We have no idea why anyone would think a pilot was saying “happy birthday” to a “bomb on board” a plane, but that’s exactly what some passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight from Baltimore to Long Island thought they heard on Friday.
According to reports, after the pilot found out that an air traffic controller’s mother was on the flight — and that it was the woman’s birthday — he decided to cheer her up by making a personal statement in the cabin.
But since a lot of people on a plane are only half-listening when the pilot says something, some of them actually thought he was saying there was a bomb on the flight.
“He did clarify with the passengers that he was wishing the mother on board a happy birthday,” a Southwest Airlines rep explains.
As for whether or not the pilot crossed a line by making a personal announcement during the flight, the FAA clarifies, “Pilots and controllers will sometimes engage in brief greetings… If such conversations go beyond this limit, controllers are counseled to refrain from such unnecessary talk.”