Boston Flight Threatens to Divert Over Passenger’s Wifi Hotspot Name

There are some pretty clever wifi network names. I boarded a flight once and saw someone’s called “Pretty Fly for a WiFi.” They’re not all clever, at home I can see a neighbor in my building with a network named “condogirl.” At that point just leave the default ATT2sXj6Fk-5g in place.

If you’re on a plane, though, you need to:

  1. Turn off your wireless transmitting devices (use airplane mode) once the door closes

  2. Not name your network “bomb” or… “Samsung Galaxy Note 7”

A passenger on Virgin America flight 358 from San Francisco to Boston failed both of these tests.

As another passenger on board tweeted,

The crew took this super seriously. They made an announcement for any passenger with a Note 7 to ring their call button.

Then they announced, “We’re going to turn on the lights (it’s 11pm) and search everyone’s bag until we find it.”

And the captain came on threatening to divert and search the aircraft on the ground unless the offending passenger spoke up.

That’s when the passenger with the device — not a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 — identified themselves.

The flight did not, however, divert:

The reporting on the incident suggests that the incident delayed the flight — probably as a result of these tweets by a passenger in Boston talking about the incident and an onward flight. However the flight actually landed a few minutes early.

Media’s confusion may also stem from this tweet from a passenger quoting the threat to divert.

Since Note 7 devices have been reported to catch fire, even talking like you have one causes this reaction:

(HT: Paul H.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] I’m sometimes amazed at how stupid people can be. Can you believe some fool almost got their flight diverted because they named their Wi-Fi hotspot “Samsung Galaxy Note 7…”—despite the fact that their device was not a Samsung Galaxy Note 7?! In case you don’t recall, Samsung Galaxy Note 7s made international news when they started catching fire, and airlines banned the phones from their planes. It was so bad that Samsung did a full recall and stopped making them. Here’s the full story of this completely unnecessary near-diversion. […]


  1. The crew did not do the right thing. They should have emptied the toilet as they flew over all the red states. Maybe multiple times if necessary.

  2. @Credit
    Protip: Tossing poo on the Red States is unlikely to get them to change their minds about the Blue States.

    Protip #2: Did you know that there are Liberals in those red states? Like, millions of them?

    Now look at that, you learned a few things.

  3. Rule 1 is correct, but airplane mode doesn’t include disabling WiFi on flights that offer inflight WiFi, except during takeoff and landing.

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