Airlines aren’t taking the ban against Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 lightly. A clever but highly irresponsible troll by a passenger aboard a Virgin America flight out of San Francisco nearly resulted in the plane being grounded and searched for the recalled smartphone. According to BBC News, someone switched the name of their portable Wi-Fi hotspot to “Galaxy Note 7_1097,” which gave other passengers (and the flight’s crew) the impression that Samsung’s device was somewhere on the plane — and actively being used.
This resulted in numerous urgent announcements from the crew demanding that the owner of the Note 7 speak up. The captain warned that the flight would need to be diverted and land in Wyoming (far from its Boston destination) for an emergency search if no one stepped forward.
Lucas Wojciechowski was on the disrupted flight and took a screenshot of the Note 7 SSID. I can’t speak for the accuracy of his transcriptions, but it certainly sounds like the crew wasn’t happy. “This isn't a joke,” someone reportedly announced to the everyone on board. “We're going to turn on the lights and search everyone's bag until we find it.”
Remember that the Galaxy Note 7 is a potential fire hazard and is officially barred from flight by the FAA. We’re talking a federal crime, here. So while the reaction might strike some as extreme, this is definitely how a crew should respond when they believe a potentially dangerous and banned anything is somewhere on their plane mid-flight. The culprit ultimately fessed up and explained the stubborn prank. iMore’s Serenity Caldwell was at the airport a few hours after the flight arrived in Boston — late.