Words We Can Not Say, Including “Hi Jack”

We have all heard many stories about TSA refusing to allow certain passengers to pass through security, and airlines that either refuse to allow certain passengers to board or sometimes just boot them from the aircraft after boarding.  Chicago’s Daily Herald recently posted this article as a reminder that some people are very sensitive to certain words when flying.

Of course, telling anyone there is a bomb onboard is pretty stupid. Anyone remember the story from Miami about an associate who called MIA to say there was a bomb on board because her boss was running late for a flight and this way, his flight would be delayed?  More recently – and also from Miami – a passenger claimed she had a bomb in her checked bag. Her reason: The bag made the flight but she was running late so this was how she would be able to retrieve her bag. It’s a pretty safe bet that she is now on Delta’s no-fly list since the airline was fined for the flight delay. Of course, this passenger could have simply taken the later flight and picked up her luggage at the baggage claim office but no doubt this never occurred to her.

But sometimes there are extraordinary situations. As the Daily Herald article points out, a gentleman with Tourette’s syndrome just could not stop saying “bomb.” Very unfortunate to hear he was kicked off the plane by the pilot, even though he had a physician’s letter explaining his malady but as we know, many passengers have been removed from planes for far less.

Words like “bomb” or “terrorist” are virtual triggers today, even when using them in a comical sense. Some argue airlines overreact to these terms but the other side says flight attendants and pilots take these words very seriously because their lives are at stake. “Why take chances?”, they say.

In the end, it is still best to avoid terms like this when flying, even if joking. Sadly, this means even saying hello to your friend, Jack.

Also, and this goes without saying, it’s probably not a good decision to dress up as a bomb and try to make it through security:



  1. While I think I understand most cautious actions I think that the Pilots should not eject the person with Tourette’s syndrome after a thorough security check. The rational for the check is that, if a person does say the bomb word checking him is not discrimination.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.