Courtesy of USA Today
A 19-year-old man suffering from Tourette’s syndrome was barred from a JetBlue flight after the man kept repeating “bomb” at Washington’s Reagan National Airport.
The passenger, Michael Doyle, 19, of Rockville, Md., was ticketed to travel from Washington to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was to participate in a Revolutionary War re-enactment, according to The Associated Press.
Doyle tells Fox 5 of Washington that he produced paperwork documenting his illness, just in case he had an incident that concerned security personnel.
Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder that can cause uncontrolled speech.
Doyle estimates he repeated “bomb” as many as 100 times. AP writes Doyle “said he had the Boston Marathon bombings on his mind, as he became more nervous, the problem worsened.”
“I was telling myself in my head before don’t say bomb,” Doyle explains to ABC News. “When you try to suppress Tourette’s, it comes out even worse.”
Doyle says Transportation Security Administration officials let him through security and onto the plane. But Doyle says the problem came from a pilot on his JetBlue flight. The pilot, apparently unable to get past Doyle’s “bomb” talk, asked him to get off the flight just before departure.
“We went through TSA saying ‘bomb’ the whole time and no one stopped us,” Doyle tells Fox 5. “No one said anything because they were aware.”
Describing being barred from the flight, Doyle tells Fox 5: “I mean they stood me up in front of everyone and told me like I’m in kindergarten that I’m not allowed to go on the plane.”
New York-based JetBlue issued a statement saying the pilot initially had a security concern but later determined the situation was “innocuous” and offered Doyle a spot on the next flight, according to AP.
Doyle acknowledges he was offered a free round-trip ticket on another JetBlue flight, but says he was given no guarantee that he would be allowed to fly.
Ultimately, Doyle and a friend he was traveling with gave up on their trip to Puerto Rico.
“It is very frustrating, especially after three hours of sitting there and two years planning, and it just doesn’t happen,” Doyle’s 20-year-old friend Chaz Petteway says to ABC News.