[In light of the FBI raid of Christopher Soghoian's house and computers,
David Rowell at www.thetravelinsider.info pointed out this other
boarding pass story from Australia earlier this year. - WK]
By Jano Gibson
August 18, 2006
It's a prank Bart Simpson would be proud of. After several controversial
stunts, including trying to flog knuckle-dusters outside a Bulldogs
rugby league game and approaching the Prime Minister, John Howard, with
an over-sized axe, ABC TV's Chaser boys have struck again.
The pranksters pulled off a stunt at Sydney Airport on Wednesday which
saw Virgin Blue staff make a "final boarding call" announcement for five
late passengers, including one which sounded suspiciously like Mr Al
Qaeda and another which sounded like Mr Terrorist.
Less than a week since UK and US authorities foiled a plot to blow-up
mid-air trans-Atlantic flights, The Chaser's War on Everything decided
to test domestic airport security in the most "puerile" way possible.
The satirical show's executive producer, Julian Morrow, said two tickets
were booked online under the names "Mr Al Kyder" and "Mr Terry Wrist"
for an 8.30am Virgin Blue flight from Sydney to Melbourne.
He picked up the boarding passes using the airline's self-serve
computers, which do not require proof of photo identification.
Then, after deliberately failing to board the plane, an announcement was
made over the airport's loud speaker system.
"Good morning ladies and gentleman," the announcement said. "This is the
final boarding call for [name withheld], [name withheld], Al Kyder,
[name withheld], and Terry Wrist, all travelling to Melbourne today on
Virgin Blue flight 822."
Julian Morrow told smh.com.au: "We've been following the media coverage
about airline security and, in particular, whether domestic security is
lighter, and we thought we would test that in the most puerile way that
"We are giving Bart Simpson a writer's credit on the show," he said,
referring to the cartoon character's penchant for prank calls.
Virgin Blue described The Chaser's stunt as "childish humour" but said
security was never at risk.
"The Chaser guys could do well with using spell check. Using names that
could be genuine such as Al Kyder and Terry Wrist is hardly going to
spark a global security alert, especially considering everyone goes
through the same stringent security procedures," the airline's
spokeswoman, Amanda Bolger, said.
"They obviously have Bart Simpson as a consultant and while we are happy
to take the $282 taxpayer dollars they spent on the bookings, we don't
think in the current climate, their childish humour is appreciated by
Mr Morrow said the prank was approved by ABC management and was
obviously meant in jest.
"I also assume that using a joke name is not really high up there in the
list of serious terrorist strategies."
Earlier this month, The Chaser's Craig Reucassel approached John Howard
during his morning walk with an over-sized axe - a reference to an
incident in which a school boy hugged the Prime Minister while holding a
Mr Howard saw the funny side of the situation and accepted a hug from Mr
In July, The Chaser's Chas Licciardello was charged with offensive
behaviour after a stunt in which he tried to give away fake
knuckle-dusters, an imitation knife and flares to fans outside a
Bulldogs versus St George Illawarra NRL game.
Visit the InfoSec News store!