The US government has banned the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones from all flights across the country, citing safety concerns after some of them burst into flames.
The Department of Transportation made the announcement on Friday, after a significant number of the Korean tech giant’s flagship phones exploded over the past month.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a statement on its website, urging “passengers on-board aircraft to power down, and not use, charge, or stow in checked baggage, any Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices, including recalled and replacement devices.”
Prior to the notice, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission had also warned against using the device.
Government regulators have warned that passengers who try to sneak in their Note7 phones by hiding them in their checked luggage will face “criminal prosecution.”
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement that, despite inevitable inconvenience for some passengers, the decision would ultimately guarantee passengers’ safety.
Samsung first tried to fix the problem by recalling over 2 million potentially faulty phones, but some of the replacements also exploded, leaving the phone maker no choice other than halting the extremely popular phablet’s production altogether.
“(We) have decided to halt production and sales of the Galaxy Note7 in order to consider our consumers’ safety first and foremost,” Samsung said in a filing to the Seoul stock exchange on Tuesday.
In addition, the company has issued an alert, asking users to immediately turn off their devices.
Aside from the FAA, American courier services companies such as FedEx and UPS have also banned the Note7.
Dozens of Note7 phones have spontaneously caught fire ever since the feature-rich device’s unveiling on August 2, burning a nearly $3 billion hole in Samsung’s bank accounts.
The Korean company has been engaged in a controversial rivalry with American smartphone maker Apple. The news is expected to boost the sales of Apple’s new phone, the iPhone 7, which is Note7’s direct rival.