Top 10 Ways to Know Your Seatmate is an Economist, Not a Terrorist

Over the weekend I wrote about an economist who was temporarily removed from an American Airlines flight for doing math. His seat opponent thought the math equations he was jotting down looked strange, so he might be a terrorist.

The University of Pennsylvania professor was taking a regional jet to Syracuse, which of course is just what you’d expect from a terrorist. As I wrote,

This just underscores the idiocy of “see something, say something.” As Bruce Schneier often says, when you encourage amateurs to do security you get amateur security.

Fortunately the man wasn’t arrested for his weapons of math instruction.

The Economist now offers a guide with top 10 ways to help future passengers know whether they’re sitting next to an economist. Here are the first 3:

1. He refuses to listen to the safety announcement because “in the long run, we’re all dead”

2. He keeps telling you that “there is no such thing” as a “complimentary refreshment service”

3. He avoids prolonged conversation with you because he has a “rational expectation” that you’re an idiot since you chose the middle seat

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. We should be allowed to put dumb Americans in jail on “reproducing while stupid” charges.

  2. And you want passengers to be a main component of not allowing terrorists to take over the plane?

  3. The comment “weapons of math instruction” was priceless!!
    They should then have arrested the idiot & removed him/her from the plane.

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