Planes Sitting on Tarmac at Sunset
December 27, 2016

Galaxy Note 7 Wi-Fi hoax causes chaos on Virgin America flight 

A Virgin America flight from San Francisco to Boston had to be delayed and a subsequent one canceled following a passenger's decision to change their Wi-Fi identification to 'Galaxy Note 7'.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 hit the headlines recently after a number of the handsets caught fire, prompting a ban on them being taken on flights by the US Department of Transportation.

The passenger decided to troll the whole plane by changing the name of their portable Wi-Fi hotspot to 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7_1097', making other device users and also the flight’s crew believe the notorious product was somewhere on board.

Such has been the bad publicity regarding Note 7s on planes in recent months (Southwest Airlines had to evacuate a flight in October after one caught fire ) that passengers would be within their rights to be angry with anyone who dumbly brought the Samsung device onto a plane.

But the current incident is less the equivalent of a passenger delaying a plane by being late, and more the equivalent of them delaying it by hiding in an airport toilet and giggling.

Airline Safety is No Joke

Passenger Lucas Wojciechowski told the BBC he opened his laptop and noticed the offending Wi-Fi connection. He then when on to update the public via Twitter from the air.

@lucaswoj The person might not have done this. I went from a Note7 to an S7 and the hotspot is actually still called Note7 on my S7.

About an hour into the flight, crew members asked the relevant person to hit their call button and come clean about having a Note 7.

After no action following the announcement, Mr Wojciechowski tweeted that the pilot then declared the flight may be forced into an emergency landing, saying:

"This isn't a joke. We're going to turn on the lights (it's 11pm) and search everyone's bag until we find it.

Waiting on the ground was Serenity Caldwell, who was waiting to board the subsequent flight in Boston, live-tweeting the incident from her gate.

"When I got to the airport (early) today, I found a huge line of people at the counter to my gate. Turns out, the flight had been cancelled," she wrote.

"It took about two hours for everyone to get their itineraries finally sorted. Finally, they all move on to their new gates and our crew comes.

"They're hanging out while we wait to begin boarding, and one of them lets this slip... the plane was mid-flight when an attendant noticed a Wi-Fi hotspot. A Galaxy Note 7 Wi-Fi hotspot. Everyone else makes a horrified face."

Virgin America declined to comment on whether any further action will be taken against the prankster.


Image credit: Thinkstock