Flight Diverted Because of Tefillin (That’s a Religious Item Used by Jews, If You Were Wondering)

A US Airways flight from LaGuardia to Louisville was diverted to Philadelphia after a passenger alerted flight attendants that a man was wrapping something that looked like a bomb (what looks like a bomb?) around his arm while on the plane.  I’m guessing that the man was also heavily beared and praying.  That couldn’t have helped.

Had that person (who I’m guessing was from Louisville and not New York, but I have no idea) ever met religious Jews before, s/he would have known that it was just someone praying while putting on Tefillin, black boxes with straps that contain bible verses.

All’s well that ends well, as after the plane was diverted, authorities figured out what had happened (religious Jew misidentified as terrorist), and everyone was sent on their way.


  1. Jared, did you see the follow-up news coverage on this? It’s even more unbelievable. It wasn’t a heavily bearded man, it was a 17 year old kid described by passengers and flight attendants alike as polite and doing nothing to draw attention to himself. Passengers didn’t sound the alarm, a flight attendant did. When the flight attendant asked the teen what he was doing, he immediately responded that he was saying morning prayers, and explained that he was wearing tefillin and explained what tefillin are. The flight attendant then told the pilot, who diverted the flight. Passengers weren’t alarmed until FBI and local police boarded the plane. The feds, who apparently have more cultural awareness than the flight attendant and pilot, quickly sent everyone on their way.

    Lesson: no praying on flights. Also, you probably shouldn’t wear a hat. Or carry an iPod – someone might think it’s a detonator!

  2. Hi Avi,

    That makes it all the more insane.

    I do disagree with you: only Jews and Muslims can’t pray on a flight. Everyone else can.

  3. Dreidl dreidl dreidl, I made you out of clay….

  4. Having fun at LAX yesterday. NOT!!! - Page 3 - FlyerTalk Forums - pingback on October 9, 2011 at 8:36 am

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