Samsung Electronics Co. is letting travelers exchange their Note 7 smartphones at special booths set up at America’s busiest airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The program is part of Samsung’s worldwide effort to recall millions of Note 7 phones, which are prone to catching fire and exploding. Customers can exchange the phones or get a full refund.
Regulators have banned the model from carry-on and checked baggage on all U.S. flights and last week said passengers who try to carry Note 7 smartphones onto planes will have them confiscated and might face fines. Samsung is urging customers to get the refunds or exchanges before arriving at the airport.
The South Korean company cut its third-quarter operating profit by $2.3 billion last week after deciding to permanently end production of the troubled smartphone.
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Sea-Tac media relations senior manager Perry Cooper said via email Tuesday that the program is happening there, too, with a table near one of the airport’s checkpoints.
As for the ban, Cooper noted: “It hasn’t been a problem for our operations, as they appear to have gotten the word out well to travelers.”
Samsung, in a statement emailed to The News Tribune on Tuesday, said those seeking more information can call the Galaxy Note 7 hotline at 844-365-6197.
American Airlines Group Inc. said Tuesday that it will take any Note 7 phones discovered at airports and follow existing procedures for any hazardous material. The devices will be held for 30 days, during which the owner can claim them. Southwest Airlines will handle the smartphone as a hazardous material, but won’t hold it for the owner, said spokeswoman Lori Crabtree. Both airlines are spreading word of the Note 7 ban on planes and at multiple airport locations. Airlines also are emailing customers in advance of their travel about the Note 7 ban.
The News Tribune’s Debbie Cockrell contributed to this report.