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.
— Tom Ahern (@TomAhernCPD) November 25, 2022
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.