A prudent person doesn't ever joke about bombs in an airport. After today, you might want to extend those warnings to a certain flagship Samsung smartphone. According to a BBC report, a passenger on a Virgin America flight from San Francisco to Boston last week labelled his phone's Wi-Fi hotspot as "Galaxy Note 7." Hijinks, of the not particularly entertaining variety, ensued.
The report says that passengers and crew noticed the name of the Wi-Fi hotspot while the plane was in the air, causing the crew to call out asking anyone with the fire-prone phone model to tell them. The Galaxy Note 7 was the subject of a worldwide recall, and the Federal Aviation Administration specifically prohibits any Galaxy Note 7 device from boarding or luggage. A non-returned Note 7 caused a real fire on a Southwest flight in October.
One of the plane's passengers, Lucas Wojciechowski of San Francisco, tweeted the Wi-Fi SSID and some of the crew's announcements from his laptop while it was going on.
The plane's crew and pilots told passengers to surrender the offending Note 7 with increasing urgency, going so far as to say that they might have to make an emergency landing and search all baggage if the phone wasn't turned over. Eventually a passenger came forward and confessed that there was no Galaxy Note 7 on the plane, that he had simply manually changed the SSID of the Wi-Fi hotspot. Presumably it was a joke, perhaps made before the man ever came to the airport, and he may have had no intention to cause a mid-air issue.
Based on reports from passengers of the flight on Twitter, and from other holiday travelers on the ground who anecdotally heard that some subsequent flights were cancelled after the scare, no one was laughing.