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Virgin America flights disrupted as 'Galaxy Note7' Wi-Fi hotspot sparks safety scare

Samsung's recall of the Galaxy Note7 continues to drag on, and in the United States - as in some other markets - the company is now working with carrier partners to expedite that process. Multiple incidents in which the handset's battery caught fire and exploded led to the full recall in October.

Safety concerns surrounding the device prompted the US Department of Transportation to ban passengers from bringing a Galaxy Note7 with them onboard any flight, following an incident in which one handset caught fire on a Southwest Airlines jet. And now, it's emerged that those concerns caused disruption on a Virgin America flight this week, after a hoax involving a Wi-Fi hotspot name sparked an onboard safety scare.

As BBC News reports, Passenger Lucas Wojciechowski was travelling on Virgin America flight VX358 from San Francisco to Boston, during which a Wi-Fi hotspot was visible on his device with the name 'Samsung Galaxy Note7_1097'. It appears that a flight attendant had also noticed the name of the hotspot, and - aware of the potential safety issues surrounding the device - informed the pilots.

The captain of the flight made a series of announcements to the passengers, informing them that if the owner of the Galaxy Note7 did not identify themselves immediately, he would order a search of passengers' carry-on baggage until it was found. Alternatively, he warned, the flight may have to divert and make an emergency landing.

Eventually, a passenger did come forward, and admitted that they didn't actually own a Galaxy Note7, but had simply changed the name of their Wi-Fi hotspot to match that of Samsung's fiery flagship. The captain subsequently made an announcement to inform the other passengers that there was nothing to worry about and that the flight would continue to its intended destination.

But after the disruption caused by the hoax, the aircraft's late arrival in Boston led to the cancellation of the next flight that the plane was due to operate. Serenity Caldwell, managing editor of iMore, happened to be at the airport, and tweeted about the cancellation - and the many irate passengers whose travel plans were ruined.

Meanwhile, Samsung has now completed its internal investigation into the problems on the Galaxy Note7, but it hasn't yet made its findings public. An independent investigation recently alleged that the device had obvious design flaws, claiming that Samsung had made insufficient considerations in its slim design for the natural 'swelling' of batteries in regular usage.

Source: BBC News

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