United Airlines Passenger Arrested After Joking He Has Bomb While Checking Bag

A United Airlines passenger checked a bag with a sky cap at Chicago O’Hare terminal 1 and joked that he had a bomb in the bag. Police arrested him.

Here’s the thing. Someone with a bomb in their bag doesn’t say they have a bomb in their bag. Friends sent Monica and Chandler off on their honeymoon in the episode where Rachel sold Ross she’s pregnant.

It was scheduled to air shortly after 9/11, so they replaced a scene 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.

Sadly, it’s not really that original a gag.

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.

A former Prime Minister of the Cook Islands was once removed from a flight for joking that he was a terrorist. A Ryanair passenger was once arrested, and the flight cordoned off on a remote part of a runway after joking he had a bomb when a flight attendant wouldn’t serve him beer.

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.

It turns out that you can even be arrested for joking that you don’t have a bomb.

(HT: @crucker)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. You’re kidding me!! What an idiot. He should be arrested just for the fact he’s that stupid!!

  2. one would hope that this saga becomes more widely known…just like yelling ‘fire’ is not a joke in ANY place! (soon after 9/11, we were at the ticket counter when a young man with a backpack made the same stupid remark — and within 10 seconds, 2 security guards had him face down on the floor in handcuffs! if there were smartphones with good cameras back then, a post would have been #1 on social media.)
    the guy in this case was probably thought he was being funny — but was surely not.

  3. It’s actually not true that people with bombs don’t say they have bombs. My middle school was the subject of several bomb threats annually, and a handful of them turn out to be actual physical threats that are defused by law enforcement.

    I don’t support overloading our criminal justice system with people who’ve joked about nonexistent bombs, but the fact is that some bombers DO show their cards.

    So the Seinfeld gag is not quite on point.

  4. I recently opened the United Business card in March 2022 using my SS#. They only asked the nature of my business (rental property) but I wasn’t required to send in any support. After they asked the questions, they approved me. That was my first Chase business card

  5. He’ll probably get more prison time than the lawyer who firebombed a cop car during a BLM riot in NYC.

  6. Guy was indeed being stupid and immature but if that can get you arrested why is David Miller still out running around?

  7. @ David Miller. Well, at least you have a sense of humor. But let’s be clear. If there are any bitches to be had, you’re mine.

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