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.
Having a highly specialized skill set can have its advantages – the practiced expertise that comes with doing one job and doing it well is, in most cases, likely to earn the appreciation of colleagues, clients and customers. For criminals, however, that extra attention isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when standing out in one’s field earns the notice of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Police were already waiting to nab one particular master criminal in a longterm parking lot at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) thanks, in part, to his highly predictable modus operandi. Crime analysts working with the RCMP reviewed past crime statistics and predicted with uncanny accuracy, when and where the evasive roof-rack thief would strike next. Needless to say, this car-top-bike-rack-burglarizing-suspect was shocked to find that police had managed to cypher the time and place of his latest crime ahead of time.
“We believe the term, ‘surprised’ is accurate to describe our presence prior to the suspect being arrested,” RCMP’s Cpl. Dennis Hwang told reporters.
The suspect’s well-established criminal signature led to another potentially serious pitfall – authorities are said to be reviewing the pattern of past car-top bike-rack thefts at the airport in an effort to link the crimes to this week’s arrest. In the meantime, the satellite parking lots at YVR have once again been made safe for passengers and their vehicles.
In other criminal justice profiling news, Grammy Award-winning DJ David Morales was arrested after customs officials at Fukuoka Airport (FUK) in Japan allegedly discovered a small amount of the drug ecstasy in the musician’s luggage. Although the amount of the party drug in question was said to be less than 0.3 grams, Japan is known to have a tough zero tolerance policy on illegal drugs and the performer, who had to cancel a show in Tokyo after being arrested, now faces up to seven years behind bars.
The 56-year-old New Yorker protested his innocence in predictable fashion. Morales told reporters that he was being set up by unidentified enemies.
“It’s not mine – someone might have tried to frame me,” the well-known recording artist and producer behind the hit 2000 single “Higher” insisted.
Authorities, who did not elaborate on the circumstances which led to the discovery of a minuscule amount of MDMA in the musician’s bag, were considerably more stoic in their public comments. A police spokesperson would only say that “He [Morales] was arrested for allegedly violating the law on narcotics and psychotropics control.”
A passenger’s violent outburst on a KLM flight this week from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) caused some tense moments in the air and on the ground. The disruptive flyer, said to be a U.S-national, caused enough concern that officials made the unusual decision to scramble military fighter jets to intercept the aircraft.
The rampaging passenger reportedly injured several seat mates before eventually being restrained by crew members. Eyewitnesses say the aggressive and violent flyer started roaming around the cabin randomly assaulting fellow passengers without warning. Two of the passengers on the flight were treated after receiving “black eyes” and other minor injuries during the uproar.
According to a flight attendant working the flight who later spoke with reporters, the disruptive passenger “started screaming and hitting wildly.” The cabin crew member said that the “disoriented” flyer did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, adding, “His behavior was very threatening from one moment to the next.”
An airline spokesperson told reporters that the airline “regretted the unpleasant incident,” but praised crew members’ handling of the fraught incident, noting “passengers and crew have laid a complaint against the man.” Despite the onboard situation being serious enough to require an escort by military aircraft, KLM officials say that the flight landed in Amsterdam as scheduled and on time.
A woman who told Frontier Airlines she would need the assistance of an emotional support animal during her flight from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) this week, unfortunately neglected to inform reservations that her comfort companion was a caged squirrel. Because all rodents, including pet squirrels, are prohibited on the airline’s flights, the passenger and her squirrel were soon invited to exit the aircraft. When she refused to disembark, police had to be called and the flight was then delayed by nearly two hours.
In addition to the playing of a tense game of chicken with the airline, the squirrel-packing passenger did everything possible to prove the she was indeed in need of emotional support. Fellow passengers captured images of the rodent-loving-flyer, who claims to suffer from an anxiety disorder, calmly giving a middle finger salute to seat mates and airline employees as she was rolled away in a wheelchair.
“They said, ‘Either you walk off the plane or I’m going to arrest you for trespassing, and we will take that squirrel,’” Cindy Torok later told FOX News. “I said, ‘You’re not taking my squirrel. Sorry, you’re not. I refuse. You will not take my baby from me … I was treated very poorly. I was called a liar by one of the stewardesses. I’m going for blood. I’m going all the way. I’m contacting an attorney.”
As FlyerTalk member jrpallante points out, Frontier Airlines may have been sending something of a mixed message regarding their strict no squirrel policy, as evidenced by this photograph. On the other hand, the airline is understood to have a prohibition against bringing emotional support Grizzly bears on flights as well – despite this apparent endorsement.