Beware: Some T-Shirt Slogans Just Won't Fly on Planes

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on January 29, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Wynand Mullins has a great sense of humor and he's a fan of the movie "The Princess Bride." So he purchased himself a cute t-shirt with a popular quote from the movie. As luck would have it, he wore the shirt on a plane bound for New Zealand.

Fans of the movie, or friends of fans, will recognize the quote: "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." It's a great shirt, but not so great on a plane.

Mullins knew people would give him sideways glances if they didn't get the reference. But he probably didn't expect the shirt would cause as much trouble as it did.

Shortly after he got on the plane, a flight attendant approached Mullins and told him his shirt was intimidating some people. She then asked if he would change it, reports NBC News.

He said he would, but he didn't have another shirt with him, so the flight attendant went looking for one. She didn't come back, and he was able to wear his shirt through the flight without further complaints or complications.

It seems a bit funny, especially if you know the quote is from a movie. But if Mullins wasn't so accommodating or the crew member had been more upset, things could have gone very poorly.

There's a joke in the movie "Meet the Parents" where Ben Stiller's character says "bomb" repeatedly on board a plane, and then is promptly shushed. That's because flight crews or security officers would be within their rights to kick him off the flight.

On a plane, threats and comments about violence are taken a little more seriously than on the ground. Inappropriate clothing is a bit more problematic for the wearer.

That's at least in part because security plays a significant role in commercial air travel. There's a lot of infrastructure dedicated to making sure people fly safely, and the law can back it up.

Federal law applies on airplanes entering U.S. territory, and federal law also requires that you heed all directions from flight attendants. That ensures you obey when they're trying to keep you safe.

It may also mean you have to obey if they find your "The Princess Bride" T-shirt threatening. Hopefully, if you're flying within the United States, they'll get the joke.

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