News & Politics

Hijacking Alert Issued Over Spilt Airplane Coffee


Perhaps the most disturbing part of this story about an in-flight cockpit coffee spill is this: Pilots are allowed to drink coffee while piloting commercial airliners!? Because it seems that a coffee spill could do far worse than simply triggering a hijacking alert and forcing a United Airlines jet to make an emergency landing in Toronto, as happened Monday night. Coffee spills, as we all know, can be epic.

Via the Globe and Mail:

Flight 940 from Chicago to Frankfurt was in the air when the commanding captain spilled the caffeinated beverage onto the plane’s radio, causing it to send out transponder code (or “squawk”) 7500, denoting a highjacking, says a Transport Canada report released Tuesday.

It was quickly determined that coffee had not actually attempted to hijack the plane, nor had anyone else. Since the communications system was deemed fucked compromised, however, the crew made an emergency landing.

CNN reports that United, in fact, “did not acknowledge that the caffeinated beverage had anything to do with it” and that the communications issue is under review.

Still, drinking and driving is known to create problems, whether it’s coffee or something with a little more kick. Can we all just agree to caffeinate on the ground? Or, barring that…sippy cups with straws?

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