On Tuesday (August 30), a Southwest Airlines pilot threatened passengers that he would be forced to turn the plane around. The reason: someone on board kept sending nude photos to surrounding passengers, via AirDrop.
Captured in a viral video, the captain told passengers over the PA, “So here’s the deal. If this continues while we’re on the ground, I’m gonna have to pull back into the gate. Everybody’s going to have to get off. We’re going to have to get security involved and vacation is going to be ruined. So folks, whatever that AirDrop thing is, quit sending naked pictures and let’s get yourselves to Cabo.” The video has been viewed over two million times.
For those who are new to it, Apple’s AirDrop function enables anyone with to send an attachment to someone else with an iPhone or iPad within close range (around 30 feet) without having to have their number. You can set your Apple device’s AirDrop settings to “Contacts Only” or ”Receiving Off” to prevent any unwanted file appearances. The Bluetooth technology means that unsolicited pictures sent by a stranger can pop up on your phone in close quarters. For example, a plane cabin. AirDrop gives recipients the option to either open or disregard the image, but many who aren’t familiar with it unwittingly click on whatever they’ve been sent, sometimes with horrifying results. The use of sending explicit photos has been dubbed “cyberflashing.”
Per CNN, there were no more nude airdrops for the rest of the flight, which they report was otherwise uneventful. They report that Southwest Airlines said in a statement that, “The safety, security and wellbeing of customers and employees is the Southwest team’s highest priority at all times. When made aware of a potential problem, our employees address issues to support the comfort of those traveling with us.”