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Worst Passenger of the Week

Worst Passenger of the Week: Ex-Poker Pro’s Huge Effort for a Low-Stakes Bluff

Worst Passenger of the Week: Ex-Poker Pro’s Huge Effort for a Low-Stakes Bluff
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.

Honorable Mention – … and Boom Goes the Dynamite!

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis learned an important lesson the hard way this week. The 24-year-old NFL player was arrested after allegedly making a joke about explosives while checking in for a flight at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Davis, who is among a handful of people on the planet who still don’t know it’s not a great idea to make wisecracks about bombs at the airport, reportedly got into trouble after making the inappropriate comments while checking baggage. According to police reports, it appears that after answering a series of routine, but annoying questions about his checked luggage, he turned to a travel companion and asked, “Did you pack the explosives?”

The sports star was taken into custody at the airport. He was later released on bond pending a hearing on May 3.

When it comes to the bitter results of mind-bogglingly poor decision-making, Davis’s predicament doesn’t hold a candle to that of fellow celebrity T.J. Miller who was arrested by federal agents at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) after allegedly calling in a hoax bomb threat on an Amtrak train. The actor and comedian is accused of “intentionally conveying to law enforcement false information about an explosive device on a train traveling to Connecticut.” He reportedly made the false tip-off to authorities about a fellow passenger who he had argued with earlier.

Perhaps even more astounding than possibly making false terrorism accusations against a fellow passenger was the brazen act of heading to the airport not long afterwards. If, by chance, the FBI wasn’t devoting enough resources to running down the suspect in a bomb hoax against a train, that suspect’s arrival at a NYC airport is guaranteed to receive the full attention of authorities.

Third Place – Best Served in a Highball Glass

According to a carefully worded statement from Homeland Security, “An arriving passenger at John F. Kennedy International Airport did not enjoy a ‘Happy Hour’ as U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized her illegal cocktail.” The “illegal cocktail” in this case was actually two bottles of Bailey’s Irish Cream with plastic bags full of cocaine hidden inside.

Passenger Stefisha Miller who had just arrived on a flight from Kingston Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) was reportedly busted carrying nearly six pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $110,000. She now faces federal charges for “the importation of a controlled substance.”

If this story sounds familiar, it might be because a pair of Worst Passenger of the Week candidates were nabbed pulling a remarkably similar stunt less than two years ago. Two JetBlue passengers arriving at JFK on a flight from Saint Martin Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) were arrested in September of 2016 when agents discovered that rather than rich delicious Irish Cream, the bottles of Bailey’s the pair was carrying instead contained an especially potent form of liquid cocaine.

In this latest case, it is possible that Miller was attempting a bit of reverse psychology and hoped that CBP agents would assume that no one would be stupid enough to copy every last detail of a failed smuggling attempt. It’s somewhat less likely that we just never hear about the success stories. Perhaps we only learn about Irish cream-based smuggling operations when something goes wrong. For all we know, nearly every bottle of Bailey’s coming into the country is chocked-full of drugs.

The Runner-up – Carefully Apply Moisturizer as Needed

A passenger at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) did several things wrong in his failed attempt to make a claim for lost luggage. Police say Kevin Luczak was already on their radar after the captain of his arriving flight alerted authorities that he was involved in an unspecified incident during the flight.

The 28-year-old entered an airport baggage claim office around 11pm. According to court records, things escalated quickly from there. Luczak is accused of spraying lotion in a police officer’s face following a heated discussion. The resulting scuffle led to the passenger and the cop wrestling for the upper hand on a moving baggage carousel for some time. Before the graduate student could be taken into custody, he had reportedly punched the officer several times. The ordeal culminated with Luczak allegedly spitting in the policeman’s face.

Both of the combatants in the baggage-claim-clearing-brawl were treated for minor injuries afterwards. In addition to getting a bloody nose and nearly missing the window to file a compensation claim for lost luggage, Luczak now faces a slew of serious criminal charges including assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (assumedly either the baggage carousel or the lotion was considered a dangerous weapon).

The Winner – Three-Card Monte in Terminal B

Just getting ground transportation to New York City airports can be an expensive proposition. It isn’t especially rare for a taxi ride to Newark Liberty international Airport (EWR) to cost more than the price of airfare (both of which might be considered a bargain compared to daily airport parking rates). Taking a special trip to EWR just to con a passenger out of $200 doesn’t seem like an especially cost-effective criminal enterprise, but that is just what Port Authority Police say former World Series of Poker champion Michael Borovetz had planned. Unfortunately for Borovetz, law enforcement tends to keep a fairly close eye on the comings and goings at busy international airports.

The down-and-out former professional poker player is accused of approaching a passenger at baggage claim with a sob story about a canceled flight and no money for a hotel room for the night. The good Samaritan withdrew money from an ATM to help out the alleged con artist, but sometime later reconsidered his generosity and contacted police. Officers eventually caught up with Borovetz at an airport hotel where he was arrested.

Borovetz’s airport scam starts to make a little more financial sense in light of claims from Port Authority Police that he is something of a serial airport scammer. Cops say he targeted a passenger in a similar scam in June and has been known to purchase fully-refundable airline tickets in order to con passengers in the secure areas of the terminal. According to The Charlotte Observer, Borovetz was accused of plying his shady trade at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in December 2014. In that case, he reportedly conned five passengers for $200 each after telling a familiar-sounding and completely false hard luck story.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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