UAL halts flight and kicks off teen who used AirDrop to share photo of gun with fellow passengers

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UAL halts flight and kicks off teen who used AirDrop to share photo of gun with fellow passengers

With Apple’s AirDrop feature, an iPhone user can send photos, videos, documents, and other files to other iPhone units nearby via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Back in 2018, some iPhone users were busy sending sexually explicit images to other random iPhone users riding the New York subway using AirDrop, a process  known as “cyber-flashing.” You might recall that Wall Street Journal tech reporter Joanna Stern was one of many subway-riding iPhone users who received, as she put it, a photo showing some guy’s “junk.”

There are ways to prevent your Apple iPhone from receiving randomly sent AirDrop messages without disconnecting Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on the handset. Going to Settings > General > AirDrop will allow you to make your phone discoverable to “Everyone” or your contacts only. Unless your contacts list is made up of perverts, your best bet is probably to use the latter setting to limit the number of iPhone users with the ability to send you a message via AirDrop.
You might wonder why, nearly three years after iPhone users started receiving sexually explicit AirDrop messages, we are telling you how to block such fare from being sent to your device. Here’s the answer; according to NBC Bay Area,  this past Thursday United Airlines flight 2167 from San Francisco to Orlando was getting ready to take off when several passengers on the plane received a photograph of an airsoft airgun via the AirDrop feature on their iPhones.

While these guns do not shoot bullets, they can cause fatalities which made the photograph an implied threat and a serious one at that. Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said that a fellow passenger onboard the aircraft was responsible for sending the image of the airgun. Authorities discovered that a teen passenger on board the plane was behind the scare. San Francisco International Airport officials stopped flight 2167 from taking off, escorted all of the passengers off of the airplane to be re-screened, and inspected the aircraft for a second time.

Law enforcement officials later determined that the picture of the airgun was not taken at the airport and was shot (no pun intended) at an earlier date. The unidentified teen did not have the gun on his person when he boarded the plane, and airport spokesman Yakel said that the passengers were screened again and while they were allowed to re-board the plane, the teen was not allowed to re-board the aircraft “out of an abundance of caution.” The plane was later given the green light for take-off by the tower and arrived in Orlando without incident.

The airgun does look like a real gun, enough for law enforcement and aviation officials to be concerned about a possible motive. The photo at the top of this story shows a real weapon at the top with the airsoft airgun seen at the bottom of the photo.



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