Flight is bombarded with pictures of penises by Airdrop; pilot threatens to return

Tourists traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, had a somewhat immoral idea while waiting for takeoff: send nudes to the iPhones of people nearby, using Apple’s Airdrop technology. The joke got so out of control that the pilot had to intervene, threatening to return the plane to the boarding gate.

After receiving complaints from passengers and crew, the pilot used the loudspeakers to ask for the unwanted sharing to stop. The moment was captured on video by passenger Teighlor Marsalis, who posted it on TikTok and has already had more than 2 million views:

“Well, that’s the deal. If this continues, I’m going back to the gate, everyone will have to disembark, security will be involved and your vacation will be ruined. So guys, whatever you’re doing at Airdrop, stop send nude photos and let me take you to Cabo,” said the Southwest Airlines pilot. The exact date of the incident is not known.

The passenger who recorded the incident explained to Insider that the pilot’s threat was made after a passenger, who was given a picture of a penis, complained to flight attendants. Marsalis himself also received requests via Airdrop, but did not accept them.

How to protect yourself?

Airdrop is an Apple service that allows iOS system users — iPhones, iPads, Mac computers and notebooks — to exchange files easily and quickly, without the need for a direct internet connection. It combines different technologies such as Bluetooth (to locate nearby devices) and Wi-Fi (creating a network with the receiver) to transfer the data.

To use, just be close and with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on. But it’s not a fully open gate: the file (photo, video, link, app) doesn’t arrive automatically. When someone wants to send you something, a notification like “so and so wants to share a photo” appears — which you can accept or decline.

In addition to this barrier, it is possible to configure who can “see” you around. From the factory, the devices arrive with the “All” option activated, but it’s easy to change it and even block the feature:

  • Tap Settings > General.
  • Tap AirDrop and select an option (All, Contacts Only, or Inactive Receive)
  • The same process can also be done from the Control Center, swiping down from the top right corner of the screen (models from iPhone X).

It is worth remembering that nude images, sent without the consent of the recipient, are considered a crime in several countries. The digital practice is nothing new and has become known as “cyberflashing” (in English, “flash” is a term used to refer to the act of suddenly and without permission showing private parts to another person), which can result in high fines. and even prison.

In June, also on a plane, a man was arrested by the FBI after sending photos of his penis to several passengers, including a child.

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