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 only possible explanation for this Southwest passenger’s behavior is that he was already high even before he allegedly lit a joint in the lavatory of a San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)-bound plane on Wednesday. In this case, it seems the pot-smoking passenger wan’t just being paranoid when he started to realize that he was in big trouble.
After it became apparent that a passenger on the flight was smoking up in the bathroom during the approximately hour-long flight, the captain made an unscheduled landing at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC). The over-eager pot smoker was then handed over to authorities.
Despite California’s rather liberal marijuana laws, smoking any substance at all on a commercial passenger plane remains a violation of FAA regulations. If the weed enthusiast air traveler had chosen to enjoy a pot brownie rather than a joint, this story might have had a much different ending. In any case, it seems the sneaky smoker wasn’t especially adept at covering his tracks in the first place.
“It looked like that someone needed to smoke a joint on a plane,” one eyewitness on the flight later recounted to local television reporters. “And he went into the bathroom, smoked his blunt, and set off the fire alarm.”
This week, a Lion Air passenger learned the hard way why joking about explosive devices at the airport is never a good idea. The wisecracking flyer’s witty quip about having a bomb in his possession quickly turned into an unimaginable worst-case scenario.
After a passenger overheard the smart aleck flyer allegedly tell a flight attendant that he had an explosive device with him just before takeoff, chaos soon followed. Passengers reportedly threw open emergency exits, climbed onto the wing of the Boeing 737 and in some cases jumped to the tarmac. Authorities say eleven of the 189 passengers on the flight scheduled to depart from Supadio International Airport (PNK) for Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport (CGK) on Monday night were taken to the hospital with injuries that ranged from broken bones to head wounds.
While the 26-year-old who made the ill-advised joke is ultimately responsible for the dangerous situation and is now facing serious legal trouble, Lion Air officials believe that panicked passengers who lost their heads in the face of a bomb hoax share some blame for the resulting mayhem. Airline spokesperson Danang Mandala told reporters that the “bomb joke” was no excuse at all for passengers to ignore crew member instructions by opening the emergency doors and jumping from the plane.
There were a number of red flags that led a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight this week to refuse to serve beer to one oddly behaving passenger. Unfortunately, it appears by then that it was already too late – much, much too late.
The cabin crew member on a Wednesday St. Croix Henry E. Rohlsen International Airport (STX) to Miami International Airport (MIA) flight reportedly denied Jason Felix’s repeated demands for a beer after he was allegedly observed to have made several trips to the lavatory during which time “strange sounds” could be heard coming from the restroom.
According to an FBI affidavit, things got even weirder at this point.
When Felix learned that he would not be served a beer, his behavior turned from odd to aggressive and eventually became violent. The thirsty flyer is said to have climbed over a seat mate to curse at the crew member who denied his request for a cold one. The rambunctious air traveler was apparently not equipped for a battle of wills with the flight attendant who quickly put him in his place.
“You need to please sit down,” the crew member can be heard telling the man in a cellphone video of the exchange. “You’re not drinking any more beers. We’ll be there in an hour.”
Unfortunately, the disappointed beer drinker soon took his frustrations out on other passengers. One passenger told investigators that the belligerent seat mate “spit blood at him and tore off his plaid shirt.” A brief struggle ensued before the man was eventually convinced to calm down, but the relative peace was short-lived and was again shattered when the agitated traveler recognized an off-duty St. Croix police officer on the plane.
“I’m going to kill you,” Felix threatened, according to police reports. “I know you are a cop.”
As it turns out, this was not the last cop the misbehaving passenger would cross paths with on this particular day. Felix was taken into custody by a team of police officers just moments after the flight landed.
Although the viral video of a naked, dancing passenger’s antics at Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) has brought joy to tens-of-thousands people, the flyer’s jetway antics were not reviewed as enthusiastically by police who gave the uninvited performer the hook (as well as a pair of handcuffs). Had the joyful, but unclad danseur not refused to depart the stage, he might have gotten off with just a stern lecture from the bemused officers, but it appears that the attention-seeking traveler was determined that the show must go on – no matter what the cost.
While the passenger, identified in news accounts as a Mexican national, has been described as performing something resembling a can-can style dance, it is possible that with the World Cup soon coming to Russia, the high kicks and jaunty moves employed by the tourist were an exercise in soccer hooliganism rather than an attempt at a higher art form.
Either way, video shows that police at first appear content to simply allow the exhibitionist air traveler to get dressed and continue on his way. The birthday suit-clad flyer, however, appears intent on expressing himself and when he can’t be convinced to cut his routine short, officers reluctantly arrest the misunderstood artiste.