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Aug 10

When your T-Shirt is not flight-friendly…

Hello. My name is Mike. I write a blog. Prepare to read.

Every once in a while, I’ll have a travel experience that, if someone else had told me about it, I would believe was completely fabricated. Needless to say, today was one of those days.

I was flying to New York today and made the “mistake” of wearing one of my favorite t-shirts:

People stopped asking long ago if I had a life. The answer should be self-evident.

People stopped asking long ago if I had a life. The answer should be self-evident.

For those of you who have never seen The Princess Bride, first, shame on you. This is the line from an American classic, and this t-shirt generally gets a lot of chuckles. I’ve worn this shirt dozens of times, but I’ve never gotten the reaction that I got today.


It started at the TSA checkpoint. The TSO looked at me, looked at my ID, looked at me again, etc. This probably went on for a good 30 seconds, which is a lot of time to be standing there while someone inspects my license. He finally let me pass but, as I walked by him, he said, “Your name tag on your shirt doesn’t match your ID.” Um, okay. I kept walking.

An hour later, I was comfortably on the plane, doing the crossword puzzle in the Delta magazine (since it’s the only crossword puzzle easy enough for me to finish) when the flight attendant approached me and said, “You have to take off that shirt. Err, do you have another shirt to put on?” I must have looked at her funny because she said, “Uh, I’ll go talk to the captain.” The captain looked up, I waved at him, he waved at me and then he came back to see what the hubbub was about. He took one look at my shirt and burst out laughing, explaining that The Princess Bride is one of his favorite movies and that sometimes “people freak out” on planes.

To her credit, the flight attendant came back and apologized, we had a good laugh and I told her that she needed to call in sick for her next flight and watch the movie. She served me an MLT and all was well.

There was only one thing about this incident that got me upset, and that happened at the end of the flight when the FA came back to tell me more of the story. According to her, a woman had approached her and said that her young daughter “freaked out” when she saw the last line of the tag (yes, the same words the captain used) and that the “foreign-sounding” name scared her. I have no idea if this mother actually existed, or the FA was just trying to justify her earlier reaction, but I’ll assume that the mother does exist. No way this was because of a child, though. The writing is simply too small for her to pick out only the last line and not the much larger print above. But what was really troublesome to me was the mention of the “foreign-sounding” name. Granted, that sounds much nicer than saying, “I don’t know the origin of that name but it could be Arab!,” but I think we’re beyond code words now, aren’t we?

Bottom line on the day:

  • If somebody is really going to do something on a plane, they are probably not going to have a novelty t-shirt advertising it.
  • My nametag clearly indicated that nobody had anything to fear unless they killed my father. Since my father is alive and well, everyone could safely board the plane.
  • If a t-shirt is that scary to you, you probably shouldn’t leave the house.

Worst of all, I had to fly into JFK. For those of you who have never been there, I took a video.

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1 ping

    • Mike on August 11, 2015 at 2:54 pm
    • Reply

    That must have been incredible. I’ve been to Estonia, but would love to get to some of the other former Soviet states.

    • ptahcha on August 11, 2015 at 2:41 pm
    • Reply

    When I stayed at the Holiday Inn Almaty in Kazakhstan, they only had mutton bacon. So yes, I had a MLT.

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