A suspiciously named mobile hot spot let to a long delay of a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Perth last weekend after a passenger discovered it on her phone and freaked out.
Some passengers also requested to be taken off the flight because they were still scared after the device couldn’t be retrieved, likely it was shut off by it’s owner before he could be identified.
The West Australian reported about the incident (access here).
A female passenger is believed to have spotted the hotspot on her phone’s wi-fi menu — titled Mobile Detonation Device — shortly after she boarded QF481 in Melbourne on Saturday.
The woman immediately showed it to the crew, who then informed the captain and security.
Passenger John Vidler said the captain broadcast a message to passengers telling them the flight was being delayed because a “device” was believed to be aboard that needed to be located.
The PA announcement must have lead to the culprit immediately realizing that it might be connected to his network name. Even though (depending on the strength of the signal) it could have just as well have originated from another plane parked nearby. Anyway…
The device was not found and the plane was cleared for take-off.
But Mr Vidler said he and about 40 other travellers felt so unsettled by the experience they demanded to be let off the flight.
That caused further delays as their luggage had to be unloaded. Qantas said there had been no security risk to the plane, which landed safely in Perth about two hours behind schedule.
Had the offending passenger been found there would certainly be an uncomfortable chat with the airport authorities so good on him for shutting it down immediately and go unnoticed.
I can see why some passengers were concerned about it, even if it’s just an uncomfortable feeling inside you. Sometimes it’s easier just to take another flight rather than sit through it and be nervous. One should take this incident as a reminder that a spur of the moment joke at home is fine as long as you rectify it before moving back into public domain such as an airport. It can have consequences!