Qantas Incident Reminds Us Of The Sad State Of Air Travel

Let me tell you about the story of Wynand Mullings and his t-shirt. Mullins, a Kiwi living in Sydney, boarded a Qantas flight with a funny t-shirt that said "My name is Iñigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die", a quote from The Princess Bride. Some people freaked out because they thought Mullins's name was Iñigo and that he thought they killed his father and that he was going to kill them all now. True story, folks.

Mullins was minding his own business on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Auckland when a flight attendant approached him:

The flight attendant said to me: ‘Are you able to remove it because some of the passengers are quite intimidated by it'. I thought it was all a bit silly. The person next to me was laughing, because they knew the movie.

When Mullins said that he didn't have another t-shirt, the flight attendant actually went off to find him a t-shirt. The flight attendant didn't return.

Now, the problem with this is not that some people have never watched or read The Princess Bride (by the way, it is a great book). No, the problem is that people are so impossibly idiotic that they feel intimidated by a t-shirt. And some flight attendant actually listened to those complaints and asked Mullins to remove his t-shirt.

Wait! There's more! According to a Qantas spokesman, the company "does have dress standards for passengers travelling on our aircraft… particularly for slogans which other passengers may find offensive or threatening". So, if I wear a t-shirt with, say, this Roxy Music album cover and someone deems it offensive, am I supposed to take it off? What about this Sex Pistols' F**k Forever t-shirt?

I would rather airlines have rules about clowns who shout rather than talk, people who eat with their mouths open and make such a noise that you can hear their chewing over the sound of the engines, planes that never arrive on time, overbooking and mindless flight attendants.

But that's the sad state of aeroplane travel, folks. Fly people around like cattle while subjecting them to the most capricious and randomly humiliating rules that don't make any sense. From the moment you step into that clusterf**k of nonsense that is the airport security checkpoint — with all their absurd rules, ridicule and body scanners that don't protect anyone at all — to the moment you get out of the gate at the other side of your trip after waiting for 15 minutes on the tarmac.


    F**k airline travel. I'm sick and tired of their ridiculous rules. They have this complex where it's more dangerous than everything else, and as a result of that it's ok to subject people to every kind of invasive security practice they can devise.

    Not just air travel, but society's attitudes in general - in all dimensions of engagement - has completely lost the plot of co-operation, sharing, common wealth and well-being.

    I hope my kids can carry their love of life and friends into adulthood without pre-judging everything that crosses their path. They can fix the mess we've made since WW2

    Couldn't the flight attendant have gone back to the complainant and say "I have spoken to the passenger, the shirt is from a movie. You have nothing to worry about."

    There is just so much stupid in this story. Did somebody really think somebody who wanted to take down a plane would actually advertise that fact on a T-Shirt? How was that person intelligent enough to find their way to the airport, let alone buy a ticket.

      Great suggestion. That would have completely disarmed the situation.

      Too much logic in that suggestion. Way easier to cause a fuss and panic.

      That's pretty much what I was going to say. It's understandable someone may find that shirt scary when traveling on a plane, and saying 'it's a in-joke, you should have known it was harmless' is as dumb as anything the airline did, but the whole situation can be resolved with an explanation. I guess the person complaining would then look like an idiot, get embarrassed and dig into a defensive 'well, you shouldn't wear it on a plane anyway!' stance.

      Plus you can't really blame people for freaking out on planes. They've been doing it since long before terrorism was a hot topic.

    Stop looking at the person with the shirt and mind your business, simple as that.

    Well, at least he avoided a good caning.
    In a similar experience, while wearing a Wallabies jersey, my flight from L.A. had to be diverted through Auckland, N.Z and man was that awkward, I got griefed and dragged through all their security rubbish.
    Just shows, they'll do what ever they please if they see something they remotely don't like.
    Amusing nonetheless.

    I'd be reporting the complainant to the Police...
    They clearly have a guilty conscience and subsequently, there's a good chance they may have killed someone's father and got away with it until now!

      Perhaps the complaining passenger's name was Inigo Montoya. Missing the full stop makes it look like a specific threat directed at someone with that name.

      Punctuation matters people!

    Should have just said:

    "I do not think it means what you think it means"

    to the flight attendant

      Oh. The genius of that comment is inconceivable! Brilliantly done :)

    The over the top security at airports is just a joke. Last flight I took I was asked to take my deodorant out of my bag so they can scan it by it self. Why? Why can't your x-rays pic it up in my bag? Same goes with laptops and tablets.

      And yet you can get on a plane at a regional airport with almost no security. Do they realise that you can then take over that plane and crash it into a city building?

      Apparently terrorists only operate out of big cities.

      (I'm not advocating increased regional security I'm pointing out uselessness of existing).

    Reminds me of Harold and Kumar escape from Gitmo. I can only imagine the pain he would have to have gone through if he had a Tee that had a picture of the mad bomber from the Muppets.

    If the attendant had though about the options available, and couldn't have found another top for the guy, she could have just told him to wear it inside out.


        And he could rightfully tell her to jam it up her backside

        I'd do it tho, just so I can threaten the bad publicity in exchange for a trip overseas in First Class

    and the lovely new scanners are in melbourne and sydney now despite the fact that they know they are incredibly bad for you and protect nothing. Why won't they let children go threw them i wonder...?

    I love a good joke but this does seem a little inappropriate on a plane considering how nervous some people get when flying.

    I personally wouldn't get worried about it but i can see how someone else could.

    Last edited 24/01/13 12:31 pm

    Seriously, doesn't everybody know not to wear anything that can be taken offense to on airplanes? This isn't a new rule, I've known this for years, and I dress accordingly.

    I love a good funny shirt as much as anyone, but you just don't wear them on planes... Truthfully, he should never have been allowed on the plane in the first place!

      Seriously @longjohn87?

      If that was the case than they wouldn't have let him on the plane. I have care factor zero for wowsers out to fear monger their ideals while someone is just trying to get somewhere and is causing no trouble in and of their own. If that wowser was concerned, they should have confronted the person themselves. And if that attendant had any sense, they could have told that person to shut up and mind their own business.

        This isn't a new concept, or a world's first news story at all. I know its just a shirt and blah blah blah, but hey, wear a shirt that doesn't have the word "kill" on it and everyone would be happy.
        I don't agree with this, and also take absolutely no offence to this at all, even if his shirt said "I'm a terroist, and I am going to blow up the plane" it wouldnt concern me, but at the same time I am aware that for some it might, that's the whole reason the rules were put into place.

      Who decides what is offensive? I don't think that this particular shirt was offensive at all. There is no offensive images or language. It's not like the shirt said "This plane is going down" or "I'm gonna kill you all".

      I think if you surveyed everybody on that flight, those concerned by the shirt would be the clear minority.

    Attendant gets a marker and writes on the complainer's t-shirt "I can defend myself, I know juditsu". Problem solved.

    While I completely realise the whole issue is a farce, SURELY when he was getting dressed that morning, knowing he was boarding a plane, he could have looked at that and thought "is this appropriate?". These stories are all too common and irrespective of peoples perspective, planes have dresscodes that we all know.

    While I'm all for the "power to the people", I'm also all for making my life easier by abiding by the rules when they have no adverse affect on me.

      I'm sure he did. He probably thought something along these lines - "No profanity; porn; explicit or graphic imagery; blasphemy; extreme or radical political statements, just a lighhearted and slightly obscure pop-culture reference. Good to go!" His mistake was in not realising that someone could take "Prepare to die" printed on a T-shirt as some kind of realistic threat.

        Now justify "realistic threat"... lol

          Sorry, I meant "Some idiot could be dumb enough to mistake it for a realistic threat"

    This is lazy journalism, making a mountain out of a molehill. I can see nothing of what actually happened to be outraged about. This kind of journalism takes advantage of 'what about our freedoms!' sentiment, but in an alternate universe if that guy really did bring a bomb on board or somthing, this article would probably be writing about how stupid security is letting someone like that on board "he's even wearing a shirt mentioning death! Security fail LOL"

    I personally think everyone handled themselves well, nothing to see here folks. Move on.

    I was on a Jetstar flight from Christchurch to Melbourne a few years ago, a guy boarded the plane with a Jetsucks t-shirt and the cabin crew found it offensive so they kicked him off. I'm not sure what this guy expected boarding the plane with that shirt though.

      you have got to be kidding - that jetsuck Is an anti NY Jets tee LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLL how stupid are some people

    So - end result . If any Muslims board the plane can I also find this offensive and ask the hijab to be removed because I fear for my safety?

      As the US have proved just having a middle eastern sounding name can get you kicked off a plane. Or a slogan written in Arabic. Being. Bollywood movie star the list of stupidity is almost infinite.

    Everything that happened was "expected", its human nature, plenty of people are scared of flying, now consider some "nut" wearing a shirt taking about killing and death out of the blue, supposedly taken from a 1987 movie that MANY may have NEVER seen or heard of, lest alone a frekin quote from within the movie... !!??? lol, any anomaly causing passenger discomfort, the cabin crew takes it seriously, this is a formal way of traveling, so dress accordingly, don't attract attention, you're asking for unnecessary trouble. My 2 cents...

      and never ever wear a Ramones shirt or Zombies or Megadeath --- where is the line drawn? I find Nike shirts offensive for their dubious trade practices - does that warrant eviction?

    Seriously? I'm no wowser, but why the fsck would you wear something like that on a plane and not expect to get pulled up?

    So Who doesn't stir a little s**t.

    Obviously the Guy Chose the shirt, knowing it would have an effect on people..

    It is raising the middle finger to society without actually breaking any norms....(sort of)

    If the last word was crossed out in texta that would be funnier.....

    "My name is Inigio Montoya prepare to XXX"

    People wear stiff, get a reaction, and pretend to be surprised or offended that someone could be offended by them.... It works best, showing willingness to comply, and disbelief in the incident....

    (Last thing you want is to get taped to a seat, the Judge would look dimly at the shirt then...)

    I can't believe there's an actual circumstance that requires this explicit statement, but murderers don't usually wear a t-shirt that gives their full name and explicitly states their intent to murder. If they did, we wouldn't have the police procedural genre. Or they'd all be 2 minute episodes.

    Shame, though: "Hello my name is Judas Iscariot. I just got paid 30 pieces of silver to kiss you, prepare to die". "Hello, my name is Marcus Brutus. You've overthrown the Republic, prepare to die". "Hello, my name is OJ Simpson and I'm wearing these apparently too small gloves..." (well, according to the civil case, anyway).

    Last edited 24/01/13 4:20 pm

    I would have thought that if they didn't kill his father they wouldn't have anything to worry about.....unless the concerned passenger had 6 fingers on one hand!

    Now if only the inflight entertainment was "A Princess Bride"

    Anyone still have one of those t-shirts that were popular ~20 years back that said, in numerous languages: "I am NOT an American"

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