January 5, 2010

Joan Rivers bumped off flight in Costa Rica when Continental gate agent finds passport suspicious

Posted: 07:03 PM ET

Programming note: Joan will talk to Larry one-on-one  tonight about what happened to her in Costa Rica at 9pm ET / 6pm PT...

For more information on Joan Rivers and Joan's upcoming appearances (including her appearances on QVC this weekend) go to

Via New York Daily News

By Nancy Dillon

LOS ANGELES – Joan Rivers is many things: Funny lady. Jewelry mogul. Red carpet mercenary. But a terrorist?

Can we talk?

Rivers, 76, was deemed a danger to national security and booted from a Newark-bound flight in Costa Rica on Sunday by a jittery Continental Airlines gate agent who found the two names on her passport fishy.

Her passport reads: Joan Rosenberg AKA Joan Rivers. Rosenberg was her late husband's last name.

The "nasty and cruel" Continental gate agent bumped Rivers from the last flight out Sunday and the comedian found herself alone (her daughter, Melissa, flew out to Los Angeles earlier in the day) and with no ATM card and just $100 cash, she said.

Rivers' tale of woe put a famous face on travel's new reality – one that leaves many feeling like common criminals.

"If I were going to make up an alias, I wouldn't pick Rosenberg. I'd pick Jolie or Pitt," said Rivers, back home Monday in New York with her sense of humor intact.  "Do terrorists wear Manolo Blahniks? I can tell you Donna Karan does not make anything that hides a bomb," she said.


Filed under: Joan Rivers • Larry King Live

Share this on:
Dodie   January 5th, 2010 7:50 pm ET

Well, at least the officials are now reading the passports closely. Yes, what a trade off. Loss of rights for increase in security! Talk about a pitiful time for the US! ~sigh~

Pull out of the Middle East, stop bombing and killing innocent people and I am willing to bet the terrorists attacks will eventually subside in the next 20 years!

shasta2001   January 5th, 2010 8:14 pm ET

Maybe she was there for another cosmetic surgery. Could be she no longer resembled her passport photo!

KJ   January 5th, 2010 10:56 pm ET

So Joan Rivers showed up at the airport with a ticket that did not have her namen on it and she's pissed off because they wouldn't get her board the plane? Why is she blaming them for letting her get through 4 or 5 different checkpoints and then not let her board when she should have noticed that the name on the ticket was Joseph Rivers and dealt with the mistake herself before she even got to the boarding area?!

Rosemary Fawley   January 5th, 2010 10:59 pm ET

Yes, the security messed up with Joan Rivers, BUT, we must all take some responsibility. She should have checked her passport IMMEDIATELY upon receiving it for accuracy.

Daniel   January 5th, 2010 10:59 pm ET

Stop complaining lady, your name was different from the passport. Just because you are a celebrity your get no different treatment. Make sure your read your ticket next time like the other mortals do.

Daniel from Costa Rica

Nora   January 5th, 2010 10:59 pm ET

This what happens to overly pampered celebs. You can't fly ANYWHERE with wrong name on ticket!!!!!

Stephen   January 5th, 2010 11:00 pm ET

Joan Rivers has it wrong and's a disgrace to security that she got past four stations with the wrong name. We're lucky that one on-the-ball gate attendant played by the rules. Besides, with all the "work" Joan's had done she could very well be Joseph Rosenberg!

Jennifer   January 5th, 2010 11:01 pm ET

Shame on you, Larry for having Joan Rivers on your show complaining about her personal problems in getting through security at an airport in Costa Rica. During this time of War against Terrorism, she, nor any other person – celebrity or not -should think they have special privileges. She had conflicting tickets-passport information and the agent at the gate did the right thing. Shame on her for complaining and shame on you for giving her a platform to pout about her personal travel/vacation problems. I lost respect for that woman on the Apprentice and lost even more respect for her from watching your show. Tell all of your "celebrity" friends – to get over themselves, become patriots and along with the rest of us... do what they should be doing to keep America safe.

J L Tilson   January 5th, 2010 11:01 pm ET

I regret that Joan Rivers was not allowed to fly.

I still believe that it would be better to inconvenience her and a thousand other celebrities than to let a plane to go down.

sonal   January 5th, 2010 11:01 pm ET

I think she is making such a big deal about this, okay so being a celebrity deserves so much attention, then why is it that when a celebrity an actor from India was detained in NY at the airport for hours and was told he had a common last name. Didnt see too much attention on that.

Nora   January 5th, 2010 11:01 pm ET

Why Larry King has her on? What is the point?

Terry   January 5th, 2010 11:03 pm ET

That's unfortunate what happened to Joan Rivers......................but she exeperienced what "we the rest of the world" go through every day!
The Airlines,TSA Imigration etc. have a tough thankless job to do!
If she and other Celebs travel on Airlines they have to go through the same scrutiny as us! She needs a reality check or hire a private plane!

Jeff Stewart   January 5th, 2010 11:05 pm ET

Absolutely no sympathy for Joan Rivers. The name on her passport did not match the plane ticket, plus a female name on the passport and male name on the ticket. The only problem I have is that she wasn't snagged at the first checkpoint. Enough of the elitist attittudes about national security! Joan, welcome to the real world. National security needs to have zero tolerance, regardless of socio-economic status. It is her responsibility to ensure that her passport and ticket match. If not, suffer the consequences. it should not matter if it's Joan what!!!

Jeff Stewart,
Seattle, WA

emilliano zapatta   January 5th, 2010 11:06 pm ET

I tried to talk to the pilot ...

aren't you special !

why aren't you on your own private jet and leave us poor folks a chance to deal with all the stress without your snivvleing.

It was HER responsibility to notice the ticket was wrong in the first place, and get it corrected. Because she felt she was so special she could just "wing it" just doesn't cut it . The agents have enough to deal with without poor helpless Joan Rivers .......

be an adult, Joan. You screwed up ...

Edie Davis   January 5th, 2010 11:06 pm ET

Joan Rivers is incorrect. She should have not been allowed on that flight. Continental had every right to keep her off. At 76 and flying as much as she does, she should have looked at her e-mail tickets before leaving the country. I am a travel agent and know the rules.

jonathan   January 5th, 2010 11:07 pm ET

This can happen in any airport in the world. I guess it does not make it right, but it is a price to pay in order to be "secure". I guess Joan Rivers feels like a first class citizen, that can not be a victim of the working class everyday problems.

Rudolph Norton   January 5th, 2010 11:07 pm ET

Joan/ Joseph should have corrected the ticket information before her flight. Congratulations to the gate agent in Costa Rica for doing her job!

ALJ from NC   January 5th, 2010 11:07 pm ET

Come on, why are we giving her air time? I'm sure she isn't the only person that was denied boarding nor will she be the last. Joan, be a big girl and show respect for the agent that was doing her job. Security is much more critical than your inconvenience.

murphy   January 5th, 2010 11:07 pm ET

Why on earth would such a well traveled woman NOT review he documentation and tickets? It is her responsibility to make sure everything is correct-her name must match her passport-period! What if someone with the first name of Amed or last name Hussain had the same problem she had-rules are rules!

Jennifer   January 5th, 2010 11:08 pm ET

Joan Rivers' travel woes is NOT news! – get her off CNN!

mike   January 5th, 2010 11:08 pm ET

If the ticket agent gave her a boarding pass with a wrong name on it, isn't it up to the passenger, or in this case the passeneger's assistant , to review the boarding pass to be correct. take responsibility for one's self.....

and the ticket agent that refused to let her on the plane was not the idiot, the idiots were the Agents that let her get that far with such a glaring mistake.

not sure who Joan Rivers think she is; but rules still apply to her, even if she just a QVC barker, or Celeb apprentice winner, or an has-been comedian, rules do still apply.

megan elizabeth   January 5th, 2010 11:15 pm ET

not sure who disappoints me more- JR for whining about this or LK for airing this as news. Shame on you Joan for not using that six-hour car ride more wisely to reflect on your entitled attitude or even to learn that man's name. Please do not air such ridonculous stories posing as news. When I turn on LKL, I expect about more James Carville?! Joan, I am sure you would be first in line to complain if that same security official allowed a dangeroius person onto your flight. Get over this, move on and thank the good Lord you live in a country where someone has your back. Quit complaining!

chuckhouston   January 5th, 2010 11:16 pm ET

It is time you retired Joan Rivers. This whole ticket problem in Costa Rica could have been avoided if she would have checked the name when the ticket was issued. That is how us common people deal with these problems.

Gladys G   January 5th, 2010 11:19 pm ET

Joan Rivers should be grateful after going through several checkpoints where the agents failed to see there was something wrong with her ticket name and passport name, and one smart officer picked it up in time and was just doing her job. Especially in these trying times of terrorism in the air.

Canadian71   January 5th, 2010 11:20 pm ET

Joan I feel sorry for you as you seem like a nice lady. I imagine your situation was rather frightening. However, being not a U.S. resident and a non celebrity, I have had to put up with many policy changes and security increases at the airports and land border crossings into the U.S., some of which are good, many of which are poorly implemented and have no real security value. Perhaps if more of celebrities have problems the U.S. government lead policies. The U.S. government may stop with the ridiculous requests and focus on well thought out procedures that work, rather than what just sounds good on TV.

Gail T.   January 5th, 2010 11:30 pm ET

Larry, you should tell Joan, "Don't Leave Home Without It" – correct boarding pass & money/credit card for travel emergency! But wait, just think of all the press & jokes she will get from this "self-made" security issue! She should sit back, quit complaining & enjoy this ride!

jim   January 5th, 2010 11:30 pm ET

Joan Rivers is a perfect example of what many in the international community call "The Ugly American". A rich american expecting special treatment. In a system of checks and person noticed that her boarding pass and her passport did not match. That individual did her job and denied Ms Rivers access to the plane. She should be applauded for noticing what others' before her did not !

Sandy Hartman   January 5th, 2010 11:32 pm ET

I am certain the recent holidays caused many to feel, even more succinctly, the pain of job loss, the economic pinch, the dis-ease of air flight, and general uncertainty of the times. But, insult to injury, Joan Rivers had a difficult experience at the end of her family vacation!

Murali   January 5th, 2010 11:33 pm ET

Joan Rivers should be upset with herself and the agent for the not checking the name on the ticket

We should be happy that at least one person caught it. Just because this was not caught by 5 people doesn’t mean that the next should allow this.

She has to fire herself and her agent before asking the guys who missed to catch the issue to be fired. She and her agent should be ashamed for not having done the basic check when getting the ticket. Instead of being shamed of herself she is blowing up on others. Typical celebrity syndrome

Carolyn   January 5th, 2010 11:34 pm ET

Thanks to Joan Rivers for enlightening me. As difficult as the situation must have been, I pray that I will deal with difficult challenges during and after the event with diplomacy, focusing on the issues and not calling names or making remarks about a woman's monthly cycle. I see how I might come across if I don't and it's not pretty.

Marcia   January 5th, 2010 11:47 pm ET

The problem wasn't having 2 names on the passport, but having the wrong name on the ticket. What part of that doesn't she understand? Did she fly to Costa Rica with that same ticket and nobody noticed? The whole story is just strange.

Gerald Jolly   January 5th, 2010 11:49 pm ET


Joan Rivers AKA BROOMFIELD, not allowed to board a plane??

Stop the presses, foul play at work for sure.

But after all is said and done.


Rochelle   January 6th, 2010 12:01 am ET

I think Continental should reward the attentive gate agent who discovered Joan Rivers was flying on a ticket not issued in her name, especially as five others attendants apparently missed this important inconsistency! Shame on you, Joan Rivers, for expecting special treatment. Your sense of entitlement is appalling.

manda   January 6th, 2010 12:22 am ET

I am sure this was a lovely experience for all who she made contact with........ Anyone else wonder why her family left at the airport ???????

manda   January 6th, 2010 12:29 am ET

joan is so .so michael jackson

Gerry Dunphy   January 6th, 2010 1:22 am ET

Enough of that ! Why not ask the other privileged, rich person, the Nigerian kid why he is so radicalised ?
What was it that made him so alienated? So angry as to do a horrible deed ? If he has problems then why can't we ask him what they are ?
There must be many more like him lurking around who are alienated, and who could be a danger to us, yet how are to find out?
Why not ask?

Ren   January 6th, 2010 2:00 am ET

The agent was completely CORRECT in what she did. Joan admitted that the name on the ticket did not match her passport. HELL-O!! Rivers needs a reality check - just because she made it through several checkpoints with the incorrect name does not mean it was RIGHT! At least someone caught it at the last. Who cares if she is a "pseudo celebrity" in American culture. She needs to get over herself. Geesh.

george roulson   January 6th, 2010 2:05 am ET

nice show mr king, ms rivers, welcome to our world,
do we really believe that the passport says: AKA joan rivers ??
errr, it will be your LEGAL name !
who's next ? AKA Unabomber ? AKA ballon boy ?? huh ?
we all have a given name or a married name, Deal with it,
for all our security (and your's) we need this security, get real...
ciao, georgeR,

Lynne   January 6th, 2010 2:11 am ET

Joan Rivers it is time that you understand that even in an airport your name isn't good enough. You complained of having no money, only $100 cash. Well, Joan, I think that is your own fault. In case of emergency, shouldn't you always carry extra cash and credit cards? You were upset that the final checkpoint you didn't make it through because of your name? Why didn't you check the ticket and change it? Wouldn't you agree that if a terrorist were going though security, that if he made it though 4 checkpoints, you might as well make it though 5? She was doing her job and I praise her for sticking to her guns and not allowing you to board because you are Joan Rivers. And to make a joke about heart attacks in an already stressful situation and different county is insensitive. They may not understand your humor, Joan. And to complain that you had to ride with a stranger for six hours to San Jose? You could have waited for a safer method, but you probably couldn't stand in staying in the likes of a Motel 6 in a foreign country. Mishaps with names happen all the time Joan, but common people deal with it, and you have to make a press story over it. You are ridiculous.

Dave   January 6th, 2010 2:40 am ET

Joan Rivers apparently hasn't watched or read the news recently. If she had, she would have realized that there is heightened security at international airports with flights destined for the U.S. When I saw her Drama Queen reaction on Larry King I immediately came to the following conclusions:

a) Bubble-Bag; Forget Bubble Boy. She is a Bubble-Bag who lives in her own self-centered 'world' and has no idea what is going on around her.
b) Arrogance; This sort of thing only happens to the common people in the world. I wonder how many times she yelled at the airport officials "Don't you know who I am?" Of course, she will never admit to ever saying it even if she did.
c) Spoiled Brat; "I had to drive over 6 hours with a man I didn't know..." Yep, a stranger in a foreign land saw that she was distressed and had a friend of his help her get to her final destination. I wonder how her Knight in Shining Armor would feel after seeing Rivers describe him on CNN with a "possible threat to my personal safety" inflection.
d) Fool; Unknowingly, she portrayed herself on CNN as being above the laws and regulations set in place to protect the masses. I suppose she should be excused from responsibility because of her fame? Sorry, but she breathes air and blinks her eyes just like the rest of us.

Ask me if I feel sorry for her !

Mary   January 6th, 2010 5:55 am ET

Amazing that Larry King had her on...She is so wrong that she should
have gotten special treatment. Koodos to the agent who was not so
star struck that they read the name on the boarding pass. Shame on you, Miss Rivers for acting such a child.

Jesse   January 6th, 2010 6:48 am ET

Get a new passport!!!! Not everyone knows who she is; hell, her appearance has changed multiple times over the years. At what point does she think it's OK to have a passport with an alias on it?

Jesse   January 6th, 2010 6:53 am ET

WOW, she's on right now bashing the lady and calling her "Pre-menstrual" Joan, get real, normal people have to deal with this...You're NOT special. The woman was DOING her JOB, maybe you should get a real job and stop complaining about the security that everyone has to pass now. Perhaps you should voice your complaints to all the radical muslims trying to blow us up.

Joana MARTINHAL   January 6th, 2010 7:03 am ET

Joan Rivers.... I understand her frustrations at not being allowed to board aircraft after passing several checks however there are many checks in place for exactly this reason and she didn't pass the last one. Tough ! Maybe one of her hired helpers didn't booked the ticket correctly which is where the anger should be aimed not at someone doing their job.
To give her air time for this is a disgrace.

karen   January 6th, 2010 7:07 am ET

Being flabbergasted that Mrs. Rivers who looks like a moron of herself -seeing her age- dares to talk about a woman doing her job, like moron and premenstrual, whereas she – according to Mrs. River's words-was
the only one paying attention.
I think a little humiliation should service her and I wonder why you. Larry,
didn' t supply it yourself.

Karen Hekman
The Netherlands

mike   January 6th, 2010 9:04 am ET

wouldn't it be great if the ticket agent's last name was Carson....bumped off the tonight show then a plane...OH-OH-OH...Mr. Pilot can we talk...

Tonitaubi   January 6th, 2010 9:29 am ET

The only reason you don't hear about other cases, even 'more shocking' but covered up to prevent international embarrassment, is that their names are not 'Joan Rivers', etc. celebrity!

With all documents in order, even 'given' names on Certified Birth Certificates and in Official Passports face this stupidity due to either gross ignorance or deliberate racism.

But then, very few of you, if any, have ever been detained at an airport or forced to go through a foreign court, at your own expense, simply because of your name.

I agree, the error should have been caught earlier in Joan Rivers case but it should have been attended to 'officially' at that time, celebrity or not.

Janet   January 6th, 2010 9:52 am ET

I agree with what Jennifer said. And to expand upon it, I find it disgusting (for lack of a better word) that Larry King would have Joan pouting (if she could) about this stupid situation where she should have and DID know her name was incorrect on her passport! Come on now.... if the name was Joanne, instead of Joan, I'd have a bit more sympathy, but to go through step 4 or 5 (as she proclaims) checkpoints with her name as Joseph, and not Joan... puleeze!! We've all heard it over and over again! I would've pointed it out right away.

sheryl ridgeway   January 6th, 2010 10:24 am ET

I guess my post wasn't intelligent enough to post.

I still think Joan Rivers should "grow-up".Does she think she is priviledged because she is a celebrity?And the answer she gave that caller about not caring that the person might loose their job>>>not my fault>
The person who caught the mistake should be praised for enforcing the rules,and the others should go through training again.

Thanks Larry for letting your good friend Joan,come on for air time

Dave   January 6th, 2010 12:07 pm ET

Larry, I along with many other viewers, wonder why your producers felt the Joan River's interview was a newsworthy item. It had nothing to do with the topic of your show, which was airport security. Instead, it gave airtime to a so-called "entertainer" to whine about her own problems, and worse, took time away from your audience to listen to news items that really matter. She came across as a rambling and arrogant individual who used you and your show to complain about her perceived "injustice." I, at least, thank you for cutting off her interview before she had time to make and even bigger fool of herself.

Susan Hamilton   January 6th, 2010 12:59 pm ET

I find this "story" very annoying. Ms. Rivers claims that the incident revolved around her passport, which I would agree to be outrageous, since the passport is an official document. Come to find out during the Larry King show that the real problem was her TICKET, which was issued in the name of Joseph instead of Joan. Who doesn't check their ticket in advance? And why would she think the airline should honor a ticket that might belong to someone else? Wake up, Joan!

JJ   January 6th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

This is ridiculous. So the Queen thinks she is above everyone else?? If you are that stupid that you don't know that names must match exactly as they appear on your passport, then you should not travel internationally. Also, she was not carrying any credit cards?? How stupid is that?? They should have not let her back in the country..period. Then she would have had to hitchhike her way up through Mexico and try to crawl across the border illegally. Too funny. What an idiot she is.

Ted   January 6th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

What, that mummy is not a refugee from that famous London museum, but our own dirty mouth Joan Rivers?

Al   January 6th, 2010 11:46 pm ET

I say give the employee who stopped her from getting on the plane a raise. Joan should have said something when you got your ticket with the wrong first name on it. If I got a ticket that said "Joan" for my first name, I wouldn't leave the ticket counter until fixed.

Sorry Joan – you really showed yourself to be spoiled. I wish everytime I had to wait hours at an airport due to some screwup, I could go on Larry King and vent my frustration to the American public.

Comments have been closed for this article

Keep up to date with Larry

Follow him on Twitter

Become a fan on Facebook

Contact us
Go Behind The Scenes


LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.

With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.

Order from:
Barnes & Noble

King of Hearts

Larry King's King of Hearts

Saving a heart a day is the goal! Learn more about the Foundation and it's efforts to help the uninsured

Visit the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP