US order bans Samsung Note 7 phones on flights

Under an emergency US order by the US Department of Transportation (DoT), passengers carrying Samsung Note 7 smartphones on flights could have their devices confiscated and also face fines. The order significantly increases the restrictions on the devices linked to almost 100 incidents of overheating and fires.

The devices stand banned on board passenger or cargo aircraft even after they had been shut off, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration  and the Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday.

Each of the 1.9 million Note 7s sold in the US will be covered under the restrictions starting at noon New York time on Saturday.

''We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,'' US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. ''We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident in flight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.''

Samsung said today that it was halting production and sales of the device following a number of incidents with a supposedly fault-free version of a faulty lithium-ion battery used in the device.

According to the company's  estimates the crisis would cost it $5.3 billion in profits.

The government has called on passenger to comply with the order.

''Passengers who attempt to evade the ban by packing their phone in checked luggage are increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident,'' the DoT said in a release. ''Anyone violating the ban may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines.''

People who had the phones on their person and were travelling have been urged by the government to contact Samsung or their wireless carrier ''immediately'' to arrange for a replacement phone.

The Note 7s is now considered ''forbidden hazardous material'' under US law and people carrying the phones would be prohibited from boarding an aircraft according to the release.