PSA: Don’t make jokes about security if you want compensation

This has to be the story of the decade (fine, we’re less than two weeks into it, but whatever). A Hawaiian Airlines flight was diverted back to Portland and escorted by two F15 military jets. Why? A passenger handed the flight attendant a comment card that he assumed was going to management. Unfortunately it was perceived as threatening.

So, what exactly did the note say? Citing the court’s proceedings, Fox 12 of Portland, Ore., says the card – in part – read: “I hope we don’t crash and burn,” and “What if the plane ripped apart in mid-flight and we plumited (sic) to earth, landed on Gilligan’s Island and lived through it.”

First of all let me say this in on uncertain terms — this guy is an idiot. He claims it was a “joke” and written to “kill time.” Not sure if that helps his case either. The AP says he might have been “angling for frequent flyer miles,” which may very well land him in prison for up to 20 years or with a $250,000 fine. Someone needs to teach him that there are easier ways to get compensation from airlines. 😉

At the same time, unless he actually seemed threatening (beyond the note), the reaction seems like a bit of an overkill. Two F15 jets? Seriously? I doubt we would have seen the same reaction pre-9/11.

On a different note, the first officer was talking with the gate agent in the galley before a flight this past weekend, and loudly used the word “hijack” followed by much laughter. The air marshal seated in seat 1B wasn’t entertained.

(Tip of the hat to Sam)

Comments

  1. I knew once I heard on the news here that he was angling for FF miles that this would make it to your blog. Meant to send it to ya once I heard. 🙂

  2. How do you know the 1B passenger is a air marshall? Isn’t one of his jobs is to make sure no one know who he is? 🙂

  3. People are idiots. That includes one of my close friends. We were at SFO on our way to catch a flight to D.C for Obama’s Inauguration. My friend has a C-PAP machine which helps her breathe at night. As it is medical equipment it is allowed as an extra carry on.

    Every time she takes it through security they take it away for a few moments and inspect it throughly and I think they do a swab test for explosives or some such.

    As we were putting on our shoes, my friend rolls her eyes and says sarcastically, “Yeah, they take it away every time because, you know, it might be a BOMB.” (!!!!?!?)

    I gave her a very angry look and said through clenched teeth, “Shut.Up. Don’t say another word.”

    I am just so thankful that no one actually heard her. Here we are on our way to Inauguration of all things and she says that in the security area of a major airport. How incredibly and insanely stupid is that? It still anger me.

    I gave her what-for when we were through security. I told her you don’t SAY that word or anything like that. I didn’t even say the word “bomb” while admonishing her. I just used “That word.” You don’t even THINK IT. People have been ARRESTED for even joking around. She really didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation and thought I was being overly dramatic.

    When we arrived in D.C. I pulled up some instances of people being arrested for joking around and saying stupid stuff like that and I think she got it… but damn, that was close.

  4. Tj – yes, you are overly dramatic. Actually I think your companion was very tactful in describing you. Go on self-censoring your thoughts if you wish. But don’t mess with others.

    If someone has gone security-insane & paranoic that doesn’t mean others have to follow.

    Weren’t the examples of people being arrested for saying “stupid things” from China by the way?

  5. Overly dramatic, huh Sharon? Are you daft? It’s not something you JOKE about at any airport. It’s just plain stupid! If I’m being overly dramatic — go ahead and joke about a bomb next time YOU go through airport security and see what that gets you. Go on, I dare you. Then come back here and tell me again that I was being overly dramatic.

    A quick google search about people being arrested in the U.S. and elsewhere after making stupid jokes in airports:

    http://www.infowars.com/st-louis-man-arrested-for-shoe-bomb-comment/
    http://stuartbuck.blogspot.com/2004/02/tsa-detention-is-no-joke.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2004/jan/21/britishairways.terrorism

    http://www.mixx.com/stories/4029004/man_arrested_for_airport_al_qaida_joke_upi_com

    England: http://news.bbc.co.uk/nolpda/ukfs_news/hi/newsid_4281000/4281814.stm
    http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/Caution-for-man-in-airport.5630551.jp
    Philippines: http://www.wayodd.com/man-arrested-at-philippine-airport-after-making-bomb-joke/v/7152/
    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/01/05/bomb-joke-german-airport.html
    http://www.kgw.com/news/Passengers-video-shows-man-escorted-off-Hawaiian-flight-81008702.html

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