Meanwhile, as the TSA was patting down 90 year old women and four year old kids, other things were going on:

Mysterious messages that appeared to be scrawled in Arabic writing on the underbellies of several Southwest Airlines jets were being investigated Wednesday by the airline and the FBI, Los Angeles radio station KNX-1070 reported.

The graffiti, which began appearing in February on 737-model planes, has been found more often in recent weeks, according to the report.

The writing appears to have been etched using a chemical process and is visible only after an auxiliary power unit is turned on.

Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King confirmed that the company is “conducting an internal investigation.” The FBI and Transportation Security Administration were also making enquiries.

The story doesn’t indicate what the messages translate to, but I’m sure it’s not “Eat at Joe’s” or “Goodyear.”

The reporter must have contacted Janet Napolitano for this last sentence:

The airline denied that the vandalism posed a safety or security threat.

Whew! That should make SW’s customers feel better!

Let me get this straight… they’ve discovered Arabic graffiti on jets, they don’t know how it got there or why, but they’re sure it’s not a security threat? I’m satisfied.

ABC-15 has this:

The sources believe the markings are being done by an employee or group of employees joking around.

If that’s the case, then the airline has some idiots working for it. And idiots with access to commercial airliners is probably not a good thing for a host of reasons.

Comments

15 Responses to “Airport Insecurity: FBI Investigating Arabic Writing Discovered on Underbellies of SW Airlines Jets”

  1. backwoods on September 22nd, 2011 11:02 am

    "If that’s the case, then the airline has some idiots working for it. And idiots with access to commercial airliners is probably not a good thing for a host of reasons."

    That is true. Unfortunately, idiots often have access to a lot of things it's dangerous for them to be near. Airplanes, automobiles, voting booths…

  2. Granny55 on September 22nd, 2011 11:55 am

    I have always enjoyed flying on SW flights and will be off to Texas for Thanksgiving, however, I will not fly SW after this debacle. And I let them know it too.

  3. Dexter_Alarius on September 22nd, 2011 12:29 pm

    I tend to think this is the same kind of butthead that writes "This is a holdup" on the back of a generic deposit slip in a bank, and puts it back in the stack for some unsuspecting sucker to hand it to a teller a few days later.

    Hopefully they can find him and fire his @$$. It's not funny.

  4. F.Merinere on September 22nd, 2011 12:44 pm

    Being a very frequent SW customore, I am concerned that crazier muslim sects and Al queda also have an untold number of US air to ground missles left over from the old Afgahn war days…could the etchings be a way to mark those aircraft as targets in the future?,,,just thinking out loud,,,,,

  5. Portia on September 22nd, 2011 12:51 pm

    I'm pretty sure SW needs to start profiling Christians, particularly those who are retired military and don't kill their children….

  6. Obama bin Biden on September 22nd, 2011 1:19 pm

    Be sure to interrogate Murray the baggage handler but don't offend Mohammad.

  7. sizemorew on September 22nd, 2011 1:24 pm

    Dollars to doughnuts, that message is something along the lines of "SHOOT THIS ONE"

  8. Dexter_Alarius on September 22nd, 2011 3:15 pm

    You meant "surface to air" missiles (SAMs), and, it's true there are a lot of MANPADS (Man-portable Air Defense Systems, i.e. shoulder-fired SAMs) out there. Those systems are largely heat-seeking, so chemical writing on the body would have no effect.

    All the stories describe "Arabic-like symbols" and none have mentioned what the symbols "say". I think it was a prank, and someone just scribbled what they thought looked like Arabic writing on the plane to scare one of his buddies.

  9. Dexter_Alarius on September 22nd, 2011 3:19 pm

    I think a crew chief scribbled "Don't forget the grounding wires" next to the power connector, and everyone's looking at it upside down.

  10. Truesoldier on September 22nd, 2011 3:35 pm

    Not to mention the newly aquired MANPADS from Libya. As for the markings I was wondering if it was to spot specified flight paths (would make targeting a whole lot easier if you knew the projected flight path of certain routes).

    It could very easily be some stupid prank in which case the idiot(s) involved not only need to be fired, but prosecuted to the fullest extent. Make them an example that this type of prank just ain't funny.

    A third though would depend on whether or not SW at LAX is unionized or not. If they are, could this be an attempt to create a "problem" for SW prior to contract negotiations?

    Without anymore information (like what the words/ symbols are) then there is just no telling what is going on.

  11. Marshall_Will on September 22nd, 2011 10:28 pm

    Not leaning toward prank. Having worked groundcrew, there isn't a motion to waste. You'll becme a ballet dancer, not one wasted step. If you can eliminate (1) trip back to the power cart etc. you'll have it dialed in.

    You're also having your every MOVE watched and watched closely. From the tower, passengers, Air Terminal and of course the aircrew. You simply don't have time for j@rking around. IMHO

  12. Swimming off into the Midnight Sun…. | adeliemanchot on September 24th, 2011 6:45 pm

    [...] Airport Insecurity: FBI Investigating Arabic Writing Discovered on Underbellies of SW Airlines Jets The story doesn’t indicate what the messages translate to, but I’m sure it’s not “Eat at Joe’s” or “Goodyear.” [...]

  13. Hyperfobea on September 27th, 2011 9:30 am

    "The writing appears to have been etched using a chemical process and is visible only after an auxiliary power unit is turned on."

    Nice. So much for security if not one but many planes can be vandalized in such a way as this. Seems the only parties in the proverbial petri dish are passengers.

  14. Sally Lockwood on September 18th, 2012 6:43 am

    We all wish we could get the best security whenever we're on airports. But apart from that, it would also be better if they wouldn't charge that much for our excess baggage.

  15. phil airlines on June 12th, 2013 12:22 am

    Airlines must be aware about it, and do some professional aid for the passengers. The safe and security of the passengers must be dealt first effectively.

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