#ShamelessPassengers: Librarian calls in a hoax bomb threat because he didn't want to miss his flight

2018-08-17 13:31 - Ethan Van Diemen
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(Photo: iStock)

Many of us have experienced the panic of being late for and potentially missing a flight. Checking-in, going through security and running to the boarding gates, its a process - we get it. But there are ways to deal with being late for a flight. 

One way to not deal with being late for a flight is to call in a bomb threat.

SEE: Houston, we have a problem: Boy scout's toy grenade causes bomb scare at US airport

That, however, is exactly what a tardy (and pitifully stupid) French Librarian in London did 8 minutes before his 05:47 flight to Los Angeles was due to leave. 

According to Reuters, Jacob Meir Abdellak, who lives in east London was significantly late for his Norwegian Air flight from Gatwick Airport on 11 May. Faced with the prospect of missing the flight, the brilliant Jacob made a call - literally. 

Calling in, he claimed there was a "noxious substance likely to create serious risk to human health”. 

Thanks to this ingenious move, passengers had to get off the plane, go through the security screening process again and the flight was delayed for 90 minutes.  

Following this incident, Gatwick authorities conducted an investigation that found that the number used to call in the threat was the same phone number used to make Abdellak's booking. On 22 May, upon attempting to board another flight to the US, he was arrested. 

SEE: London City Airport closed after WWII bomb found

According to TravelWeekly, Abdellak was charged with "communicating false information regarding a noxious substance likely to create serious risk to human health."

Originally denying the charges by saying that while the phone number belonged to him, he had lost the SIM card prior to the date of the phone call, on Tuesday 14 August he pled guilty to the charges. 

He has since been sentenced to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of £140 (R2 617,89 at £1/R18,70). 

The Chief Inspector of Sussex Police, responsible for Gatwick, Marc Clothier commenting on the case said that “this was a quite ridiculous decision made by Abdellak, who fabricated an extremely serious allegation purely for his own benefit."

"His actions caused the flight to be delayed, and also caused a level of fear and distress among a number of staff and passengers on board that flight."

“The consequences of making allegations about bombs, guns or similar at densely populated locations such as airports are well documented, and Abdellak’s sentence serves as a warning to others that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and offenders will be dealt with robustly.” 

SEE: Reality show crew arrested for pulling 'insensitive' bomb stunt

Here are some ways you can make your life easier when you're running late for a flight that won't land you behind bars:

  • Check-in online. Also, check your flight status online.
  • Phone the airline or airport and inform them of your situation.
  • If it is possible and supported, get a mobile or digital boarding pass.
  • If you arrive late head straight to an airline representative or if you have time to get to the gates - sprint.
  • Pack light so you don't have to check-in baggage. Or ditch your baggage altogether if the flight is really important. 
  • Plan ahead. Get to the airport earlier than you need to be there. 
  • Remain calm and communicate politely with the people trying to help you out. 

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