Travel

A Wordle player was caught cheating on a flight — and the TSA thought it was hilarious

C-H-E-A-T?

An American Airlines passenger is dividing opinions online after she was filmed seeking vocabulary help for the New York Times’ cult-classic game Wordle. The video was uploaded to TikTok in 2023 and recently shared to the Transportation Security Administration’s Instagram page, where it took flight yet again.

The original clip, which boasts 1.6 million views, begins with the unidentified passenger playing Wordle — which tasks players with guessing a five-letter word in six tries — on a flight from Santa Ana, California, to Dallas, Texas.

An American Airlines passenger is dividing opinions online after she was filmed seeking vocabulary help for the New York Times’ cult-classic game Wordle. AFP via Getty Images
“I can’t imagine the rationale of cheating at a fun little game to exercise your brain,” scoffed one critic. TikTok/@alexisyanchura

When the camera zooms in, it becomes apparent that the flyer is toggling between the Times app and a website of recommended words, suggesting that she’s trying to game the system.

The clip’s uploader, Alex Yanchura, 35, certainly seemed to think so. “As a daily New York Times Wordle player who takes the game more seriously than one should, I was shocked at what I was seeing — thank goodness for 9x zoom!” the Floridian told People this week.

The cheating debate raged anew when the TSA shared the clip to its page on April 4 with the punny caption, “Would you consonant-ly be S T R N over her shoulder, too?”

Many Wordlers sided with Yanchura.

“I can’t imagine the rationale of cheating at a fun little game to exercise your brain,” scoffed one critic. “Why play if you don’t want to play lol?”

Another wondered, “Who cheats on wordle?!? So odd … no one knows if you got it wrong or how many times it took to get it right lol … super odd trait.”

However, others denied that the flyer was cheating, with one defender declaring, “Checking to see if a word has already been played is not cheating. Who’s going to remember hundreds of past solutions?”

The video went viral again after getting shared by the Transportation Security Administration. Instagram/@tsa

Even more commenters were perturbed by Yanchura filming the passenger’s phone screen without consent.

“The amount of people who think it’s okay to force themselves into someone’s space and secretly film them or take picture of them or what they’re doing and who think it’s okay to violate someone’s privacy like this, is astounding,” one emphasized.

Interestingly, cheating is apparently not uncommon among Wordlers.

A 2022 study by Wordfinderx found that online answer searches increased 196% since the Times acquired Wordle, which many people attribute to the Gray Lady making the brain game too difficult.

Some people questioned the ethics of filming a fellow flyer’s phone screen. TikTok/@alexisyanchura

In a notorious incident in February 2022, social media users claimed they were unable to win one of the games due to too many vocabulary variations.

Around the same time, the Times was accused of “trolling millennials” with a Wordle “so obscure” that only the animated problem-solver “Bob the Builder” could figure it out.