A Virgin America plane was delayed and almost diverted after a passenger changed the name of their smartphone's Wi-Fi hotspot to "Samsung Galaxy Note 7".

Launched earlier this year, the Note 7 suffered from exploding batteries which, after a botched recall, ended in the phone being cancelled by Samsung and permanently withdrawn from sale. Due to danger posed by the smartphones, they are banned from commercial airlines.

The Wi-Fi network, called Samsung Galaxy Note 7_1097, was spotted by passenger Lucas Wojciechowski aboard Virgin America flight 358 from San Francisco to Boston on 20 December. Cabin crew were alerted and a call went out for any passenger possessing a Note 7 to make themselves known.

Tweeting via the plane's on-board internet connection, Wojciechowski transcribed the cabin crew and pilot's announcements: "If anyone has a Galaxy Note 7, please press your call button... This isn't a joke. We're going to turn on the lights [it was 11pm at this point] and search everyone's bag until we find it."

Fifteen minutes later, the captain addressed his passengers and explained how the plane would be diverted and searched if no one confessed to owning the Note 7. Wojciechowski then reports the pilot as saying: "I don't know if you've ever been diverted at 3am... let me tell you, it is terrible. There is nothing open in the terminal. Nothing."

Shortly after the pilot's final threat to divert the plane unless the phone was declared, an announcement was made: "Ladies and gentlemen, we found the device. Luckily only the name of the device was changed to Galaxy Note 7. It was not a GN7."

The Note 7 saga was embarrassing for Samsung as it was costly. Thousands of the flagship handsets were sold in the US and the company's native South Korea, vast sums of money were spent on a global product launch and widespread advertising was ready to go. But on the day the handset was supposed to go on sale in the UK, Samsung issued the first recall.

A second version of the Note 7, with a mark on the box to show it was "safe", was produced and distributed, but just days later these too started to burst into flames and explode. Samsung then issued a second recall and permanently removed the phone from sale.