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Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji
This can’t fly.
LAST RESORT

Samsung is setting up exchange booths at airports to keep its combusting Galaxy Note 7 phones off planes

By Leslie Josephs

Samsung has a new role: airport security agent.

Representatives of the South Korean company are setting up pop-up booths at airports around the world to exchange or refund customers’ Galaxy Note 7 devices and hopefully prevent the explosion-prone phones from making it on board.

A host of airlines, including Lufthansa, Qantas, and Virgin, have already banned the phones from their planes after the electronics maker announced it would stop producing and selling the model. The US Department of Transportation last week prohibited passengers from bringing the phones on board any flight to, from, or within the United States, and threatened prosecution and fines for anyone who violated the ban.

Samsung said it is setting up its exchange booths “at some of the most frequently visited airports” in the US. The company already has a station at San Francisco International Airport before the security checkpoint, according to the Bay Area’s ABC7 NewsThe Washington Post reported that there are already Samsung booths at airports in South Korea and Australia.

But it would be nearly impossible for security agents and flight attendants to tell safe models apart from fire-prone phones, especially with millions of passengers passing through airports each day. Samsung may be the last effective line of defense.