International Students Guide - Watch your Words

6. Watch Your Words

Several years ago, two international students from Syracuse University were escorted off an airplane at Hancock Airport in Syracuse and were closely questioned by legal authorities. Passengers became concerned and notified security officials when the students began to ask questions about the flight time, the engine, and other matters about the flight. It turned out that one of the students suffers from motion sickness and was worried about the possible turbulence in this type of aircraft, and how long it would be in the air relative to his medication for air sickness! They were both quite "innocent," and allowed to continue their trip. However, it caused a serious delay in the travel plans of all the passengers, and great anxiety, as you can imagine, for the students and all the passengers. These students were NOT part of any particular ethnic, cultural or religious group which would have 'targeted' them, so one cannot look at this situation as discrimination or "racial profiling." People around them who overheard their questions of the flight attendants were just frightened, and the airplane personnel had to respond.

This incident is a good example of why it is best to be cautious and discrete in your conversations while traveling.