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Worst Passenger of the Week

Worst Passenger of the Week: The Revenge of the Ugly American

Worst Passenger of the Week: The Revenge of the Ugly American
Jeff Edwards

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.

Third Place – The Emotional Support Attack Dog

An emotional support animal can be the difference between independence or being homebound for some people suffering with severe PTSD. The support of a faithful animal companion has helped countless combat veterans and victims of violence to lead normal lives.

There is, of course, sometimes a downside to allowing passengers to bring emotional support animals on commercial airline flights. Flyers have taken advantage of the exception to airlines’ normal staunch pet restrictions to bring pot-belly pigs, miniature horses and even a turkey aboard commercial airline flights.

In an incident this week, an emotional support dog reportedly bit a fellow passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight at Hartsfield – Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). The service animal belonging to a military veteran is said to have been accompanying its owner in a middle seat on the San Diego International Airport (SAN)-bound flight.

“Prior to pushback of flight 1430, ATL-SAN, a passenger sustained a bite from another passenger’s emotional support dog,” the airline confirmed in a statement. “The customer who was bitten was removed from the flight to receive medical attention. Local law enforcement cleared the dog, and the dog and its owner were re-accommodated on a later flight; the dog will fly in a kennel.”

The Runner-up – A Sick (Bag) Joke

Any potential bomb threat against a commercial airliner is going to be taken seriously, even if the threat is very likely a hoax. When a written bomb threat was discovered in the lavatory of a Virgin Australia flight from Sydney Airport (SYD) to Albury Airport (ABX) the crew wasn’t taking any chances.

Because the plane had already landed when the threatening message was found, an immediate emergency evacuation of the 68-seat turbo-prop aircraft was ordered on the tarmac. Shortly after landing, passengers were reportedly told to leave belongings behind and jump from the plane. Investigators say that no evidence of any kind of explosive device was found on the plane.

Police arrested an unidentified passenger in connection with the incident. Following the arrest, authorities would only say that the male passenger was “assisting police with their inquiries.“

Rather than a well-coordinated threat, the incident appears to be more of a spur-of-the-moment crime of opportunity. The threatening note left behind in the toilet was hastily scrawled on an airsick bag.

“Virgin Australia flight VA1174 from Sydney to Albury landed safely this morning,” the airline confirmed in a statement. “Due to a security incident on board police met the aircraft on arrival. One passenger is assisting police with their inquiries. All guests disembarked safely and a full search of the aircraft was conducted by the local police and the aircraft has been cleared of any potential danger. The matter is now in the hands of the New South Wales police.”

The Winner – The “Prince of the Universe”

While Ryanair has been responsible for leaving more than its fair share of customers in tears, a passenger from Brooklyn turned the tables with a relentless tirade that left a gate agent sobbing. The irate passenger then compounded the grief he was causing by recording his own aggressive behavior with a mobile phone.

The agitated flyer reportedly became upset after he was told that he would have to pay 50 euros to print his boarding pass at the gate. When he was given the option of being denied boarding or paying the fee, the U.S. national who now resides in Germany, seemed to take things personally.

The passenger who goes by the YouTube handle “Prince of the Universe” posted a now-infamous seven-minute-long video online with a caption reading “Is it because I am black?” Most of the footage captures the passenger mercilessly haranguing the gate agent who at first smiles at the irate flyer, but eventually breaks down in tears.

After demanding to speak with the agent’s supervisor, the Prince of the Universe wiped the smile off the employee’s face with a condescending lecture and a lot of yelling. “That’s the only thing that’s funny. It’s your attitude and it stinks, you have a bad attitude,” the rude flyer can be heard repeating as he follows the agent wth his camera. “You have no business working here dealing with customers.”’

When the employee began crying, the poorly behaved passenger then accused her of having “an emotional breakdown.”

The New Yorker living abroad, however, saved his most vicious vitriol for the bystander who jumped to the crying staff member’s defense. When the chivalrous traveler politely informs the already upset passenger that he was “disturbing everybody,” the outrageous American set his sites on the onlooker instead, calling him “fatso” and helpfully suggesting that he mind his own business.

“You need a break, you doughnut eating, bald piece of crap,” the crabby passenger lashed out. “Why don’t you get on a treadmill? Why don’t you go rest your belly?” Having then dispatched the prospective hero, the enraged passenger once again returned to harassing the now crying gate agent.

“A passenger who had failed to check-in online (as required) became disruptive during the boarding of this flight from Brussels to Berlin and refused to pay the Airport Check-in Fee due, distracting the gate agent from her duties and disturbing other passengers,” an airline spokesperson confirmed to the The Daily Mail. “The flight departed on-time, the passenger in question did not travel and has since been reported to the local police.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (13)

13 Comments

  1. jonsail

    June 9, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    No excuse for such bad behavior as reported here. BUT does Ryanair really charge a 50 Euro “gotcha” fee for printing out a boarding pass at the gate?

  2. Cat Man Do

    June 9, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    … and how does one get to the gate without a boarding pass?

  3. Cat Man Do

    June 9, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    15 GBP/ 15 Euro to reissue at the airport. Free online.

  4. Paella747

    June 10, 2017 at 5:28 am

    It’s not really a “gotcha” fee. When you buy the ticket, it’s clearly stated that you need to print your own boarding pass or you will be charged at the airport. And then they send this again in several emails. AND they let you check in like a month in advance, so there is plenty of time to do it yourself. AND you can even do it on your smartphone and have a digital boarding pass. So if you miss all those opportunties……

    Yes, there are a lot of people who still get upset at the airport for not being prepared, but it’s definitely not for lack of notice. If this guy is claiming they’re ‘treating him this way” because he’s black, that’s disgusting. Ryanair has the same rules across the board.

  5. mcwobby

    June 10, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Yes, it’s well documented.

  6. AAJetMan

    June 11, 2017 at 4:20 am

    This is nothing less than pure bullying. Shameful. Should be criminal.

  7. timesnaps

    June 12, 2017 at 1:36 am

    oh yes they do! they also like to charge similar or higher fees for re-issuing your boarding pass, because you booked it using the initial of your first name instead of the full first name. Legally challenging I think, seeing that there is nothing factually wrong with having only your initial, specially when you have a unique surname already

  8. Sydneyberlin

    June 12, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    It’s Ryanair and pretty well known. No excuses there, it’s made very clear by the company. Now, you can very well decide that this is ‘not for you’ and spend triple or so for flying another airline instead- that’s your choice!

  9. JackE

    June 13, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    A la carte is their business model, and they are very honest about it. They are the airline that would like to charge for using the loo. And they’ve stated that the reason is not to make a few dollars for pax using it; the idea is that if they can reduce bathroom demand then they’d need fewer of them, leaving room for more seats.

    So that’s the deal with flying Ryannair. If you don’t like the deal, just pick another airline. No harm, no foul.

  10. skidooman

    June 15, 2017 at 10:03 am

    50 euros to print a stinking boarding pass?

    Never flew them – and never will. This is clearly “gotcha” in intent.

    Albeit it was not fun for the poor soul that did not make the policy yet had to endure a NY dress down, somewhere I am glad this happened. It should happen more, more politely sure, but more.

    Enough is enough.

    And please vote with your feet, don’t do business with Ryanair.

  11. AggieTexan

    June 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I feel sorry for the GA…that was a classic case of someone not liking the message so they took their anger out on the messenger who had absolutely nothing to do with creating the policy. He was trying to bully her into giving him what he wanted by speaking to her in a loud, demeaning tone.

    I watched the YouTube clip. It made me sick. Nobody deserves to be spoken to like that because they’re doing their job.

  12. nyc10036

    June 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I am completely flabbergasted by the comments on YouTube. Most seem to side with the passenger. Wow. Even if he were in the right and she were in the wrong, a decent person would not speak to another human being this way in public.

    The “Prince OfTheUniverse” (that’s how he spells it) on YouTube asserts that this was racially motivated and he was only charged the fee because of his race. But I am having a hard time believing that Ryanair would selectively impose these well-publicized fees on passengers based on the racial groups to which they belong.

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