DARCIE MORAN | DETROIT FREE PRESS | 4:13 pm EST January 17, 2020
The name of a WiFi hot spot caused police to remove two passengers from a plane Thursday at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Law enforcement, out of an abundance of caution, responded to the airport for a departing GoJet flight operating as Delta Connection, Wayne County Airport Authority spokeswoman Lisa Gass in an email early Friday.
The flight was already running behind from its about 8:10 p.m. departure time when flight attendants began repeatedly asking for passengers to turn off their personal WiFi, said Aaron Greenberg, 47, of Seattle who was taking the flight on his way to a work meeting in Montreal.
Then flight attendants announced that they’d be calling police if personal WiFi wasn’t turned off, Greenberg said.
It was a nerve-racking moment when an estimated 10 emergency vehicles with flashing lights surrounded the plane, he said.
“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,” Greenberg said.
After the plane stopped, police boarded and took two people off, Greenberg said. Police and the pair returned and two other people – a man in shorts and a woman, both who appeared to be in their 30s – were then removed from the plane, he said.
Police took the two passengers’ bags and they never returned, Greenberg said. A flight attendant told him there was a personal WiFi called “remote detonator” that was never turned off.
Gass could not confirm the name of the WiFi hot spot, but said both removed passengers – a 42-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, both from Quebec – were released following the incident, pending further investigation.
In all, passengers were kept on the plane for more than three hours, Greenberg said. As of 1 a.m. Friday, he was waiting to re-board the plane to take off.
By 1:40 a.m., the plane had departed, said Gass.
“It was definitely stressful, but I think they did a good job focusing on handling the situation,” Greenberg said.
Photo by: Aaron Greenberg – Police remove bags from a flight at Detroit Metro Airport on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 during a delay over concerns with a WiFi hot spot name.