Passenger On Delayed Flight Arrested For Telling Gate Agent “This Airline Should Be Bombed”

On Monday a frustrated passenger on Thai Vietjet’s flight VZ305 from Phuket to Bangkok decided to unload some steam and muttered “I think this airline should be bombed” as the gate agent checked his boarding pass.

The gate agent reported being “frightened by the comment” and she had another employee inform airline management and airport security, who responded and arrested the passenger for violating Section 22 of Thailand’s Air Transport Act by “making a false remark which may cause panic.” For his part he just called it “a ‘slip of the tongue’ out of anger.”

Credit: Achadtaya Chuenniran

The movie Airplane! isn’t embedded in the culture of Thailand the way that it is in the United States (this isn’t really a ‘deleted scene’ despite what the person who uploaded it to YouTube says):

At the same time though, isn’t it obvious that someone who makes an off-handed remark about a bomb, or jokes about a bomb, without actually threatening one doesn’t have a bomb? An actually-deleted scene from Friends makes this very important point.

Monica and Chandler headed off on their honeymoon in the episode where Rachel told Ross she’s pregnant. But since it was scheduled to air shortly after 9/11, they didn’t show the part at airport security where Chandler makes a joke about a bomb and winds up in questioning.

I was just making a joke. I know the sign says no jokes about bombs, but shouldn’t the sign really say “no bombs.” I mean isn’t that the guy we really have to worry about here, the guy with the bombs? Not the guy who jokes about his bombs, not that I have bombs, because if I did I probably wouldn’t joke about about them. I’d probably want to keep that rather quiet.

Of course it’s not just ‘bomb’ or ‘hi, jack’ that may get you in trouble. In 1972 George Carlin first listed 7 dirty words, the words you can never say on television. But there are a lot more words you cannot say in an airport or on a plane without risk.

Even naming your wifi hotspot ‘Samsung Galaxy Note 7″ or ‘bomb on board’ can get you in trouble. Even someone saying ‘bomba’ on a United flight got passengers deplaned in 2018. Snapchatting a friend that you’re a ‘terrorist with womens’ hearts can be enough to cause trouble, if your seat opponent can see your screen.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I teresting youma tion wor “bomba: In some languages it means a bomb but I have seen a firemen car in Malaysia with BOMBA writing so maybe in malay it has differentmeaning.

  2. While people who say things like this likely don’t actually pose threats, you can’t take the chance. Everyone with an IQ of higher than 4 knows what will happen to you if you pull crap like this. Even if you don’t pose a threat yourself, this kind of thing can cause a panic. This guy’s an idiot, and I have no sympathy for him.

  3. Never has a “Friends” segment roused my curiosity to this extent: I’d never seen “highjack” spelled that way.

    Of the four explanations of the term’s derivation here (,,-1420,00.html), only the third supports the “high” alternative.

    But an explanation here ( definitely points to that: “high jackers” were pilferers of high-grade “jack” (zinc ore) from mines.

    Back to the point, I would not want to be on a plane with someone who has used that kind of language.

  4. all the things that happen instead of actual law enforcement… Neither federal marshals nor the TSA has ever caught a terrorist. But they can’t just sit on their hands, they have to pretend like they are doing something. I guess people who make an offhand comment or a joke are going to have to get dragged from planes and interrogated, put on no-fly lists etc.
    To state the obvious, on 9/11 the hijackers did not talk about what they were going to do, and probably did not tell any jokes either.

  5. Perhaps one of the reasons the previously popular Bombe Alaska is rarely seen on desert menus these days: no one wants to utter the words.

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