That Joke Bombed More Than They Realized

, , , , | Right | September 11, 2018

(I work as a check-in assistant for one of the busiest airports in the UK. It is less than a month since the September 11th attacks in America, meaning that extra security measures and protocol are in place. One example of this is a second bag scan at check in, which is my responsibility. There is no possible way that a passenger can avoid doing this; it is a mandatory procedure. I am checking passengers in when a woman arrives next in my lane.)

Me: “Afternoon, ma’am—”

Lady: “Madrid.”

Me: “Pardon?”

Lady: “I’m going to Madrid, here.” *she shows me her passport and ticket all whilst huffing as if she’s in some sort of hurry*

Me: “Thank you, ma’am. Can I ask you to please place your bag on the scanner here?”

Lady: “What? But I’ve already gone through the scanner.”

Me: “I understand, ma’am, but because of the recent events in America, we are implementing mandatory extra security procedures.”

Lady: “But we aren’t in America, are we? Last time I checked on a bloody map this was still the UK!”

Me: “Yes, we are still in the United Kingdom, ma’am. But as I said, we still need to uphold our mandatory security procedures because of what happened in America.”

Lady: “I don’t care! Just let me on my plane!”

(Despite her callous and selfish attitude to the reason why we have these protocols, I still maintain our mandatory requirements, resulting in both of us going back and forth for a good ten minutes. My manager jumps on to help the other passengers but doesn’t interfere, before the lady seems to finally give up and places her bag on the scanner belt. Just after she does this, she says the one phrase you should NEVER EVER say at a busy airport.)

Lady: *sarcastically* “Sorry about that. I’ve got a bomb in there, you see?”

(Both my manager and I share glances, before returning our stares of bewilderment at the lady, who’s returning a smirk at us as if she’s just cracked a totally appropriate and definitely fine joke with us. My manager calls security, whilst I confiscate her boarding pass and passport as per procedure.)

Lady: “What are you doing?!”

Me: “I am confiscating your ticket; there is no way you’ll be flying today.”

Lady: “Oh, come off it. Can’t you take a joke?”

Me: “A joke that we take seriously, regardless of sincerity? Definitely not. Please leave the airport.”

(Security arrived moments later and escorted the lady from the airport grounds. Her husband approached me and pleaded with me to let her on her flight. I declined, because threats such as that are ALWAYS taken seriously by the airline.)

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