Sweet mother of pearl and by all things deserving of a facepalm moment — why, why why why would you ever call in a fake threat to an airline just to prank your pal* on his 29th birthday? In case you were considering doing so, your plan has already been pulled and resulted in a US Airways flight bound for Dallas-Fort Worth returning to Philadelphia, much to the likely annoyance of the entire rest of the plane.
Philadelphia’s chief inspector for the police says a 29-year-old man was removed from the flight in handcuffs all because his friend thought it would be just hilarious to call in a fake security threat for his buddy’s birthday.
“He was obviously very alarmed as I would be if heavily armed police officers entered a plane to take me off, he was certainly stunned. That is why this is no joke, this is no laughing matter,” said the inspector.
Apparently, the friend had called in an anonymous warning to the airport police, claiming that there was a man on a US Airways flight who was attempting to smuggle a dangerous substance aboard. He gave his pal’s name and officials quickly conferred with the FBI and US Airways and decided to turn the plane around mid-flight.
NBC Philadelphia says the subject of the prank was apparently unaware that he was the reason his flight was turned around, posting on his Facebook page:
“I’m pretty disappointed in US Airways currently. We just spent a half hour in the air to be notified that the plane, “has technical difficulties” and had to fly back! Flight 1267 CANCELED.”
Cops say the victim of the hoax won’t be charged, but intimated that his friend is probably in some deep you-know-what. And if the legal system doesn’t smack him hard enough, he better hope he never runs into any of the inconvenienced 69 passengers on that flight.
The Transportation Security Administration released the followed statement regarding the incident:
“US Airways flight 1267 from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport, returned to PHL this morning due to a report of a suspicious item on board. The flight landed safely at approximately 8:40 a.m., Eastern time and out of abundance of caution, was taken to remote area of the airport. Law enforcement representatives, including the FBI, have met the flight.”
Face, meet palm.
*Consumerist reader Beau brings up a totally valid point — it’s not clear who called the threat in. It could’ve been a friend who knows his pal’s birthday, an angry ex or just someone who wanted to wreak havoc on this man’s life. My brain turned “birthday prank” into “birthdays are things friends celebrate so a friend did this to him!” So far, reports differ as to where the call came from, so once I find a report that indicates who exactly it was, I’ll make sure to update everyone.
Security Scare at Philly Int’l is a Hoax [NBC Philadelphia]