LOS ANGELES – On Sunday, October 26th, a Wifi network suspiciously named “Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork” forced American Airlines Flight 136 to return to LAX shortly after take-off. The unfortunately-named network, which was discovered by a passenger attempting to connect to American Airline’s in-flight Wifi service, was deemed a substantial enough threat to cancel the non-stop flight to London.
According to those on board Flight 136, after returning to LAX, the plane taxied to a remote section of the airport and was held there for three hours. Passengers were initially told that the impromptu landing was due to a maintenance issue, though were also inexplicably asked to keep their electronic devices turned off. The plane was eventually cleared and searched, and all passengers questioned by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. As a precaution, disgruntled passengers – who were subsequently stranded at LAX until 1 p.m. the following day due to a “time out” by the plane’s crew – were also re-screened by airport security and cross-referenced to make sure that no passengers appeared on the “no-fly” list.
The police, who were alerted to the problem at 9:28 p.m., began an immediate investigation, and stated that the owner of suspicious network lives somewhere on the Los Angeles coastline. At the time of press, however, authorities had yet to identify the individual or locate the source of the Wifi Hotspot, and Sgt. Karla Ortiz admitted that no crime had been committed. Officials have since determined that no potential threat exists and have discontinued the search for the owner of the network.
The recent incident involving Flight 136 is not the first time a commercial flight has been disrupted because of an insensitively or maliciously-named Wifi network. Last month, a Southwest Airlines domestic flight was forced to land in Seattle after a passenger noticed a pair of networks named “Southwest Bomb On Board” and “Bomb Location Seat 19E.” To add insult to injury, this prank took place on the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.