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Back when I was a moody teenager I took a cheap flight that involved changing planes and having to go through security again. My bags were pre-checked so, when I set off the metal detector, I honestly said to the security guy that I had no idea what had set it off.

Until, that is, he searched me and found the metal knife and fork stamped "KLM" I'd nicked off the previous flight.

Tell us your best airport stories.

(, Fri 3 Mar 2006, 10:09)
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We're all gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiieeee!!!!!!!!!
Madrid to London, January 2004. Taxiing to the runway getting ready for take-off, our plane did a U-turn and went back to the airport. One of the stewardesses said something vague about a "technical dificulty" over the tannoy and told us to remain seated.

Directly in front of me was a ten-year-old boy throwing a tantrum, screaming abuse at the man with him who I originally assumed was his grandfather or something owing to the fact that he didn't seem able to do anything to control the kid. Turns out he was his father.

Next to the Spawn of Satan and his father was a man with a goatee in his mid twenties.

Directly in front of them was a family of Americans, one of whom was pretty hysterical. We learned later that she had been in New York on 9/11 and had been terrified of flying ever since.

It slowly dawned on us that the situation might be more than just a technical difficulty. The stewardesses were looking more and more agitated but were not revealing any information.

9/11 Girl started screaming.

Spawn of Satan continued screaming.

9/11 Girl's father beckoned to the stewardess. Apparently the source of her distress was Goatee Man, who was innocently tapping a rhythm on the back of her seat. She was convinced he was a terrorist communicating in Morse Code to his colleagues.

Stewardess approached Goatee Man and requested, very politely, that he stop tapping the back of the seat as he was upsetting the girl in front. He had no problem with this and was very apologetic.

Spawn of Satan's father got up and yelled at the stewardess for harrassing Goatee Man. He made a speech that went something along the lines of, "I am an American. This man is an American. And God willing I will stand up for my fellow countrymen!" He sat back and waited for applause, but all he got was a load of blank looks from English tourists and a hysterical scream of, "YOU SICK MAN!" from 9/11 Girl, who then ran screaming up the aisle to her father sobbing, "Daddy I want to get off this plane!" for several minutes.

Then eight Guardia Civils armed with rifles with bayonets on the end stormed onto the plane and arrested a man at the back.

Once they'd gone, the pilot finally told us what had happened. The guy had been fingering a knife and muttering about the "extremo del mundo" so the woman sitting next to him surreptitiously handed a note to a stewardess saying, "the man sitting next to me has a knife".

I couldn't help thinking, what on earth would have happened if 9/11 Girl had been sitting next to him?
(, Mon 6 Mar 2006, 13:44, closed)

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