SMH. SMDH. Someone recently boarded a Virgin America flight with the bright idea of leaving on a Wi-Fi hotspot named “Galaxy Note 7_1097” Since that device is banned from all planes in any capacity, the pilot rightly decided to divert the plane in an effort to focus on passenger safety. The fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 isn’t a device you want on any flight.
According to BBC, the plane’s crew came across the loudspeaker and asked the owner of the phone to page the flight attendants using the in-seat call button. Nobody called the flight attendants and the phone appeared to still be broadcasting a Wi-Fi hotspot. The pilot came on the speaker next.
“This isn’t a joke,” the pilot said, according to BBC. “We’re going to turn on the lights (it’s 11pm) and search everyone’s bag until we find it.” That didn’t do enough convincing. The passengers all remained mum. “This is the captain speaking. Apparently the plane is going to have to get diverted and searched if nobody fesses up soon.”
That’s when someone finally admitted to owning the device. He or she wasn’t carrying a Galaxy Note 7 but, rather, had simply named his or her phone’s hotspot to suggest it was indeed that device. My guess is it was some sort of prank, perhaps meant for use in another location and accidentally forgotten about until it was spotted on the flight.
BBC said this ultimately led to the delays and even a flight cancellation. Yikes.
Update: Virgin America provided us with this statement, disputing claims made to BBC that any flights were delayed or canceled:
“The U.S. Department of Transportation has banned the transport of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 onboard all U.S. aircraft, and Virgin America actively informs guests that they should not bring these devices onboard. As such, when our InFlight Teammates see potential evidence of this device onboard, they take it seriously. In this case, there was no such device – the safety of the passengers and crew was never in question. And to clarify in your article, no flights were cancelled or delayed as a result.”