Even with a global recall in place and a series of software updates designed to brick any remaining devices, the FAA continued its ban on Samsung’s phablet, and frequent travelers grew accustomed to hearing about the warning before take-off.
With the recall nearly complete, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced that those announcements are no longer necessary.
In a press release, the Federal Aviation Administration said that while the ban remains, the DOT has “removed the requirement for air carriers to specifically notify passengers about the Note7 phone immediately prior to boarding due to the high degree of public awareness of the ban since issuance of the emergency restriction/prohibition order, as well as the extensive efforts by Samsung and U.S. wireless providers to make all Note7 users aware the phone is recalled and banned from transport on U.S. aircraft.”
In a separate release, Samsung revealed that more than 96 percent of the devices had been returned.
Last month, Samsung announced it would be pushing out a software update that would prevent the ability to charge Note7 batteries, the last of which was due to arrive Jan. 8. Despite Samsung’s efforts, however, the Note7 remained a major headache for travelers.
Just last month, a Virgin Atlantic flight to Boston was nearly grounded after someone renamed their portable Wi-Fi hotspot SSID to “Galaxy Note 7_1097” as a prank.
Reports say that the device’s extreme thinness likely contributed to the explosions, but Samsung has yet to publicly release the results of its investigation.
At its CES keynote presentation last week, Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics America, addressed the debacle and said the company would be releasing its findings soon:
“Some of you were directly impacted and certainly many of you saw the media coverage surrounding the Galaxy Note 7. We continue our intensive efforts internally and with third-party experts to understand what happened and to make sure it does not happen again.”
Why this matters: The effect of the Note7 saga has been felt far beyond the millions of people who bought one, and airline passengers will be able to rest a little easier knowing that there are fewer and fewer devices out there to risk disrupting their flights.
And now that nearly all of the handsets have been returned, Samsung needs to explain what happened and the steps being taken to ensure it will never happen again as it continues to work to repair consumer trust.