Here's some good advice for anyone traveling by air these days:
If you're going to enjoy a sneaky cigarette in the airliner bathroom during the flight, it's probably not a good idea to make a joke about trying to light your shoes when you're confronted by on-board federal air marshals.
That exact scenario caused a bomb scare Wednesday aboard a flight from Washington to Denver. The man in question, Mohammed Al-Madadi, is a low-ranking diplomat representing the Qatar embassy. He was detained aboard the flight, questioned and eventually released. No explosives were found on Al-Madadi or on the plane, which landed safely in Denver.
A spokesman for the embassy said the facts will prove that the incident was a mistake, and that Al-Madadi was not trying to hurt anyone.
Perhaps not, but he should at least be charged with stupidity.
You simply cannot, in this day and age, make such flippant comments about bombs while on board an airliner. Even if it's clearly meant as a joke, it must be taken seriously. In this case, military jets were scrambled, and the envoy was detained and questioned for hours. It was no laughing matter.
Authorities absolutely did the right thing in this instance. It shows the weight that one smart-aleck comment can carry.