A sunbird returning from Florida to Canada was arrested after making a bomb threat when Air Canada tried to charge him for his carry-on bag. His threat prompted an evacuation of three terminals for four hours.
Irate Air Canada Passenger Makes Bomb Threat Over Baggage Fee, Forcing Airport Evacuation
The incident occurred at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) last Saturday around 8:30am. Wegel Rosen, 74, approached the Air Canada to check in for his flight to Toronto. Rosen spends part of the year in Florida and was returning home.
When informed of the fee for his carry-on bag, he engaged in a “heated verbal argument” with the gate agent. The argument escalated when Rosen tried to pay for his bag in cash was told Air Canada was a cashless carrier. He was directed to another terminal to purchase a visa gift card in which to pay for the bag. Angered, he stated there was a bomb in the bag and walking away, leaving the bag at counter.
His warning prompted an evacuation of Terminals 2, 3, and 4. Broward County deputies and bomb squad agents examined his bag and found no explosive material. Instead, the bag contained his CPAP machine, which Rosen uses to assist in sleeping.
Air Canada offers economy class passengers one complimentary carry-on bag plus one personal items, so my guess was that his bag was overweight or too large and he was forced to check it.
Rosen spent the weekend in jail before appearing before a judge on Monday afternoon. She set his bail at $20,000 and allowed him to return to Canada, but forbid him from lying out of Fort Lauderdale Airport.
“To get back to Canada, [you’ll] have to go through Miami, West Palm Beach or any other county.”
Speaking on his behalf before the judge, Rosen’s attorney said, “He said the magic words you do not say.” No kidding…
The evacuation was probably overkill–I would have simply opened his bag and verified he was full of it–but protocol was followed. This story demonstrates that we need to pick our battles wisely, as a $30 bag fee has turned into $20,000 in bail and potentially up to 15 years in jail.
Mug Shot: Broward County Sheriff’s Office