The last five years have felt like 20. Samsung’s mysterious case of exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphones might as well be ancient history, but for the 129 passengers and six crew members on an Alaska Airlines flight, it was anything but.
Alaska Airlines flight 751 from New Orleans to Seattle had a scare after it landed on Monday evening, as a passenger’s Samsung Galaxy A21 phone “overheated and began sparking,” an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told the Associated Press. Members of the flight crew used fire extinguishers to deal with the phone, and the plane’s passengers had to evacuate on slides since the interior of the cabin was hazy from smoke.
Alaska Airlines told the AP that two passengers had to be treated at a hospital, but the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Twitter account said only bruises and scrapes were reported. A Samsung spokesperson told Mashable via email that the company is “aware of the situation” and is “conducting a thorough investigation” into the matter.
The Galaxy A21 is a budget-friendly $249.99 Samsung smartphone that came to the U.S. last year, making it four years newer than the infamous Galaxy Note 7 that caused so many problems back in 2016. The Note 7 problems were caused by manufacturing errors related to the battery casing inside the phone, and it got bad enough that the phones had to be recalled. While the Galaxy A21 is a lower-end Samsung phone that doesn’t get top billing in the company’s lineup, the Note 7 was the opposite. Mashable even called it “the best smartphone on the planet” before retracting its Mashable Choice award.
Obviously, we’re glad the situation wasn’t any worse than it was, given the unique dangers presented by a combustible smartphone inside an airplane cabin. Hopefully this is just a fluke and other Galaxy A21 phones don’t start doing this en masse. Exploding smartphones were just one of many horrible things that happened in 2016 that we don’t need to revisit in 2021.