Idiot renames WiFi hotspot to ‘Galaxy Note 7’ during flight and ruins holiday travel for everyone


Traveling during the holidays is both a test in patience and will. Those with family out of state or overseas know this all too well. Aside from dealing with long lines and turbulent weather, you pretty much have to pray to the gods that nothing goes wrong and your flight stays on schedule. A single delayed flight — or worse, a cancelled one — could throw everything off, bringing about the end of your world (and sanity) as you know it.

So what happens when a would-be practical joker crosses the line of a harmless joke and into something more… criminal? This is something iMore Senior Editor Serenity Caldwell knows about firsthand after what should have been routine travel was completely derailed by someone playing an incredibly insensitive joke.

By now you know the story of the now cancelled Samsung Galaxy Note 7. A flaw in the phone’s design, caused batteries to spontaneously combust (apparently, there wasn’t enough room for them to expand inside the phone), causing smoke, flames, and the very real possibility of catching other things on fire as a result. It didn’t take long before news spread and the Note 7 was explicitly banned from being taken on flights, obviously due to their unstable nature.

So, what happens when someone broadcasts the equivalent of a bomb scare using their phone’s SSID? You can imagine the hysteria. According to Caldwell, she arrived at her gate to learn that her flight had been delayed (several times), before eventually being cancelled. After flight attendants spent the next few hours rescheduling passengers’ itineraries, she overhears the crew talking about what grounded the plane in the first place. It seems a flight attendant noticed a “Galaxy Note 7” WiFi hotspot mid-flight — something that would have forced an emergency landing had personnel not been able to track down the perp who likely had a long talk with TSA upon landing.

Renaming your SSID as a joke isn’t nearly as funny as it was a few years back (remember when everyone was renaming their WiFi to “FBI Surveillance Van”?), but I never thought someone would be dumb enough to take it this far. We still don’t know the age of the person who played the joke, but it’s possible it could have been a dumb kid who didn’t consider the far-reaching consequences his little joke would have on others. In either case, expect a Lifetime TV movie based on the above events to arrive in time for next Christmas. Travel safe, everyone.


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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