A Southwest Airlines pilot’s reported birthday wish to the mother of an air traffic controller onboard a flight to MacArthur airport Friday afternoon, rattled some passengers who thought the pilot said “bomb” instead of “mom.”
The birthday wish occurred on flight 1155 from Baltimore to MacArthur Airport in Islip, which arrived around noon on Friday.
“The pilot made an announcement that was misunderstood,” a spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines said.
The spokeswoman said the air traffic controller working out of Terminal Radar Approach in Westbury, contacted the pilot and had asked him to “wish his mother a happy birthday.”
Passengers reportedly mistook the phrase “mom on board” for “bomb on board.”
“Pilots and controllers will sometimes engage in brief greetings,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. “If such conversations go beyond this limit, controllers are counseled to refrain from such unnecessary talk.”
Several passengers on the flight became concerned and complained to the flight crew.
The pilot did report the incident to the “appropriate channels,” the spokesman for Southwest said.
A FAA official told the Press that there was a review of the air traffic control communication, but despite the confusion onboard the plane, the FAA is “not investigating the pilot or the flight crew.”