British Airways responds to Osama bin Laden boarding pass

by Emily DUNBAR on June 4, 2010

British Airways has been quick to address the ‘mock’ boarding pass showing Osama bin Laden’s name, and has said that the mishap is nothing to laugh about. The fake boarding pass first cropped up in a BA staff magazine for Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.

In a statement, British Airways revealed the photograph had come from an internet image gallery from 2008. According to the airline, an image-depicting boarding pass was needed to support a new system being developed that required aviation-relate imaging libraries. Unfortunately, said the carrier, those details were not noted in the article.

Additionally, the statement clarified that British Airways had no hand in the construction of the image and had never used the image before. According to UK publication the Daily Mail, which highlighted the story, the Osama bin Laden boarding pass had been used to underscore a story on BA’s plan to allow boarding passes to be access from mobile handsets. The article appeared first in BA’s magazine LHR News.

British Airways issued an apology in its statement, reinterating the carrier’s regret that it had not checked the publication more thoroughly. In the image the boarding pass appears on a mobile phone in the background. The pass shows a frequent flyer number, indicates Mr Bin Laden prefers First class, and is stamped with the date 26 October 2010.

A BA spokesman put to rest any rumours that the boarding pass was the sign of a terrorist threat, but said that the carrier understood the offence such a mistake may have caused.

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