This year has been rough for Samsung. First the company delayed the release of its Galaxy Note 7. Then reports flooded the media about the Note 7's exploding batteries. Then the phones were recalled and replaced. Finally they recalled the replacement phones, and the Galaxy Note 7 was discontinued altogether.
To add insult to injury, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently banned the Note 7 on any flight coming through the United States. Let's not say the "B-word," but a small, potentially explosive device would probably not bode well with TSA officers. Technically, the DOT refers to these phones as "forbidden hazardous material." Ouch.
Here's footage of one Samsung phone dissolving in an owner's hand.
In response, Samsung has set up shop in airports around the world to personally hand out refunds for Note 7 devices. The company started erecting airport booths in such nations as South Korea and Australia, where frustrated customers could forfeit their useless phones before boarding.
Airports around the world started banning the phones shortly after their defective technology came to light, underscoring just how popular the Note 7 was before the batteries were exposed. This policy has left many travelers with a difficult decision: Do they simply drop their phone in the trash? Do they stick their phone in an envelope and send it to their home address? Some travelers have tried stuffing their Note 7s deep inside their luggage, hoping that security won't catch it. But knowingly hiding your Note 7 could lead to prosecution and hefty fines.
Samsung may start opening similar booths across the United States, and there have been reports of Samsung reps making exchanges at San Francisco International Airport. Samsung sold more than 2.5 million Note 7 phones, and the public has been slow to respond to the recall. There are many Note 7s still in circulation, and getting stranded in the airport with the forbidden technology will put a lot of customers in a compromising situation.
But even if the booths pop up in all major hubs, the best decision for frequent travelers is to simply make an exchange right away. Samsung has detailed instructions on its website for how to replace your phone and receive maximum credit. The number of batteries that has actually disintegrated is fairly small, but some customers have reported injuries and attributed dramatic fires to the defective batteries. So if you have a Galaxy Note 7 in your possession, you should find a new phone as soon as possible.