Pilot Makes "Fun Announcement" on Outgoing Baltimore Flight

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A pilot thought he would make a “fun announcement” on a Southwest Airlines flight heading out of Baltimore on Friday. He wanted to make it known that an air traffic controller’s mother was on the flight. But somehow — I don’t know how because PA systems on airplanes are typically crystal clear — when the pilot said “mom on board” some passengers heard “bomb on board” and became nervous.

Even though flight attendants were quick to assure everyone that there was no bomb, a couple passengers were still so fuming when they landed in Long Island that they reported the “incident” to airport security who contacted the police.

Now, on the one hand, of course someone would be alarmed to think that a bomb was on board their plane. But I have to think that the pilot’s (presumably) unworried tone should have provided a “context clue” for the passengers that nothing was really wrong.

In my imagination, this is what the announcement sounded like: “We’re just about 30 minutes from our destination…just wanted to let everybody know…that we’ve got a very special bomb on board with us today…she’s the bomb of air-traffic controller Ted Wilson…and it’s her birthday…so during the remainder of the flight…if you’re sitting near Ted’s bomb be sure to wish her a happy 60th…”

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  1. As an nervous flier, I am able to see how one would react adversely to the ‘fun announcement’. I have no interest in anything other than pertinent details of the actual flight.(ie:weather conditions, crash or terror probability,etc.). It’s the out of context stuff that pushes nervous people over the edge . Better the airline people should stick strictly to their jobs, they have enough to do without doing inflight ‘shout outs’.

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