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Worst Passenger of the Week: “I’m Not a Criminal and We Weren’t Drunk”

Worst Passenger of the Week: “I’m Not a Criminal and We Weren’t Drunk”
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 column, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory.

Third Place: Folks, We’re Gonna Bee Delayed

It’s beginning to seem like Air India planes have been visited by more plagues than Egypt ever suffered at the hands of Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments. At least three of the Indian flag carrier’s flights have been grounded due to rat infestations over the past four years. According to press accounts, the airline has also been repeatedly afflicted by a scourge of bedbugs and an absurdly high number of cockroaches (and, in one case, what appears to be a newt) inhabiting onboard meals. Now, the carrier (having apparently angered Moses in an earlier scene) is facing swarms of bees.

The uninvited stinging passengers chose the cockpit window of an Air India plane as their new temporary home this week. In addition to posing a mechanical risk to the aircraft, the swarm obstructed the pilots’ view. The Agartala Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport (IXA)-bound flight preparing to depart Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) was delayed for nearly three hours while ground crews attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to evict the honey bees.

Efforts by ramp workers to remove the invaders only managed to anger the bees, inciting the swarm into, in the words of one airport official, “attacking ground staff.” The captain’s plan to scare the insects away by turning on the windshield wipers proved equally futile.

Ultimately, the fire department was called in to solve the sticky problem. High-pressure water from firehoses was enough to eventually convince the bees to find another location to perch.

This sort of buzz is by no means unprecedented. In March of 2017, thousands of bees attached themselves to an American Airlines flight at Miami International Airport (MIA). This followed a similar incident on an American Airlines plane at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW). Other bee invasions of commercial flights have occurred following departure from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS), on the ground at Moscow Vnukovo International Airport (VKO), Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (YXE) and Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN).

The Runner-Up: Flags of Convenience

It isn’t news that there are people around the world who are desperate to come to the U.S, but some are apparently willing to go to the ends of the earth to gain admittance to the land of opportunity. Sometimes, this means obtaining dubious travel documents from a third country. For Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents stationed at U.S. airports, foiling this type of scheme has become almost routine. The Homeland Security agency says it confiscates an average of 16 fraudulent travel documents each day.

This week, the agency caught an Indian national arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) from Accra Kotoka International Airport (ACC) with a fraudulent German passport. The CBP also interdicted three Albanian nationals attempting to board a John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)-bound flight from San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) using fraudulent travel documents from Hungary and Italy.

In the end, the passenger with the fake German passport was deported to India. The passengers carrying forged Hungarian and Italian passports were arrested and are expected to eventually be returned to Albania.

The Winner: Father and Son Outdoor Activities

A father and son who were taken into custody this week after running onto the tarmac at Cagliari Elmas Airport (CAG) in a failed attempt to catch their departing EasyJet flight, say the whole thing was just one big misunderstanding. DJ Tony Loi says he and his father, Antonino Loi missed their boarding announcement and then everyone overreacted when the pair simply rushed to make it onto their London Stansted Airport (STN)-bound flight.

“I ran downstairs towards the plane, I thought the stairs to the plane were still there, so I basically exited a door that put an alarm off,” 40-year-old Antonino Loi told the Sun. “I got outside and ran to the plane – I could see it was still there. I just wanted to catch the plane. I’m not a criminal and we weren’t drunk. As I was running a copper with a gun chased me. My dad got a bit cross at him because he was flustered and stressed out – natural behavior. He was like ‘what are you doing I want to catch this plane.’ To be honest, I actually thought the police officer was going to radio the plane and tell them to make an exception and let us off, but it was the opposite, a different case altogether.”

Police, not surprisingly had a much different take on the situation. Although the father and son were each fined more than $2,000 each, officials were remarkably understanding about the whole affair.

“If it wasn’t so stupid it would be funny – although we did all have a laugh at these two idiots,” a police spokesperson told the newspaper. “They had been drinking in a bar at the airport and missed the boarding announcements, by the time they realized what was happening the gate had closed. The boarding staff wouldn’t let them through so they just forced open an emergency door and ran after the plane. It was a bit like a comedy scene as they had their wheelie suitcases with them, but if it had been somewhere else they ran the risk of being shot.”


[Featured Image: iStock]

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