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Worst Passenger of the Week: Behavior so Bad, the Captain Diverted to the Arctic

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 – What Exactly Will it Take to Make You People Happy?

Lion Air just can’t win. The Indonesian ultra low-fare carrier is infamous for its dismal on-time record, but when the carrier briefly got its act together at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) this week, passengers still weren’t exactly pleased.

As it turns out, a large contingent of passengers who were depending on the typical departure delays ended up missing their flight (which made an uncharacteristic on-time departure) despite already being at the airport. The group of about a dozen passengers who were supposed to be headed to Hang Nadim International Airport (BTH) located on the Riau Islands south of Singapore posted a video of their noisy gate-side protest on social media.

Even though they had reportedly checked in for the flight and received a gate assignment, the left-behind travelers took issue with the fact that the plane departed on time without them. The disgruntled passengers claim that there was no formal announcement inviting them to board the aircraft, although it appears that some 200 of their fellow passengers managed to find their ways aboard the flight.

The airline has so far declined to apologize for its recent on-time departure and dismissed any notion that gate agents neglected to make a boarding announcement. “If the plane departed without announcing it to passengers, then 200 people would not have boarded,” Lion Air spokesperson Andy Saladin explained matter-of-factly to reporters.

The Runner-up – Catch Me if You Can

An alleged drug runner arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) thought he had the perfect cover story. Unfortunately for him, his ruse, complete with an elaborate disguise, turned out to be more Captain Clarence Oveur from the movie Airplane! than Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can.

Suspicious that passenger Mario Hudson was wearing what appeared to be a Delta Air Lines captain’s uniform when he arrived at John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on a flight from Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) in Jamaica, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents decided to investigate further. Neither Manley’s uniform nor his story held up to scrutiny.

On closer inspection, agents discovered that the fake pilot was in possession of two apparently forged Delta pilot identification badges. After noticing that the “crew bags” belonging to the costumed smuggler had an unusually “thick and heavy” construction, agents found nearly 5 pounds of cocaine secreted away in hidden compartments within the luggage. The drugs seized from the luggage have an estimated value of $85,000. Then, the imposter pilot’s wings were quickly clipped, when he was arrested on federal drug trafficking charges.

“This traveler may have been inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me if You Can but fortunately U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport have seen this movie before,” the CBP noted in a statement announcing the bizarre smuggling bust.

The Winner- Exiling the Flugdólgur to the Land of Fire and Ice

Though it isn’t terribly common, it isn’t all that rare for a flight to make an unscheduled landing to remove misbehaving passengers. But when the captain of a Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Munich Airport (MUC)-bound flight decides to divert to an island in the North Atlantic, it’s clear we are no longer talking about a run-of-the-mill disruptive flyer. The actions of an unidentified woman on a transatlantic Lufthansa flight this week caused the pilot to believe it was more prudent to divert to Reykjavík-Keflavík International Airport (KEF) in Iceland rather than to continue on with the journey any longer.

According to the airline, the woman became so unruly that crew decided that she was “a danger to the plane.” A Lufthansa official told reporters that the disruptive passenger was handed over to authorities in Iceland after the unscheduled stop. All told, the detour towards the Arctic Circle caused about an hour-and-a-half-long delay for the remaining 259 passengers and 16 crew members on the flight.

In part because of KEF’s designation as an emergency airport for a large percentage a transatlantic commercial flights and partially because of a string of unfortunate incidents on Icelandair, native speakers in Iceland have created a special moniker reserved for an out-of-control air passenger. In this case, it seems the term “flugdólgur” which loosely translates to “air hooligan” seems to apply.

Although The Worst Flugdólgur of the Week earned a free stopover in Iceland, it’s a safe bet she wasn’t afforded an opportunity to view the Aurora Borealis, soak in the waters of The Blue Lagoon or take in a bit of whale-watching during her brief stay in the northern paradise.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
ThatsAviation April 13, 2017

Yes, it would seem that the flight diverted IN the Arctic, rather than TO it.

mgiarc April 13, 2017

KEF is not in the arctic...

viajero boricua April 10, 2017

If I've read correctly the routes taken on certain YouTube video flight reviews the Iceland route was not much of a detour for a North Atlantic flight from the western US, since in either the Atlantic or Pacific most routes involve using Polar jetstreams as their guide (from western North America they tend to go through central Canada, for example). Most of the 90 minute delay would be in the landing procedures and the Police involvement protocol in a foreign (to all concerned parties) country. And the passenger should expect a BILL from Lufthansa for the additional costs (a few thousands of Euro) from the unscheduled stop. THAT HURTS!