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Worst Passenger of the Week

Worst Passenger of the Week: Don’t Let the Cabin Door Hit You on the Way Out

Worst Passenger of the Week: Don’t Let the Cabin Door Hit You on the Way Out
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 award, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory. Here are this week’s winners.

Third Place – Malicious Compliance

This Worst Passenger technically didn’t do anything wrong, and the troublemaking air traveler at Reykjavík–Keflavík Airport (KEF) stood on this technicality until he was eventually led away by police in what should be a lesson to other would-be penny-pinchers. Perhaps the greatest lesson to take away from this cautionary tale is the newfound knowledge that “rudeness” is apparently a jailable offense in Iceland.

Faced with sticker shock at British Airways bag fees and an ever-dwindling travel budget, flyer Ryan Carney Williams came up with a perhaps-too-clever solution to his dilemma. He reportedly removed and dressed in all of the clothing in his bag thus, in theory, avoiding the pesky ancillary charges for his bag. Much like someone attempting to pay a traffic ticket using only pennies, however, things didn’t quite work out as hoped.

Rather than admitting to being outsmarted by an innovative passenger, the gate agent took one look at the ridiculously dressed flyer and simply told him to go away. Williams was then left with the choice of continuing to argue the finer points of the British Airways rules of carriage, paying the bag fee or applying for Icelandic citizenship and making a new life in the tiny nation bordering the Arctic Circle. It was at this point that the defiant flyer appears to have overplayed his hand.

According to local media reports, Williams soon found himself under arrest. Even though it appeared that the eccentric tourist had found the perfect loophole, he ended up in police custody after being told he was being detained for “rudeness” and refusing to leave the ticket counter as instructed.

The rebellious traveler still had one last gambit in his arsenal. Williams took to social media to imply that he was racially profiled (although an image of him wearing what appears to be at least a dozen outfits all at once tends to reduce ethnicity as the likely reason that he earned the unwanted attention from law enforcement).

The Runner-up – Governors Only Entrance

It looks like civilian life might take a little bit of getting used to for former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In addition to no longer having access to the infamous beachfront Governor’s retreat, there is decidedly less pomp and circumstance when the one-time elected official travels now that he is out of office.

While Christie will be permitted to keep his New Jersey State Trooper escorts, it seems he no longer has an all-access VIP pass at the state’s busiest airport. When the former governor and his security detail attempted to bypass long lines at a Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) TSA checkpoint, the politician was directed to stand in line with the hoi polloi. While the VIP entrance was an option for Christie when he still held the state’s highest office, his detail was reportedly told that he was no longer permitted to use airport access reserved for dignitaries.

By all accounts, the politician and his entourage were cooperative and did not object to being denied admittance. Still, Governor Christie wasted little time categorizing news reports of the incident as fake news.

“Absolutely false story about my travel today,” the onetime presidential candidate wrote in a series of tweets. “NJSP security detail & I were led to one entrance in the airport by PAPD officer. TSA informed PAPD and NJSP that this was the wrong way to enter and directed us to another entrance where I was screened & admitted to the airport. Neither option was the way I entered airport as Governor (wrong in the story) and PAPD officer never denied me entry at either place (also wrong in story). He was a gentleman assisting my security detail. When he got the right info he took me to the right place. Pure fiction.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, however, appears to have contradicted Christie’s account of the incident.

“Port Authority says Christie showed up at Newark Airport today with NJ State PD detail,” a Port Authority spokesperson told CBS News. “They tried to go into the special access area where they have been going for years. A PA [Port Authority] cop told him he was no longer allowed to use that access and they escorted him to the regular area.”

The Winner – Runnin’ with the Devil

Ryanair isn’t known for providing complimentary, well, anything, but passengers on a flight this week from Alicante–Elche Airport (ALC) to Dublin Airport (DUB) were treated to free premium in-flight entertainment. Judging from the boisterous ovation from the cabin, the no-charge feature presentation was a blockbuster hit – at the very least, passengers on the flight which was forced to make an unscheduled stop at Santander Airport (SDR) in northern Spain, were overjoyed to see the bizarre performance come to an end.

Fortunately, the impromptu dramatics by one allegedly intoxicated passenger can be enjoyed in the comfort of home without the accompanying ground delays. Cellphone video of the in-flight meltdown provides a hint of just why passengers were so thrilled to be rid of their aggressive cabin mate.

The ejected passenger appears to shove a flight attendant early in the recording. The tape also captures the disgruntled passenger repeatedly calling the cabin crew member a devil.

“You’re a devil!” the offending passenger can be heard screaming. “She’s a devil!”

Despite the urging of a flight attendant with the patience of Job, the irate flyer refuses to take her seat. Although the troublemaking flyer seems desperate to win the cabin over to her side, she falls well short of this goal and has lost her audience entirely by the time the flight lands in Spain.

“Excuse me, do I have to answer to her to go to the toilet?” the woman continues in a the rambling and often incoherent diatribe. “You thought that we were dealing drugs? You dirty little scum, yes you did. An Irish person would never do that. No, only if they’re dirt and filth.”

The footage also captures fellow passengers cheering raucously as the woman is led from the aircraft by police. As passengers are applauding the ranting passenger’s involuntary departure, others can be heard jeering the woman with chants of “adios” and “goodbye, see you tomorrow.”

While being escorted from the plane, the unidentified passenger makes one last stand. She manages to both simultaneously pick a fight with security forces and make rude parting gestures in the direction of fellow passengers.

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