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'There's a gun in my carry-on... LOL': when jokes bomb at the airport

Jokes about weapons and explosives are a serious no-no at airports – here’s why…

THIS WEEK PAUL Chambers won his appeal against conviction after he was found guilty in relation to sending a joke tweet about blowing up an airport in the UK.

Chambers had tweeted that he was going to blow up Robin Hood Aiport in Yorkshire if it failed to open in time for him to fly to Belfast to visit his girlfriend.

He was acquitted on Friday after a two-and-a-half year battle.

Chambers wasn’t even in the airport when he made the joke. What happened to people who quip about bombs and guns inside the terminal?

“Hey be careful, I have three bombs in there”

In January 2004 British student Samantha Marson was arrested in Miami after joking that she had three bombs in her carry-on bag as she prepared to board a flight back to Britain. After repeating the claim twice, she was arrested and brought to jail.

Marson was charged with making a false bomb report, which carries a penalty of fifteen years in jail. She was released by a US court after agreeing to donate money to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, and offering a full apology.

Samantha Marson arrives back at Heathrow Airport (Tim Ockenden/PA Archive)

Gunning for trouble

In March 2003 a teenager was barred from a flight to Lanzarote after joking that he had a gun in his bag. Sufyan Sadiq’s ticket was voided by airline JMC and he was unable to fly from Gatwick Airport with the rest of his school group.

He took a later flight with a different airline later that evening. Gatwick Airport said at the time that they adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to incidents like this, according to the BBC.

Doctor bombs with joke

A New York doctor was charged with falsely reporting an incident at Rochester Airport earlier this month when he joked that he had a “couple of bombs and a little dynamite” in his luggage.

Dr. Hany Mossad-Boktor’s joke led to sniffer dogs being called in and he was charged with a felony.


The mother of the late reality star Jade Goody was said to gave caused ‘chaos’ in 2009 when she joked that she had a gun in her luggage.

Jackiey Budden escaped with a warning from police at Gatwick airport, but the pilot on the flight to Tenerife had to be persuaded to let her fly.

Bar brawl

In 2009 a man avoided a prison sentence after claiming to have two guns when staff tied to remove him from a bar at Glasgow airport.

Abdul Chaudry was handed 140 hours community service and was told that he fortunate not to have been prosecuted at a higher level.

Column: The Twitter joke trial shows freedom of speech has to include comedy >

Drug smugglers leave bag on airport carousel>

Explainer: How will airport security fight terrorist threats in the future?>

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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