Samsung has opened 'swap and drop' booths at major Australian airports where owners of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone can swap the trouble-plagued device for a Galaxy S7 Edge.
The move comes in the wake of a decision by Qantas, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and most other airlines – to ban passengers from bringing the Note 7 onboard, either in carry-on bags or checked luggage following s pate of incidents in which the devices overheated and burst into flames.
"We are working with airlines and airports in Australia to arrange customer service points within high-traffic terminals where customers, who are unaware of the Galaxy Note7 ban on flights, can arrange an alternative device at the airport," Samsung said in a statement.
The booths will be open from 6am to 8pm at domestic and international airport terminals in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and domestic terminals in Canberra, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.
"Where possible, Samsung Australia will provide an exchange for another Samsung smartphone at the terminal before your departure," the company said.
"Samsung Electronics will facilitate a refund for any price differences between the Galaxy Note7 and the exchange smartphone."
Trade-in that troubled Note 7
Samsung staff at the booths will trade the Note 7 for a Galaxy S7 Edge and connect the two smartphones to copy apps, photos, contacts, music and other data onto the new device – although with that process taking up to 30 minutes, you'd better not be in a hurry to catch your flight.
A worker at one airport booth told Australian Business Traveller that they were seeing several phones returned each day.
Samsung has halted production of the Note 7, which has faced an unprecedented two worldwide recalls since its release in August, and is estimated to face an immediate loss of more than A$1.7 billion due to the global recall, with more to come in longer-term damage to the smartphone brand.
Industry-watchers expect Samsung will now abandon the Note brand entirely, rolling its advanced features and digital stylus will appear as part of an all-new Galaxy S8 line in early 2017.