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.
The Wall Street Journal invited the CEOs of the three biggest carriers in the world to a sit-down interview in their own airline’s coach seats. While American Airlines chief Doug Parker and Delta Air Lines head Ed Bastian say that they both regularly travel in the economy class cabin, both executives begrudgingly seemed to admit that sitting the standard coach seat isn’t exactly a pleasant experience. They spent much of the interview attempting to justify shoehorning flyers into seats with ever-shrinking-legroom by pointing out that there are plenty of options for air travelers to purchase extra room to protect their knees from the seat-back in front of them.
Although the airline executives look to have comported themselves especially well during the risky interviews (which could have easily turned into an exercise in “gotcha journalism”), they also left the distinct impression that customers who pay the lowest fares possible might just deserve a bit of discomfort. Unfortunately, this is something budget minded travelers have long suspected.
United Airlines CEO and Worst Passenger Oscar Munoz, however, declined to participate in the project at all. It seems one of the few flyers in the world who is in a position to do something about uncomfortably shrinking economy class seats isn’t especially eager to contort himself into one of those dangerously unpleasant perches – not even for an brief interview on the ground.
According to police, IndiGo passenger Lakhwinder Kumar says that he was just joking when he yelled, “The plane has been hijacked.” The seriously unfunny flyer allegedly made the terrifying announcement shortly after his Chandigarh Airport (IXC) to Srinagar Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport (SXR) flight touched down this week.
Specialized anti-hijacking forces who responded to calls from the concerned crew, certainly weren’t amused by the unnamed passenger’s misguided attempt to get a laugh. Still, the troublemaking 32-year-old traveler appears on his way to escaping serious consequences for his potentially dangerous behavior. He was briefly detained by local authorities under the rather innocuous sounding charge of “causing a false alarm.”
IndiGo official were eager to downplay the situation as well – despite the fact that the incident triggered an emergency response from elite anti-hijacking forces. in public comments about the incident the airline displayed an as yet unmatched gift for understatement.
“There was an incident regarding a passenger not following the rules” an IndiGo spokesperson told reporters matter-of -factly on Tuesday.
When you have to go you have to go, but a Wizz Air passenger this week took things a bit too far at some point during a flight from Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (WAW) to London Luton Airport (LTN). After reportedly being told that she could not use the lavatory during approach, the impatient passenger allegedly attempted to ignore the instruction, only to find that a cabin crew member had locked the restroom door.
While some media accounts report that the messy incident occurred prior to departure, the airline confirmed that the out of bounds peeing occurred just after landing at LTN.
A hard to watch video shows that the very-eager-to-relieve-herself-flyer wasn’t going to be dissuaded simply by being barred from the toilet. The woman can be seen apparently leaning against a galley wall and urinating on the the cabin floor as cabin crew members jeered her.
According to some eyewitness reports the immodest air traveler had been disruptive earlier in the boarding process and the whole incident may have been an act unnecessary rebelliousness rather than a legitimate bathroom emergency. By at least one account the determined urinator warned cabin crew members of her intentions well before deliberately leaving a puddle on the the carpet.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when she brushed past me and made a turn into the galley and squatted,” one passenger on the flight told The Jet Set. “It was outrageous.”
Perhaps the best part of the short video is the passenger’s amazing ability to multitask. While doing her business, she also managed to conduct a cellphone conversation in which she beseeched an acquaintance to bail her out of the trouble that would likely follow her act of defiance.
“You have to help me before the flight takes off,” she can be head saying. “I am peeing in the aircraft. I asked them if I could use the toilet, but they said I could not right now. So I am peeing in the galley. Right in front of them. The police are coming because it is my fault. All my fault.”
In fact, the unnamed woman’s act of civil disobedience was not without consequence. Perhaps, with the right legal team, Wizz Air’s very name could provide a possible defense in court.
“On Wizz Air flight W6 1309 from Warsaw to London Luton a passenger was reported to become unruly during landing, ignoring crew instructions,” a Wizz Air spokesperson told reporters (with a knack understatement that rivals that of IndiGo officials). “The cabin crew handled the situation as they are trained to do and reported the passenger’s behavior to the respective authorities.”
In this case, the chicken crossed the border to get heroin to the other side. Authorities say Emma Soriano’s attempt to smuggle drugs into the U.S. from Mexico by disguising the contraband as whole-cooked-chickens wrapped in foil was too clever by half.
According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), the 61-year-old attempted to hide nearly 10 pounds of heroin in four “egg shaped packages” that appeared at first glance to contain roast chickens in her luggage. Soriano presumably memorized a cover story as to why she was bringing four roast chickens into to country from Mexico. Unfortunately the CBP hasn’t yet shared her likely dubious explanation.
In any case, Having seized more than $300,000 in heroin, agents turned the alleged drug runner over to Homeland Security. “She now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York,” according to a CBP statement. Hopefully prosecutors will be more forthcoming about exactly how the alleged smuggler hatched her bird-brained scheme.
While the inside of slow cooked chicken might great place for delicious, savory cornbread stuffing, a counterfeit chicken is not such a great place to disguise for illegal drugs. Prepared food items tend to draw more not less scrutiny from customs officials.