember and it takes up hardly any space in your bag."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Japan. I'd love to take a month off and visit the cities, temples, and countryside. I'm fascinated by the country's juxtaposition of ancient traditions and modern ambitions."

Travel Motto: “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” –Terry Pratchett

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window."

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