Mathematician kicked off flight for working on equations

Passenger alerted cabin crew over Guido Menzio's suspicious scribblings

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A flight was delayed for two hours after a female passenger saw a mathematician working on a differential equation and alerted staff.

Guido Menzio was removed from the American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse and questioned.

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After showing agents what he had been writing the flight took off with a two-hour delay.

Speaking to the Washington Post, he said the pilot seemed embarrassed.

Menzio was on a connecting flight to Ontario to give a talk at Queen's University.

Writing on Facebook, he said he was met by an "FBI-looking man-in-black": "They ask me about my neighbour. I tell them I noticed nothing strange. They tell me she thought I was a terrorist because I was writing strange things on a pad of paper. I laugh. I bring them back to the plane. I showed them my math."

Menzio, who is Italian, said he initially "thought they were trying to get clues about her illness."

The woman, who had passed a note to a flight attendant, left the aircraft as she was too ill to travel.

Casey Norton, a spokesman for American Airlines, told the Washington Post that the woman had indeed initially told the crew she was sick, but when she deplaned she disclosed that the reason she was feeling ill was her concern about the behaviour of her seatmate.

Norton added that security personnel interviewed Menzio and determined him not to be a "credible threat."

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