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.
The few remaining staff at Via Air have sent obvious signals that they need some space from complaining customers (and bill collectors), but some passengers just can’t take a hint. The now-defunct carrier broke off contact with passengers, airports and employees, but at least one air traveler reportedly showed up at the airport for a flight from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) with bags packed, blissfully unaware that the airline hadn’t operated out of the airport for weeks.
As is often the case, it seems that a third party had gotten involved in this messy breakup with lovesick consumers. The third-party booking site reportedly decided that the beleaguered airline and its passengers make a perfect couple and not only continued to book seats on the bankrupt carrier, but also failed to give flyers the bad news that they were no longer in a relationship. Rather than simply respecting clear boundaries set by Via Air, one brokenhearted flyer came off as totally desperate by making consumer complaints at all hours and begging for his money back.
Authorities say the man who attempted to force his way through a security checkpoint at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) “Red Rover” style on Thursday may have been impaired at the time. Tyrese Roshawn is accused of violently forcing his way past TSA screeners on Tuesday.
Five TSA workers were reportedly injured before the 19-year-old could be wrestled to the ground. According to the arrest report, a female TSA screener was shoved to the ground and four other checkpoint workers suffered minor injuries.
“This unprovoked and brazen physical attack against our TSOs is unacceptable,” the Homeland Security agency said in a statement to reporters. “We are grateful for our committed workforce and for the role they play in protecting the traveling public every day. We continue to monitor the safety and health of the TSOs involved in this incident and will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation.”
Security footage of the incident released by the airport shows the shocking brutality as it unfolded, but cops say Roshawn’s rampage didn’t end there. Arresting officers report having to wait for firefighters to arrive so that the relentlessly resisting suspect could be strapped to a gurney before being loaded into a police vehicle.
At first glance, it appears that a passenger who was caught this week attempting to smuggle dozens of songbirds through John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) had a surprisingly wholesome reason for his alleged crime. Francis Gurahoo told US Customs and Border Protection officials that he was bringing the live finches into the country to participate in bird singing competitions, but it turns out this isn’t a feel-good story by any stretch.
According to officials, the 39-year-old, who had just arrived on a Caribbean Airlines flight from Cheddi Jagan International Airport (GEO) in Guyana, was caught with 34 live birds hidden inside plastic hair curlers. The prized songbirds could be expected to sell for as much as $3,000 from purchasers involved in the world of high stakes birdsong competitions, which are said to be supported primarily through illegal gambling.
In December, a suspiciously similar smuggling attempt was foiled at JFK. In this case, the bird trafficker was attempting to bring 70 of the live finches into the country, also hidden in plastic hair-rollers.
A passenger on a Sunday night American Airlines flight from Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) was really hoping for something stronger than water, but authorities say it was clear that he had already had way too much to drink. Rather than continued beverage service, the out-of-control air traveler was instead sated with duct tape and zip-ties.
The flight eventually diverted to Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) so that the enraged flyer could be removed from the aircraft. A flight attendant told Pittsburgh CBS-affiliate KDKA that she initially tried to give the allegedly intoxicated man bottled water “to calm him down.” Unfortunately, the H2O solution only seemed to inflame the situation.
“He tried exiting out of the front door, and we stopped him, so we went to his seat and we turned on the lights bright,” the cabin crew member recounted. “Then, him and the person next to him got into a brawl.”
Before eventually being restrained with the help of passengers, Brandon Ganus allegedly punched the flight attendant in the chest. Faced with the prospect of an inexplicably violent passenger in the cabin, the captain made the decision to land the aircraft as soon as possible.
Police say the unscheduled stop in Oklahoma didn’t help to improve the mood of the 32-year-old. According to court documents, Ganus had to be taken away in a wheelchair after he “dropped to his knees to resist arrest.” The arrest report notes that he threatened officers as well as their families and offered a “variety of colorful obscenities” as he was being taken into custody.
There are a lot of strange ideas about what goes on at Denver International Airport (DEN). Some conspiracy theorists believe that the airport was built at its current location to hide evidence of the crash of an alien spacecraft. Others say the terminals are filled with artwork concealing thinly coded Illuminati messages. One especially dark premise implies that the airport’s bowels conceal a giant morgue intended for the large-scale disposal of executed government dissidents.
In the face of this laundry list of absurd notions and conspiracy theories surrounding the busy airport, local celebrity, pot activist and high profile attorney Rob Corry offered a stunning “hold my joint” performance. The lawyer was arrested shortly after landing at the airport and unleashing mayhem. He is now charged with “motor vehicle theft, first-degree kidnapping, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief” as a result.
According to arrest records, when Corry’s ride from the airport arrived, he rushed the driver to her vehicle and explained that he was “was being chased by ‘Arabs’ and they had a helicopter.” After running to the waiting car and informing the driver that “she didn’t know how to drive,” Corry allegedly took the wheel and proceeded to crash through a parking gate and drive aggressively at more than 90 miles per hour on airport perimeter roads.
Authorities say, when the driver begged to be allowed out of the car, Corry allegedly threatened to kill her and even removed the rearview mirror from the car to keep her from using the Onstar button to call for help. The driver was eventually able to escape when Corry was caught in traffic.
[Featured Image: Shutterstock]