We’ve all made stupid jokes which we’d later come to regret.
But very few of them lead an airline to declare a security breach and cost the jokester $3000 in reparations.
This was the fate faced by a Sydney teenager who was recently deported from New Zealand for making a “threatening comment” on an in-flight messaging app.
Meke Fifita was travelling home on a Sydney-bound Air New Zealand flight, which was taxiing on the runway at Auckland International Airport when the 19-year-old decided to type “I have a bomb” into the app, according to SMH.
Fifita was arrested after the plane was forced to return to the gate, and was charged with breaching the Civil Aviation Act for providing false information on the safety of an aircraft.
Why did he do it? The teenager told courts on Thursday that he “thought it was funny”.
His lawyer, Jane Northwood, said Fifita’s actions were the “grossly stupid event of the century”, but assured the court her client was distressed about his mistake.
“I’ve never met anyone more distressed or remorseful and overwhelmed,” she said, according to SMH.
Judge Anna Johns said Fifita’s actions cost New Zealand taxpayers, emergency services and Auckland Airport up to tens of thousands of dollars.
“Anyone with half a brain would understand that this is not a funny thing to do, given the times we live in,” she said.
The reparation sum paid by Fifita’s father was significantly smaller, at $3,000.