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Worst Passenger of the Week

Worst Passenger of the Week: Ali and the Punch Drunk Boarding Pass

Worst Passenger of the Week: Ali and the Punch Drunk Boarding Pass
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.


Honorable Mention – Drunk Footballer Gets the Hairdryer Treatment

This week Manchester United hero and current D.C. United player Wayne Rooney learned he would not be disciplined by his team following a public intoxication arrest at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). According to airport police, the team captain was taken into custody shortly after triggering a door alarm upon his arrival at the airport on an inbound flight from the U.K.

“Wayne took a prescribed amount of sleeping tablets mixed with some alcohol consumption and consequently was disorientated on arrival,” Rooney’s spokesperson explained. “He was approached by police who arrested him on a minor misdemeanor charge.”

Although the sports star avoided a costly league suspension and was able to settle criminal charges after paying a $25 fine, according to press reports, inadvertently opening the wrong door at the airport could yet end up costing the football hero millions. The scandal-plagued athlete’s latest headline-making, alcohol-related incident has reportedly put both a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Nike and his marriage in serious jeopardy.

Third Place – The Pablo Escobar of the Falcon Egg Trade

It appears that international rare egg smuggling is much more than just a plot device in an Ann Cleeves novel. This week, a former SAS solider earned a stiff prison sentence after being caught at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) with 19 eggs hidden on his person. The exotic, and in some cases protected, eggs were reportedly valued at more than $100,000.

When he was arrested following his arrival on a flight from South Africa, Jeffrey Lendrum had protected hawk, eagle and vulture eggs strapped to his body and hidden in his socks. At least two of the eggs had apparently hatched in transit – prompting the smuggler to make a suspicious bathroom trip ahead of a customs checkpoint.

The so-called “Pablo Escobar of the falcon-egg trade,” has a string of related convictions going back for decades – including a 1984 conviction in Zimbabwe and a 2002 conviction in Canada. Lendrum also once spent two-and-a-half-years behind bars in the U.K. after he was caught trying to board a Dubai International Airport (DXB)-bound flight with 14 peregrine falcon eggs taped to his body.

The 56-year-old was sentenced to three years and one month behind bars after he pleaded guilty to four charges related to this most recent failed smuggling attempt. The 56-year old was already on the run after fleeing from a previous rare egg smuggling conviction in Brazil.

The Runner-up – If You Think Florida’s “F***ed up,” Just Wait Until You Get a Load of EWR

This week, a JetBlue passenger at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL) became an overnight internet star after her meltdown at the prospect of spending even another second more in The Sunshine State. Although at least one eyewitness said the profane tantrum was the result of learning her flight to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) would be delayed by 15 minutes, airline officials say the unidentified passenger was reacting to learning she had been denied boarding due to “indications of intoxication.”

In either case, the colorful flyer’s antics only delayed her escape from paradise. Police confirm the impatient and allegedly intoxicated air traveler was taken into custody following her now famous rant at the JetBlue counter.

The performance had a number of cringeworthy highlights – including her telling the officers handcuffing her, “I hate white cops.” Before encountering law enforcement, the disruptive passenger had already announced that she had a gun and was homeless as she stormed away from the gate. The disgruntled customer, however, saved her best material for an innocent gate agent who was powerless to resolve her issues, but shrewdly quick to summon authorities.

“Get me out of here!” the charming passenger can be heard shrieking at the airline worker in a now viral video of the episode. “Get Me Out of This State! Get me out of this f***ed up place, you rapist!”

The Winner – I Got Your Boarding Pass Right Here!

According to police at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), a 31-year-old man was arrested this week after punching two officers who confronted him following his failed attempt to pass through an airport security checkpoint without showing a boarding pass or identification. Isse Dijale Ali was arrested at the scene, but not before allegedly injuring two officers, one of whom had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. The incident reportedly took place just after 3am at a Terminal 1 TSA checkpoint on Tuesday morning.

The violent and ill-conceived travel hack was destined for failure from the onset as there are any number of security measures in place to prevent passengers from punching their way onto a commercial airline flight. Officers say when they asked to see Ali’s boarding pass, he instead displayed a ripped piece of paper that was not a boarding pass. The “agitated and argumentative” would-be-flyer removed identification from his pocket upon request, but he is said to have refused to show the ID to police or TSA officers.

The obvious flaws in the plan, aside, this wasn’t the first time Ali has been accused of assaulting police at MSP. According to local media accounts, the repeat airport trespasser was also arrested in September of 2016 after allegedly punching an officer who discovered Ali in a restricted area of the airport. He has since been charged with two counts of “fourth-degree assault of a peace officer” in connection with this most recent incident.

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