Man with Tourette Syndrome denied flight after saying "bomb" - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Man with Tourette Syndrome denied flight after saying "bomb"

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WASHINGTON, DC -

A man with Tourette Syndrome was denied boarding a plane Thursday after he said the word “bomb.”

Michael Doyle and Chaz Petteway are friends and travel companions. They were booked on a Jet Blue flight from Reagan National Airport to San Juan Puerto Rico Thursday to take part in a weekend Revolutionary War reenactment.

"It was a really big deal for us. It was going to be fun. A very fun time," said Michael Doyle.

Doyle says he was not allowed to board his flight because of his Tourette’s. But they'd planned ahead, alerting Jet Blue and the TSA about his so-called ticking. That’s frequent outbursts and vocalizing thoughts he's trying to suppress.

“With all the stuff in the news about the Boston bombings and stuff... I started ticking 'bomb.' Because that when I get nervous and anything on my mind will come out. And things you're not supposed to say," said Doyle.

It didn't cause any issues at passenger screening.

"We went through TSA saying 'bomb' the whole time and no one stopped us. No one said anything because they were aware.”

But just minutes before boarding, the Jet Blue pilot put the kibosh on the trip.

"I mean they stood me up in front of everyone and told me like I'm in kindergarten that I'm not allowed to go on the plane," said Doyle.

"To me it looks like it was kind of discrimination you know," said Chaz Petteway.

In a statement to FOX 5 News, Jet Blue officials says Doyle “was deemed a safety concern by the pilot in command after using the word "bomb." After further investigation, the situation was deemed innocuous."

"It doesn't make up for the embarrassment or the fact that we missed something that we'd been planning for two years," said Doyle.

"Tourette’s was discovered over 200 years ago and we still don't have a cure," said Marla Gabala, chairwoman of Tourette Syndrome Association Of Greater Washington. She has two teenage daughters with Tourette’s.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is that they can stop doing it. And the perfect way to think about it, when you have Tourette syndrome it is a tick. It is an involuntary response like a sneeze."

One that Doyle says leaves scars that run deep.

"I mean this has happened multiple times in my life... And it's... it just...it hurts."

Michael says he was offered a free round trip ticket on another Jet Blue flight but no guarantee this wouldn't happen again.

The airline said his buddy Chaz could take the flight, but he decided to stay back with Michael.

He did have outbursts during our visit, but none that crept into the critical points he was making during our interview.

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