Every Friday, FlyerTalk looks back at the week’s most charming individuals. While there are always plenty of contenders for our Worst Passenger of the Week award, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory. Here are this week’s winners.
When flying on an international flight, there is no way of knowing what sort of exotic cargo might be in the baggage hold below one’s feet, and if the creepy and crawly discovery this week by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is any indication, it might be best to keep it that way. A routine X-ray of a package at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) revealed that a parcel labeled “plastic” contained instead five king cobra snakes.
CBP Officials contacted US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) agents who (very, very carefully) opened the styrofoam container which had recently arrived from Hong Kong. An inspection of the contents revealed five venomous specials of baby snakes and three geckos, all housed in the same cylindrical container. The live reptiles were later released to the custody of FWS officials who will lead an investigation.
Far from taken aback by the discovery of a tube of deadly reptiles, the CBP wanted to let the public know that interdicting venomous hooded snakes is all just part of the job. “Our CBP officers perform numerous daily tasks to protect the United States from potential dangers,” spokesperson Leon Hayward said in the ultimate humble-brag. “This seizure demonstrates our wide-ranging responsibility in protecting our borders and our partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
It is a clear indication that Ryanair fares might be too cheap when a fugitive on the lam uses the ultra-low-fare carrier as his getaway driver. Fortunately, police got their man moments before a Monday afternoon flight from Manchester Airport (MAN) to Dublin Airport (DUB) took off.
The flight was already taxiing to the runway when police stormed the plane to arrest a passenger in connection with an “indecent assault” in London. The wanted man was quickly taken into custody and the remaining passengers were free to continue the short journey to DUB. The unidentified 31-year-old suspect, meanwhile, was soon rerouted to a London jail to face the music.
Ryanair officials (with absolutely no flair for the dramatic) made the whole affair seem almost routine and decidedly less like an especially exciting rerun of The Sweeney than one might have hoped. “Police removed and detained a passenger on this flight from Manchester to Dublin ahead of take-off,” the airline said in a matter-of-fact statement. “This is now a matter for local police.”
Passengers can sometimes choose their seats, but they can’t always choose their seatmates. Unfortunately, a bad seatmate can make a flight much more unpleasant than an uncomfortable seat.
Kyle Vogt says he has no idea why he was allegedly attacked by the passenger in the seat next to him during a Southwest Airlines flight from Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) this week. In fact, Vogt insists that he didn’t even know his assailant’s name until reporters started calling about his bizarre inflight experience.
Vogt tells reporters that the aggressive passenger next to him twice put him in a headlock and threatened him shortly after takeoff. He says the man then punched him several times, causing the flight to return to AUS.
“I just thought he was joking,” Vogt told Austin NBC affiliate KXAN. “But after the second time, I was cautious with him.”
According to Vogt, the belligerent passenger issued the unprovoked threat, “After we’re done taking off, I’m going to beat the f*** out of you,” while the plane was still on the ground. Once airborne, the agitated flyer reportedly attempted to make good on his promise.
According to police reports, 28-year-old Aaron Sweeney wasn’t done causing trouble even after officers boarded the plane to arrest him. The allegedly intoxicated Sweeney reportedly continued his rampage by threatening police. Sweeney is said to have shouted a familiar warning to at least one cop: “You think you can take me one on one? I’ll f*** you up!”
Police eventually strapped the rampaging flyer to a wheelchair, but Sweeney then made several attempts to tip the chair over. According to affidavits, even after he was booked into jail, Sweeney continued to make random threats against those around him, at one point telling his jailers that he was going to kill the arresting officer.