The “Welcome to Luton” prank sign appeared near Gatwick airport last week.

Gatwick Arrivals Duped

A 60m long sign welcoming passengers to Luton caused confusion and panic among passengers arriving at London’s Gatwick Airport last week. The giant white letters were placed in a field near the airport and are visible to passengers as the plane approaches the runway.

Twitter user Abbey Desmond, from Great Dunmow Essex, told the BBC that she was in a “state of panic” when she saw the sign out of the window on her return to the UK. Seeing the funny side, Desmond later tweeted “…great prank, deffo at Gatwick”, along with a photo of the sign on Twitter. The post has received over 20,000 likes.

Journalist Jeremy Cliffe was also fooled, tweeting, “Nothing makes for a stress-free arrival in the UK quite like the words WELCOME TO LUTON currently spelled out in giant white letters in a field under the final approach to Gatwick Airport.”

The Culprit

The man behind the stunt is YouTube prankster Max Fosh, who apologised if “anyone has been seriously thrown”. Fosh appeared on the Justin Dealey show on BBC Three Counties Radio to talk about the prank, admitting, “I am the pesky prankster that has written Welcome To Luton”.

Fosh, who boasts 923,000 followers on Twitter, said: “It’s my job to make videos, and my videos are all about doing silly things, to put a smile on people’s faces, but just to be silly, I’m glad this stunt has gone down well.”. He said he’d got the idea from similar pranks in the USA and Australia.

The "Welcome to Cleveland" sign sits outside Milwaukee Airport
The “Welcome to Cleveland” sign sits outside Milwaukee Airport | TODAY

In 1978, Milwaukee resident Mark Gubin painted the words “Welcome to Cleveland” on the roof of his apartment in six-foot white letters. In 2021, the stunt inspired a building owner in Sydney to do the same, writing “Welcome to Perth” on his roof using industrial road paint.

Making the Luton Sign

Instead of paint, Fosh used giant tarpaulin letters for his sign, which he says cost him £4,000 to make. Describing how he settled on a location, he commented: “I went door-knocking on fields next to Heathrow and Gatwick, and a lovely couple said, ‘yeah, we’ve got a 80m long patch of land we don’t have any use for’, so I said ‘great can I get my tarpaulin out and start hammering pegs into the ground?’.”

Welcome to Luton sign outside gatwick
Max Fosh hammering pegs into the ground | Max Fosh

The sign can be found in a field adjoining United Grab Hire in Horley. The YouTuber says he has permission for the letters to be there for six weeks.

Have you been fooled by the prank? Let us know in the comments below!

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