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.
Batteries, specifically lithium batteries, can cause big problems on commercial aircraft. The batteries have been banned from checked bags and most air cargo shipments after a number of close calls on the ground and in the air. In this most recent cause for concern, a passenger’s backpack exploded and burst into flames at a Charleston Yeager Airport (CRW) security checkpoint. Two lithium batteries attached to a charger were revealed to be the cause of the dramatic fireworks.
“We are fortunate to have Yeager Airport Police Officers ready and prepared to respond to all situations, including battery fires,” CRW Director Terry Sayre told reporters. “It is important for all passengers preparing to travel to review TSA regulations regarding prohibited and regulated items.”
After police officers on hand managed to extinguish the blaze and the cause of the small explosion was revealed to have been accidental rather than malicious, the passenger involved was permitted to board his flight as scheduled. Despite causing more than a few serious inflight emergencies in recent years, flyers are permitted to carry up to two lithium batteries in carry-on bags.
“B—- a– haters” at American Airlines got an earful from rapper Boosie Badazz (AKA Torrence Hatch Jr.) this week. Based on the performing artist’s profane, threatening, bigoted Instagram rant about the airline, one might guess that gate agents robbed him at gunpoint, but as it turns out, the actual issue was that Mr. Badazz’s flight was delayed causing him to miss a connecting flight and a scheduled pool party.
“Mr. Hatch’s inbound flight from Jackson, Miss., to Charlotte, N.C., this past Saturday was delayed, and he arrived at the gate for his connecting flight to Grand Rapids, Mich., after the airplane door had been closed,” American Airlines spokesperson Ross Feinstein explained. “We immediately rebooked Mr. Hatch and his family for a later flight, which is our standard procedure for missed connections.”
American Airlines has a long history of assisting those suffering dire hardships. A little more than a year ago, the carrier donated and delivered tons of supplies and hundreds of volunteers (along with a one-million-dollar donation to the Red Cross) for hurricane victims. In this latest case of citizenship, the airline worked tirelessly to rebook a celebrity rap artist who missed an all-important pool party (despite, not because of his homophobic slurs and threats of violence).
Bathrooms on commercial passenger planes aren’t always easy to access. There are entire chatrooms dedicated to flight attendants’ annoyance with passengers who can’t seem to manage to open the lavatory door. In an incident this week at Manchester Airport (MAN), a Pakistan International Airlines (PAI) passenger managed to get the process especially wrong prior to takeoff. Instead of opening the door to the toilet, the confused flyer opened an emergency exit. To make matters worse, several fellow passengers, suspecting an actual emergency used the deployed slide to evacuate the aircraft.
“We regret the delay of PK771, which is an unfortunate consequence of the delay of PK702, caused due to a passenger opening the emergency door,” PIA officials said in a stoic statement on social media. “We strongly urge passengers to follow security instructions as such mishaps result in inconvenience of hundreds of other passengers.”
It may seem hard to believe that a passenger could mistake the cabin door for the lavatory or that the mistake would cause a plane full of air travelers to evacuate via the emergency slides, but both occurrences have precedent. In November of 2017, 32 Aer Lingus passengers at Cork Airport (ORK) took it upon themselves to deploy emergency slides to exit a plane that had returned to the airport because of a potential fume event (despite that fact that stair trucks were already provided at the front and rear of the plane). In 2015, a KLM passenger who tried unsuccessfully to open the main cabin door mid-flight, claimed that he was simply looking for the toilet.
Bachelorette parties have become the new scourge of the skies, especially on low-fare flights to tropical resort destinations with a reputation for nightlife. A Ryanair flight this week from Birmingham Airport (BHX) to Alicante–Elche Airport (ALC) was not safe from the plague of bridesmaids gone wild. Footage of the onboard reveling shows a scene more closely resembling a Mardi Gras celebration than a commercial airline flight.
“It was apparent to us that they had bottles filled up with alcohol and made it look like juice,” one passenger on the flight told the British tabloid, The Sun. “If we could see this then what were the crew doing? I am sure the crew were frightened to say anything to them but were quick enough to tell me to put my tray table up even before the seat belt sign came up. Why did none of the flight attendants have words with this kind of behavior on a flight?”
Overindulging and disruptive bachelorette parties have become something of an epidemic on ultra-low-cost-carriers headed from the U.K. to certain resort destinations. When these sorts of incidents occur, the carriers are quick to release strongly worded statements to aver a zero tolerance policy when it comes to disruptive passengers and to fault government officials for not doing more to solve the problem. According to at least one eyewitness, however, Ryanair crews would much rather turn a blind eye than institute said zero tolerance policies.
Breaking the rules can affect the safety and comfort of everyone onboard a flight. A passenger on a Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)-bound Spirit Airlines flight was out once-and-for-all after three strikes. The flyer was not only allegedly drinking his own stash of smuggled booze and enjoying a vaping device at his seat, but after being warned that his behavior was prohibited, he reportedly headed to the lavatory where his nicotine addiction triggered the smoke alarm. Spirit Airlines officials made it clear that this three-time loser will not be welcome on any future flights operated by the carrier.
“It’s a private business that can ban customers at their own leisure,” Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s spokesperson Captain Jason Rivarde told reporters. “It’s like telling you not to come back to the restaurant. Once he was on the ground, he was cooperative with our deputies so he didn’t face any criminal charges.”
While the comment sections of nearly every new article about the incident is filled with the wildly original idea that being banned from Spirit Airlines might just be more of a reward rather than a punishment, a passenger hoping to fly to Atlantic City International Airport (ATL) or other underserved airports might have few affordable options outside of the famously no-frills carrier. Even if a lifetime ban from Spirit isn’t a huge loss for the troublemaking flyer, it is certainly a win for the airline.
[Featured Image: Shutterstock]