The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has advised passengers not to carry Samsung Galaxy 7 in switch-on mode on flights. However, it has clarified that a passenger can carry such a phone on board in switch-off mode and in cabin baggage.
“In light of the recent incidents involving battery incidents with Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices globally, traveling public and airlines are advised not to switch on these mobiles during the flight or stow them in any checked-in baggage,” read a DGCA order issued on Friday in New Delhi.
The DGCA order follows hard on the heels of global aviation regulators like the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and several airlines warning passengers not to turn on or charge their phones because of concerns about the devices.
It is the first time that the FAA or DGCA has warned passengers against a specific device like Galaxy Note 7.
Following a few incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration said it “strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft, and not to stow them in any checked baggage.”
The unusual warning exacerbates the problems of Samsung as it mounts efforts to replace millions of Note 7 phones around the world.
A few international airlines like Singapore Airlines, Qantas, and Virgin Australia have already been telling passengers not to turn on Note 7s or charge them on flights.
Delta (DAL) said in a statement that it would “comply with any directive and are studying this matter.” American (AAL) said it was “in touch with the FAA” regarding the issue.
Korean Air, the flag carrier in Samsung’s home market of South Korea, said it does not so far have any plans to restrict the use of the Note 7 on its planes. It said South Korean transportation ministry officials had met with Samsung representatives and did not issue any guidance regarding the phone afterward.
However, Samsung said a week ago that it was halting sales of the Note 7 and would recall 2.5 million devices in 10 countries, including South Korea and the US. The company will replace them with new Note 7 phones.
This announcement came just two weeks after the flagship phone’s release and days ahead of the unveiling of rival Apple’s iPhone 7 in in response to dozens of complaints from customers that their phones had caught fire while charging. The company said it had investigated the issue and found a problem with the batteries in a small number of Note 7 devices.
US federal transportation rules are said to permit the lithium batteries found in cell phones and similar electronic devices to be checked or carried on board. But recalled or damaged batteries are forbidden.
A comprehensive US ban on using the Note 7 on airplanes could be triggered by an official recall on the product. Such a decision needs to be made by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which so far has not commented on the Samsung phone, a CNN report said.