United Airlines Passenger Arrested After Officials Find Fake Bomb In His Suitcase

Image courtesy of Bernal Saborio G. (berkuspic)

There are many things you could do to annoy your fellow flyers — from eating a tuna fish sandwich to breaking into song — but carrying around a fake explosive device in your suitcase and forcing the flight to be delayed for nine hours is guaranteed to ruin everyone’s day, and a good way to end up in custody.

A U.S. man was arrested in Toronto after customs officials discovered a faux improvised explosive device (IED) in his luggage at Pearson International Airport Thursday, reports The Toronto Star.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the device during a pre-clearance inspection, prompting his 7 a.m. Chicago-bound flight to be delayed for hours while airport police investigated what they called a “possible security breach” at the time.

“CBP officers immediately notified Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), who swabbed the mock IED for explosives with a negative result,” the CPB said in statement. “For the safety of travelers within the pre-clearance facility, CBP stopped all traveler processing while the mock IED was tested.”

By midday, police had confirmed that the passenger had been detained and charged with mischief.

Passengers say they were stuck on the plane for about three hours before they were told that the aircraft was being evacuated. They were then taken to an isolation area for re-screening while customs officials inspected the aircraft.

The flight was cleared to leave at noon, CPB said, five hours after its original departure schedule, but passengers said they remained in the isolation area until about 1 pm.

One passenger told the Star it was a “very frustrating” situation, and that he was told to wait in line to rebook his own flight. The airport’s website said the flight was delayed until 4 p.m.

We’ve reached out to United Airlines for comment and will update this story if we hear back.