Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Passenger Oliver Buckworth claims he was removed from a Gold Coast bound flight on Tiger Airways after another passenger glanced over his shoulder and complained to the flight crew. The offending text? “TerrorISm ade up,” and “Tyrannosaurus Rex. Terodactyl. Tarantula. Terrorist,” spoken by an image of a child with his hands on his head .
The interior designer also drew a picture of a chandelier.
Mr. Buckworth claims that another passenger glanced at his notebook and told a flight attendant: “Look what he’s writing.” “I turned to him and said, ‘Yes, look what I’m writing. Read the whole sentence. I’m just writing some notes.’ ”
Officials with Tiger Airways then informed the Australian Federal Police who then escorted Buckworth off the plane and detained him for questioning. He was then released after the interview.
He claims the airline “blacklisted” him afterward and stated he believes Tiger Airways acted “ridiculous.” He also stated: “In a land of melting ice-creams, sandy feet and fluffy bears, how could anyone be fearful of terrorism?”
“My concern is what it looked like to the rest of the people on the plane. I did tell them as I was leaving, ‘I’m not a criminal. This man simply took something out of context that I was writing in my book. Just so you know and this whole fear thing isn’t instilled even further.’ ”
The extreme sensitivity by the other passenger and the airline crew could be in part due to increasing terrorism threat levels posted by the federal government along with continual news reports of terrorism related topics. Australian security and police recently broke up a terrorism plot to kidnap and behead a random Australian citizen by a cell linked to the terrorist organization ISIS.
A spokeswoman for Tiger Airways defended the airline’s actions claiming crewmembers were responding to a “disruptive passenger.”
“Tigerair has a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate and antisocial behavior. Safety and security of staff and passengers underpins the operation at all times and is never compromised,” she said.
The airline declined to comment on whether Mr. Buckworth had been expelled from the flight for the contents of his notebook.
Zero tolerance at work once again.
By Darren Smith
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