All Things Travel: Hard Landing For Samsung

By Bob Weiss, CBSBoston Travel Contributor

BOSTON (CBS) – Flying from Phoenix to Boston this week, you got the word – no Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on the planes at your seat or in checked baggage.

This was no recall.  It was an order from the U.S. Department of Transportation to ban this model of the cell phone on an aircraft. The penalty if a passenger got caught with the banned phone could be a fine as high as $180,000.

The message was clear – airlines and airports were taking the matter of fires from overheated batteries seriously.

The charred remains of a Samsung phone (Image credit: Action Ambulance Service)

The charred remains of a Samsung phone (Image credit: Action Ambulance Service)

This was evident at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport where passengers were greeted with signs as they entered the terminal. JetBlue check-in employees made the point clear. It was made again at the boarding gate and on the aircraft – no Note 7’s on board.

The fact that the DOT announced the ban, after Samsung’s recall of the phone, made this a more serious matter than what the automobile industry faced with problems.

Massport reported that Samsung had representatives at the airport terminals to advise customers on how to return the phones. Information was also available on a number of web sites.

Any way you look at it, this was a blow to travelers and the company.

Most travelers use smart phones and Samsung is the worldwide leader with about 20-percent of sales. The company started out with a recall of the 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones last month as overheated phones and fires were widely reported.

The cost of the recall and stop in production of the new phone could cost Samsung more than $4 billion.

The long-range effect of this problem will impact the Samsung electronics and business reputation for years.

Samsung may have tried to rush the Note 7 model to market to compete with the introduction of the Apple iPhone 7.

No matter how you look at it, the number 7 was unlucky for Samsung.

“All Things Travel” reports with Bob Weiss can be heard on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

More from Bob Weiss

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