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Airlines add fire-containment bags for overheating devices

New bags designed to hold portable electronics should their batteries overheat during flights.

Nico De Pasquale, Getty Images

If you're worried about flying on a plane where passengers may have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the airlines want you to know it's in the bag.

Airlines have begun installing fire-containment bags on their planes to address the threat posed by overheating lithium ion batteries in mobile devices during flights.

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America have already stocked their fleets with the bags, according to the Associated Press. The bright red bags, which are made of fire-resistant material, are designed to hold portable electronics devices should they overheat or catch fire. Delta said it also plans to install the bags, which can withstand temperatures up to 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The threat posed by overheating devices was underscored by incidents involving overheating Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones, including one that forced the evacuation of a Southwest Airlines flight earlier this month. The FAA had previously advised travelers not to charge or turn on their Galaxy Note 7 while aboard airplanes out of fear of fire or explosion, weeks before Samsung permanently pulled the handsets from market due to a battery flaw that caused dozens of the phones to explode or burst into flames.

In the past 25 years, the Federal Aviation Administration has recorded 129 incidents (PDF) involving batteries smoking, overheating or exploding in cargo or passenger baggage. There have been 23 incidents reported so far in 2016, up from 15 for all of 2015, according to the FAA.