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Professor’s airplane math didn’t equal airplane threat

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    An Ivy League professor says his flight was delayed because a fellow passenger thought the equations he was writing might be a sign he was a terrorist.

PHILADELPHIA >> An Ivy League professor said his flight was delayed because a fellow passenger thought the math equations he was writing might be a sign he was a terrorist.

American Airlines confirms that the woman expressed suspicions about University of Pennsylvania economics professor Guido Menzio. She said she was too ill to take the Air Wisconsin-operated flight.

Menzio said he was flying from Philadelphia to Syracuse on Thursday night and was solving a differential equation related to a speech he was set to give at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. He said the woman sitting next to him passed a note to a flight attendant and the plane headed back to the gate. Menzio, who is Italian and has curly, dark hair, said the pilot then asked for a word and he was questioned by an official.

“I thought they were trying to get clues about her illness,” he told The Associated Press in an email. “Instead, they tell me that the woman was concerned that I was a terrorist because I was writing strage things on a pad of paper.”

Menzio said he explained what he had been doing and the flight took off soon afterward. He was treated respectfully throughout, he added. But, he said, he was concerned about a delay that a brief conversation or an Internet search could have resolved.

American spokesman Casey Norton said the Air Wisconsin crew followed protocol to take care of an ill passenger and then to investigate her allegations. Norton wouldn’t specify the details of the allegations, but said officials determined them to be non-credible. The woman was rebooked on a later flight.

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  • Was the woman’s illness a mental one or was she mentally challenged in some way? How in the world does observing somebody openly write something she can’t understand lead a sensible person to suspect a terrorist act is in progress? She should have been taken aside and subjected to counseling at the very least.

    • They should have put her on the do not fly list rather than rebooking her onto the next flight. A nut job like her will only cause more havoc and costly flight delays as she cries wolf at the next sighting of a mathmatical formula.

  • The woman is the one who should have been taken off of the plane. It took the airline two hours to figure out that the guy was not a terrorist? They are just as stupid as she is.

    • A plane is on its way to Detroit when a blonde woman in economy class gets up and moves into an open seat in the first class section.

      The flight attendant watches her do this, and politely informs the woman that she must sit in economy class because that’s the type of ticket she paid for.

      The blonde replies, “I’m blonde, I’m beautiful, I’m going to Detroit and I’m staying right here.”

      After repeated attempts and no success at convincing the woman to move, the flight attendant goes into the cockpit and informs the pilot and co-piolet that there’s a blonde bimbo sitting in first class who refuses to go back to her proper seat. The co-pilot goes back to the woman and explains why she needs to move, but once again the woman replies by saying, “I’m blonde, I’m beatiful, I’m going to Detroit and I’m staying right here.”

      The co-pilot returns to the cockpit and suggests that perhaps they should have the arrival gate call the police and have the woman arrested when they land. The pilot says, “You say she’s blonde? I’ll handle this. I’m married to a blonde. I speak blonde.” He goes back to the woman and whispers quietly in her ear, and she says, “Oh, I’m sorry,” then quickly moves back to her seat in economy class.

      The flight attendant and co-pilot are amazed and ask him what he said to get her to move back to economy without causing any fuss.

      “I told her first class isn’t going to Detroit.”

  • O. M. G. The state of education in the USA is beyond ignorant. Differential calculus? That’s the first Calc class in the series. Yet another one who’s more influenced by scary Hollywood pseudo science portrayals. Math ignorance is just mind boggling to me.

    • Differential equations use differential calculus, but the methods used for their solution are definitely not in one’s first Calc class.

  • They conveniently left out the part where the woman tried to make a little small talk with him to get a feel about him. He basically ignored her and kept to himself. Yeah, maybe she was a bit nosy, but in today’s world, you almost have to be.

    • Right, because a terrorist would have told her that he’ll take the plane out right before departure. It’s nosy people like that woman that profile rude people into terrorist categories while the charismatic psycho killers pass their terrorist radar sensors with flying colors.

      From the sound of it, it sounds like the math professor was preoccupied with solving his equation and just about anyone with two brain cells realizes that advanced math requires undivided concentration skills. If what you state is true about her attempt to start small talk with the professor then she definitely noticed that the professor was preoccupied with a task and she rudely tried to disrupt him and ultimately tried to label him as a terrorist since he ignored the attention seeking mentally ill hag.

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