Air travel brings out the worst in some folks.
But while unexpected airline charges are no aid to mental equilibrium, a new case from Florida shows it really is better to shut up and cough up.
An Air Canada passenger was so angry about having to pay a carry-on baggage fee over the weekend that he told airline staff there was a bomb in his bag.
Wegal Rosen’s fake threat caused Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to shut down for hours on Saturday, creating travel chaos as dozens of flights were delayed or cancelled.
The 74-year-old resident of Toronto and Deerfield Beach, Florida, was arrested later that day following a “heated verbal dispute” with an Air Canada agent, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
“During the dispute, Rosen attempted to walk away from the ticket counter located in Terminal 2 without his carry-on luggage,” deputies said in a statement. “The employee advised Rosen that he needed to take his luggage with him, and he responded by telling the employee there was a bomb in the bag.”
Rosen then left his carry-on luggage at the counter and fled to Terminal 3, as a bomb squad unit was called to the airport.
After Terminals 2, 3 and 4 were evacuated and searched, the threat was deemed to be false and Rosen was taken into custody.
Investigators found a CPAP machine, a device for treating sleep apnea, inside his carry-on bag, according to a police report obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Rosen reportedly flew into a rage after realizing that he would have to buy a Visa card to pay the carry-on fee due to Air Canada’s no-cash policy.
Rosen’s lawyer said at a hearing Monday that his client was on his way back to Toronto for a cardiologist appointment when the incident occurred.
“He said the magic words you do not say,” the attorney, whose full name was not given, told Judge Tabitha Blackmon, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Rosen remained in jail Tuesday on $20,000 bond and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
He’ll be allowed to return to Canada while the case continues, but won’t be able to fly from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to do so, Judge Blackmon said.