Detroit Metropolitan Airport police responded to an alert from a GoJet flight, which was about to take off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, over the source of a mysterious local Wi-Fi hot spot, the New Zealand Herald reported.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the plane – operating as a Delta connection flight – was already late for its scheduled 8.10pm departure for Montreal when cabin crew began asking passengers to turn off phones and personal Wi-Fi hot spots.
Flight attendants eventually told the cabin that police would be summoned if they did not comply with requests to switch off devices, passenger Aron Greenberg, 47, told the Press.
To Mr Greenberg’s horror, he could see from his seat that emergency vehicles had already been summoned to the plane and were waiting on the tarmac.
“I, at first, thought there was someone really dangerous on the back of the plane because the pilot said they were dealing with someone in the back,” he said.
Police were allowed onto the plane and two passengers were removed. A 42-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman were arrested and released, awaiting further investigation.
After a five-hour delay, the plane eventually departed.
Curious to know what had caused the drama and long delay, Mr Greenberg asked an exhausted flight attendant who was happy to tell him what had spooked the crew: a personal Wi-Fi network named “Remote detonator” was detected by the crew and was never switched off.
Rather than taking a risk, police were summoned, the passengers and their bags removed before the flight was safe to continue.
“It was definitely stressful, but I think they did a good job focusing on handling the situation,” Mr Greenberg told the Press.
This is far from the first time something like this has happened.
A pilot refused to fly a Qantas plane from Melbourne to Perth in 2014 because a Wi-Fi hot spot called “Mobile detonation device” was spotted by a passenger before takeoff.
The passenger alerted crew and the pilot, who delayed the flight.
“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,” another passenger told the West Australian.