Saturday 7 May 2016 18.19 BST
Menzio, who is Italian and has curly, dark hair, told the Associated Press he initially “thought they were trying to get clues about her illness.”
“Instead, they tell me that the woman was concerned that I was a terrorist because I was writing strage things on a pad of paper.”
He told the Washington Post that he was “treated respectfully throughout” the process but remains perturbed by a system that “relies on the input of people who may be completely clueless”.
Passenger fears have prompted a series of problems on airplanes in recent weeks. Last month an Iraqi student who was overheard talking with his uncle in Arabic was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight after a fellow passenger reported him, prompting anger from civil rights groups.