“Mobile Detonation Device” Isn’t A Good Hotspot Name On A Plane…

Filed Under: Security/TSA, Travel

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed from constantly being in different hotels, it’s that people have all kinds of ridiculous names for their Wi-Fi hotspots. Probably the most common is something with “NSA” in it. Actually, I just pulled up the Wi-Fi networks in my “range” right now, and one of them happens to be “NSA Surveillance.” Hah.


Well, you might want to be careful about which hotspot names you use at airports or on planes, as it could lead to a significant delay. That’s what happened to a Qantas flight between Melbourne and Perth on Saturday, which was delayed by roughly 2.5 hours due to a passenger spotting a hotspot with the name “Mobile Detonation Device.”


Per The West Australian, the passenger showed it to the crew, who informed the captain, which lead to the following:

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.

“He said there was a device on the plane that had a name on it that he found threatening and that we were not leaving until that device was brought to him,” Mr Vidler said.

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.

I know airlines have to take all threats seriously, though this is one I’m a bit torn on. First of all, we don’t know whether the hotspot was actually on the plane, or just in the terminal. Second of all, given the trend of people trying to be funny with their hotspot names, I’m not surprised by something like this. So personally while I’m someone who is very security conscious and errs on the side of caution, I wouldn’t think twice about this.

Still, the airline is right for investigating, though I’m also surprised 40 passengers decided to deplane because of this.

Would you be scared if you saw a hotspot with the name “Mobile Detonation Device” on a plane?

(Tip of the hat to Mike)

  1. Even if it was only in the terminal, “Mobile Detonation Device” is a horrible name for a WiFi network. Actually, that’s a horrible name for a WiFi network ANYWHERE.

  2. What the hell is a “hotspot”??

    Anyway, I have grown weary of passengers getting so easily “unnerved.” A guy speaks Arabic? Somebody’s spooked. Skin too dark? Somebody’s spooked. “That woman is wearing a scarf on her head!! I’m not flying with her aboard!!” An idiot airport employee writes “bye bye” in the dirt on a filthy United plane. The crew gets spooked.

    I have personally unnerved a fellow passenger by speaking an “unknown” language (it was Russian).

    It’s gotten comically ridiculous.

  3. My hotspot is cautiously named “NOT a detonation device”, just to comfort anyone watching.

  4. Unfortunately publishing this story only gives this jokester (and others like him or her) what they want.

  5. I’m with @Imperator… the paranoia and lack of common sense is getting out of hand. A wifi hotspot isn’t going to be a “detonation device” in any case….and why would someone planning to blow up a plane, draw attention to their plans? People need to get a life and some common sense.

  6. I don’t have a problem with someone calling their WiFi hotspot this… EVEN ON AN AIRCRAFT.

    Why? Common sense. I’m with @Eric on this one — anyone serious does NOT want to be found out and isn’t going to make it obvious, otherwise they’d be walking onto planes carrying Looney-Tunes shaped bombs on board. Besides, they’d write it as جهاز تفجير المحمول instead of Mobile Detonation Device.

  7. I wouldn’t be scared at all but I would be severely pissed off being delayed two hours over someone’s idea of a joke. It’s not funny and if they are able to find the person who did it, I hope there is criminal punishment.

  8. Agree with the comments above,

    Who would really name the device that if they planned to use it.

  9. Yeah, terrorists would totally name their hotspot “Mobile Detonation Device” because, you know, the other terrorists need to know to what network they connect their devices to – OH WAIT there is no logical reason why anyone would do this, unless it was a joke. Jeez, people need to calm down on airplanes and report things that are actually suspicious.

  10. This is the silliest reason I’ve ever heard of to delay a flight. If passengers wanted to get off the plane, fine, let them. But the pilot should have been the cooler head in this situation. Seriously, if you were bent on destruction would you tell everyone you were ready to blow something up?

  11. I always set my mobile hotspot to “(name of hotel) Free WiFi” when traveling …

  12. I’ve seen “Hey morons, we can hear you having sex”, “FBI Surveillance Van #11”, “yourmomasofat”, “DEA SWAT”, “Pay for wifi u cheap ass” and a variety of others. People scared of wifi names are idiots.

  13. People who want to blow themselves up on an aircraft (or anywhere for that matter) aren’t the brightest bulbs by any means, but no terrorist is that stupid to call their hotspot “Mobile Detonation Device”.

    Can’t believe Qantas delayed an aircraft departure over that. Seriously, common sense is missing.

    I quite understand pulling up and removing anyone who shouts they have a bomb (even if they are only joking – because it can cause panic), but for this lame hotspot name, they should have just made an announcement that it better disappear as they don’t find such bad taste jokes (and clearly that’s all it ever could be) funny and that all devices must be in airplane mode or switched off as soon as the aircraft door closes anyway.

    There was no justifiable reason to delay the flight, especially since no-one was ever going to own up to that, assuming that phone/laptop/pad was even onboard.

    More theatre than security – like most airport screening.

  14. Wifi is not secure, I had my banking information stolen when i was in starbucks one day. Since then I’ve been using arcvpn to secure all my connections.

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