This week, one Virgin America flight was delayed and another was reportedly canceled after crew members discovered a Wi-Fi hotspot named “Samsung Galaxy Note 7” mid-flight. Ultimately, however, no Note 7 was found on the plane, as the network belonged to another device named to resemble the banned smartphone.
According to one passenger, the trouble began when crew members on a flight from San Francisco to Boston tried to recover the smartphone associated with a network named “Samsung Galaxy Note7_1097” and no one came forward.
— Lucas Wojciechowski (@lucaswoj) December 20, 2016
“This isn’t a joke,” said the captain, according to passenger Lucas Wojciechowski. “We’re going to turn on the lights and search everyone’s bag until we find it”
Eventually, attendants were able to locate the source of the network, but only after the pilot threatened to divert the flight from its original destination in Boston to Wyoming.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we found the device,” said the captain. “Luckily only the name of the device was changed to ‘Galaxy Note 7’. It was not a GN7.”
After the delayed plane landed, iMore editor Serenity Caldwell observed “a huge line of people” trying to fix their itineraries due to the cancelation of the following flight. Staff gave her a similar story.
"The plane was mid-flight when an attendant noticed a wifi hotspot. A Galaxy Note 7 Wifi hotspot." Everyone else makes a horrified face.
— Serenity Caldwell (@settern) December 20, 2016
“I talked to the attendant, and the flight wasn’t diverted, just late,” wrote Saldwell on Twitter. “[C]ulprit wasn’t a Galaxy Note 7, but a phony SSID.”
Wojciechowski later told the BBC he doesn’t think the passenger with the ill-named network was punished, but his or her mistake serves as a cautionary tale to others: When it comes to planes (and other people’s travel plans), exploding phones are no joke.