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‘It’s Art’: This Week’s Worst Flyers

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 In-flight Pickpocket

The con wasn’t especially complicated. Simply place a similar looking bag next to the mark’s bag and then walk away with the victim’s bag instead of the decoy bag, leaving plenty of time to rifle through the contents of the stolen case before returning the stolen bag to the owner who remains completely unaware of the heist.

Variations of the “pigeon drop” have worked flawlessly in The Sting and countless cold war spy stories, but this sort of slight of hand is a little harder to pull off on a crowded passenger plane. A would-be thief on an Aero Contractors flight from Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV) saw his well-laid scheme to steal from a fellow passenger go awry when other alert passengers and crew members watched his every move as he rifled through another flyer’s luggage. Flight attendants for Nigeria’s flag carrier reportedly even waited until witnesses saw the man filch items from the fellow passenger’s bag before dropping the hammer.

When confronted, the alleged bag burglar feigned outrage and insisted that he had mistakenly grabbed the wrong carry-on bag. No matter, the man was still arrested by authorities on the ground and charged with stealing cash and an ATM card from his fellow passenger.

The Runner-up: The Disruptive Passenger Whose Behavior Earned Reward Travel

There wasn’t anything special about drunken antics that took place on an Alaska Airlines flight from Sacramento International Airport (SMF) to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Sure, the allegedly intoxicated passenger who caused the plane to divert to Portland International Airport (PDX) added a new wrinkle when he locked himself in the lavatory after he became enraged because flight attendants had asked him to calm down.

The flight was delayed at PDX for about two hours while police took the disruptive passenger into custody. The rest of the passengers were eventually able to continue to SEA after the unscheduled stop.

The truly shocking thing about this story is that Alaska Airlines promised to send a voucher for $100 in free travel to each of the 162 passengers who were on the flight. Assumedly, the out-of-control passenger responsible for the incident in the first place will not be receiving a reward in the mail, but for everyone else onboard, the vouchers will represent nearly $50 per hour of inconvenience.

The Winner: It’s a Bomb … It’s a Bundle of Drugs … It’s Art?

Even those of us without extensive training in spotting improvised explosive devices in carry-on luggage still have an idea of what might constitute a suspicious item. Bundles of wires, cylinders tightly packed with an unidentified material or a tin can with what looks like a fuse attached would raise red flags for a layman or a security expert alike. Likewise, drug traffickers might be expected to be traveling with brick-sized bundles tightly wrapped in cellophane in their personal items.

The object discovered in the carry-on bag of a passenger at a TSA checkpoint at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) covered all the bases. A TSA public affairs spokesperson tweeted an image of the item which set off alarm bells for screeners. At first glance, it would seem that the object in question could only possibly be used for nefarious purposes, as if for some unknown reason, someone decided to attach bundles of illicit drugs to a pipe bomb.

Surprisingly, TSA determined that the nightmarish object was completely harmless and allowed to fly. The passenger who owns the befuddling object had a simple explanation for its intended purpose:”It’s art.”

[Photo: TSA]

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1 Comments
W
weero March 19, 2016

After "it's a clock", here comes "it's art". I think a meeting with the president and some PR person from an Ivy League university is in order.