Seven Things You Should Never Say in an Airport

Don't annoy the TSA or make people think you are a terrorist.

Jan. 13, 2010 — -- Embarrassed. Humiliated. Those are some of the nicer ways to describe our intelligence community in the wake of the Christmas Day terror attempt.

Since then, security has tightened and everyone's on edge, so take my advice: Do not consciously or inadvertently say or do anything that could cost you time, money or even your freedom. You disobey the Transportation Security Administration officers at your peril.

In that spirit, I have compiled a list of things not to say in an airport. If you have a legitimate grievance, go online and fill out a TSA complaint form, but do it after your flight. When you're at the airport, follow the rules and please, watch your tongue.

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1. "No Way, You're Not Seeing Me Naked!"

First of all, angry passengers can make themselves targets for more screening. Second, relax while I dispel some body scan imaging myths.

Yes, the pictures do make you look naked, but your face is blurred beyond identification. And we are told the TSA officer who sees the so-called naked pictures is in a different room from the actual scanning procedure so they never see you being scanned (and therefore cannot say, "Hey, I saw you naked!") All images get deleted, so don't look for yourself on YouTube either.

Note: Body scans are optional; you can choose to be patted-down instead. Besides, most airports don't even have these machines yet.

Newark Airport Security Breach

2. "Just One More Kiss, Baby"

Remember earlier this month when Newark Liberty International airport shut down for several hours due to a security breach? It turned out that a TSA officer inexplicably left his post, allowing a young man in love to allegedly enter an area for people who'd already been cleared through security so he could give his girlfriend one last kiss (at least, that's what it looked like on the video).

Note: Romeo was arrested, and the TSA officer was put on administrative leave.

3. "Look, It's Mr. Bill (oh, nooooo)"

Remember Mr. Bill, the accident-prone clay figurine from the old "Saturday Night Live" sketch? In case you see or hear him at the airport, look out. A TSA officer recently confiscated several tubs of Play-Doh under the watchful gaze of a tearful 3-year-old.

Note: Play-Doh is not on the TSA's list of banned substances, but they do ban "realistic replicas of explosives," and I suppose Play-Doh could resemble plastic explosives; in any event, it's the TSA officer's call and the officer always wins.

4. "I am God"

That's what a TSA officer said in a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, according to a local news report that also noted that the officer in question was "behaving erratically." We're told the agent was arrested.

Note: It's always a good policy for security folks and passengers to refrain from publicly claiming kinship with any deity, Napoleon, Lady Gaga or similar, because chances are you will at least undergo questioning. On the bright side, you may get a free drug test.

Airline Security Fears

5. "Is That Gilligan's Island Down There?"

This one actually occurred on a plane, and it was nonverbal communication; still, I'm guessing the passenger thought about this in the airport, so I'm including it. The incident took place on a flight to Hawaii when a passenger filled out a "comment card" with a rambling mashup of references to the old "Gilligan's Island" sitcom and plane crashes. That was enough for the pilot who turned the plane back to Portland, where our nostalgic TV viewer was met by police.

Note: This guy lost out on a trip to Hawaii, but taxpayers lost out too, because we paid for the military jets that scrambled to escort this plane home.

6. "Make Mine a Double, Bartender"

This is something you don't want to hear in airports, because these days, drunken behavior can take on a decidedly sinister cast.

Think of that allegedly over-served fellow on a recent AirTran flight who wound up taking over a plane's lavatory and refusing to come out. His flight ended early for a date with the cops.

A different kind of flight safety issue occurred in November at Heathrow when a pilot was arrested in the cockpit as he was about to take off for Chicago. Tests revealed he had a blood alcohol reading more than three times the limit for pilots.

Note: The pilot, who has since pleaded guilty, will be sentenced in London next month. A big thank you to the crew members who turned him in.

7. "Is That Fruit of the Loom Guy on My Flight?"

We all know where the alleged Christmas Day bomber hid his explosives. Enough said.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.

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