Airplanes, Accidents, and Risk Management | Expert Commentary |

On a San Francisco United Airlines flight last week, staff had announced an urgent threat which caused the entire airplane to deboard quickly and earlier than expected. Somebody on the flight was supposedly AirDropping violent pictures onto people’s phones, causing the plane to land back in San Francisco and everybody was required to be rescreened and tested, according to reports.

According to airline spokesperson Doug Yackel, the pictures depicted somebody holding an Airsoft gun which led to “unsettling implications”. While AirDrop can be toggled off, many passengers choose to leave them on to connect easier with others. After passengers received these threatening photos, everybody was taken off the flight for cautionary purposes.

Through screening and technology, however, it was not long until they found the culprit: a teenage boy who backed his reasoning by stating “It was only a prank”. According to reporter Shoshana Wodinsky, the photo “was taken at an earlier date and at a location not at an airport, and the teen didn’t have the gun anywhere on him”. Still, the teen was booted off the flight and barred from United Airlines.

United Airlines has chosen to keep the name of the teenager who Airdropped the pics anonymous. Still, it is agreed that airlines have no place for teenage pranksters, especially as the plane was experiencing delays before the event had happened. One person’s dumb joke can be another passenger’s nightmare.

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