Italian Guido Menzio was just preparing for a talk at Queen’s University

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The unfortunate story of a maths whizz and a nosy airplane passenger has resurfaced across social media.

Back in 2016, Italian-born University of Pennsylvania economics professor, Guido Menzio, found himself in a sticky situation before taking off on an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse.

Granted, solving a tricky maths equation isn’t everyone's cup of tea when they’re on a long flight but this was Menzio’s entertainment of choice, so fair play to him.

He had been sitting next to a woman on the plane who at first said she felt unwell, so had to be escorted off the plane, when in fact, she just wanted to raise concerns about Guido’s scribbles on a piece of paper (which turned out to just be a maths equation.)

American Airlines spokesperson Casey Norton told Buzzfeed News that at one point, Menzio even expressed concern to see if the woman was okay – little did he know.

It was at this point that an awkward conversation took place between the captain and Menzio to confirm that the scribblings of a ‘foreign language’ were just, well…maths.

Speaking to The Washington Post, he said that the pilot ‘seemed embarrassed’ when he learnt that the nosy neighbour's doubts were nothing but paranoia, and that he was just preparing for a talk at Queen’s University on a working paper about menu costs and price dispersion.

The American Airlines captain was embarrassed when he learnt the truth

The flight eventually took off after a two hour hold up and the woman, who he declined to name, decided to take a separate flight that evening.

At least some reddit users saw the jovial side of this rather awkward situation, with one joking "weapons of math destruction", while another said "it’s Al-gebra, not Al-Qaeda".