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Worst Passenger of the Week: Biohazards, Killer Fish, Looney Tunes and a Pair of Jokers

Worst Passenger of the Week: Biohazards, Killer Fish, Looney Tunes and a Pair of Jokers
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 column, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory.

Honorable Mention – The Economy Cabin Passenger with a Festering Wound

A passenger on a recent flight captured a shocking image of … on second thought, nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Just, nope.

Third Place – Wile E. Coyote Capers at JNU

Wild coyotes are enough of a problem on the nature trails at Juneau International Airport (JNU) that airport officials put up signs on the property warning passengers and day-trippers to remain alert. Coyotes of cartoon legend have a historically low success rate at pulling off mischievous schemes, but when creating the informational signage, airport workers added a few tongue-in-cheek coyote activities for visitors to be on the lookout for.

Hikers are admonished to call Airport Wildlife Services or Airfield Maintenance should they notice a coyote: “carrying a box marked ‘ACME,’ detonating explosives/TNT, in possession of a giant magnet, holding a sign such as ‘detour’ or ‘Free bird seed,’ in possession of a catapult or dropping an anvil from a hot air balloon.” Airport superintendent Scott Rinkenberger says that while the signs have gotten a few laughs, the message is a serious one.

“I’ve kind of created a little bit of a monster,” Rinkenberger admitted to the Juneau Empire. “There’s always wildlife concerns about walking in the woods in Alaska, whether it’s wolves or bears or moose. The coyote sightings are infrequent, but they occur. What we’ve found is, coyotes aren’t easily scared away.”

On one hand, these airport coyotes appear to simply be following their natural instincts and are not likely to harm anyone. On the other hand, using a pair of rocket skates and an ACME wing-suit in an attempt to capture an innocent roadrunner certainly qualifies as Worst Passenger of the Week behavior.

The Runner-up – Man Bites Piranha

Renowned chef Virgilio Martinez says he was detained at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for nearly five hours after arriving with the exotic catch he was planning to serve at the LA Food Fest. The celebrity chef from Peru brought a duffle bag full of 40 frozen piranhas along with him for this week’s culinary events.

Martinez claims that United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents interrogated him for hours after making the unusual discovery. In the end, this fisherman’s tale has a happy ending of sorts. Both the chef and his catch of the day were eventually released. He reports that he later prepared a lovely piranha salad and used the dried scales in a crispy piranha head canapé.

Martinez says it looked as if both he and his exotic fish were in hot water for a time. Fortunately, he happened to have a copy of the cookbook he authored with him to help convince CBP agents that he was on the up-and-up.

“I took my book and said, ‘Look, this is what I want to do with the piranhas,’” he later told the Los Angeles Times. “And he finally said, ‘Oh, wow, go ahead.’”

One could, perhaps, be forgiven for suspecting that the entire airport incident and resulting media coverage was orchestrated as an elaborate publicity stunt. In fact, the South American chef and restaurant owner’s eventful visit certainly put the spotlight on his business endeavors, including his recurring role on the hit Netflix reality show “Chef’s Table,” which Rolling Stone magazine called “high art” and his Central Restaurante in Lima, Peru, which was ranked “the sixth best” by the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy.

The Winners – Dumber and Dumberer

For some reason, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) seems to produce more than its fair share of Worst Passengers of the Week. Just last week, federal agents arrested a passenger at CLT who has suspected links to terrorist organizations abroad. Once, a Worst Passenger of the Week stripped naked in the airport terminal to protest being bumped from his flight. Commercial flights bound for the American Airlines hub also have a truly shocking number of urine-related mishaps.

In this latest case, however, police accounts seem to indicate that a rampage by a duo of allegedly intoxicated passengers was both unprovoked and directed at a random stranger. According to allegations in local media reports, after one of the suspects inexplicably attacked a woman who was also preparing to board the same flight, his travel companion (and possible relative) soon had his back.

The melee is said to have escalated even more when Marshall Grant Hughes and Emerson Hughes decided to continue their battle even after police arrived. Despite being determined not to go down without a fight, the pair was eventually taken into custody. The 25-year-old and his 27-year-old tag-team partner are now facing a slew of criminal charges, including assault, resisting an officer as well as being intoxicated and disorderly in public.


[Image Source: Shutterstock]

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