An Ivy League professor was questioned and his flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse delayed because the curly-haired, dark-skinned academic's math equations raised terror fears in a fellow passenger.
University of Pennsylvania economics professor Guido Menzio, who's from Italy, on Thursday night was on the first leg of a connecting flight to Ontario, where he would give a talk at Queen’s University on a paper about menu costs and price dispersion, The Washington Post
A female seatmate saw him trying to work out some properties of the model of price-setting he was about to present, and may have thought the writing was in Arabic, the Post reports.
She then alerted the crew.
Casey Norton, a spokesman for American Airlines, told the Post the woman had initially reported she was sick, but when she deplaned she disclosed the reason she was feeling ill was her concern about the behavior of Menzio.
The crew then called for security personnel, who interviewed Menzio; he showed authorities his calculations, was determined not be a "credible threat," and was finally allowed to go back to his seat, the Post reports.
The flight took off two hours late; Menzio's seatmate never got back on board, the Post reports.
Menzio tells the Post he was "treated respectfully throughout," but was baffled by a "broken system that does not collect information efficiently," and "a security protocol that is too rigid – in the sense that once the whistle is blown everything stops without checks – and relies on the input of people who may be completely clueless."
On his Facebook pag
e, Menzio said he's also been mistaken for Sean Lennon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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