Mobility

More than 96% of Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones returned, FAA drops pre-flight speech

Samsung announced that more than 96% of its Galaxy Note7 smartphones have been returned, and the US Department of Transportation will no longer require pre-flight notifications about the device.

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Image: Josh Miller/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 fiasco may be one step closer to ending. On Tuesday, Samsung announced that more than 96% of the Galaxy Note7 phones had been returned, and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it will no longer require pre-boarding notification to passengers about the device.

After the Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices initially began catching fire and exploding, Samsung took numerous steps to mitigate the problem, including limiting battery life through OTA updates and issuing a recall. The US government eventually stepped in to issue its own recall, and Samsung ultimately decided to push an update that would kill the remaining Note7 devices in the wild.

In October, the US Department of Transportation, of which the FAA is an operating mode, decided to ban the Galaxy Note7 from all US flights. While inconvenient for some, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at the time, "We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk."

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Note7: What you need to know about the recall and exploding battery

The ban came just a few days after one of the devices exploded on a Southwest flight. Of course, this meant that passengers still needed to be alerted to the ban. So, the responsibility fell on flight attendants and other members of US flight crews.

However, crews weren't always given the clearest directions on what to say before the flight. In the multiple times that I flew during that time, I heard the phone referred to as a Galaxy S7, a Samsung 7S, and simply "that exploding Samsung phone." Regardless, the messages got the point across.

But, the FAA has deemed it no longer necessary to continue making the announcement. As of January 10, US airlines will "no longer be required to make a pre-boarding notification to passengers that the Samsung Galaxy Note7 phone is prohibited from transport on aircraft," according to a press release.

Despite the FAA dropping the announcement, the devices are still banned on both passenger and air cargo aircraft. So, if you're one of the few Galaxy Note7 holdouts, don't see this as permission to take your phone on board a plane.

As for the reasoning behind getting rid of the notification, the FAA cited the "high degree of public awareness of the ban," and the efforts of Samsung and wireless carriers in making the ban and recalls known.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. The US FAA will no longer require a pre-boarding notification of the ban of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 on US flights.
  2. The Galaxy Note7 was recalled by Samsung and the US government following multiple issues with overheating and explosions.
  3. The Galaxy Note7 is still banned on all passenger and cargo aircraft in the US, even though the notification will no longer be required.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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