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.
When a string of 911 calls threatening to blow up Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL) came in to dispatchers, police quickly traced the telephone number, only to discover that the call was coming from inside the airport. While the scenario sounds eerily similar to the plot of a famous scary movie, it appears that it was an entirely different horror film that inspired the bizarre bomb threats.
The story took a much stranger turn after authorities traced the calls to a cell phone owned by 32-year-old Byron Brown. According to police, Brown admitted to the bomb hoax, telling officers that he “suffers from mental illness and, after watching a violent movie at the airport, felt that calling 911 was the best way to obtain help.”
Brown would soon receive the help he was seeking. After allegedly telling the cops that he had made similar calls in the past “as an escape,” claiming that severe depression might cause him to hurt himself or others and admitting to (at times in the past) torturing animals, he was taken for mental health evaluation.
The police would later learn that in addition to an admitted history of calling in bomb threats, Brown is currently on probation for grand theft auto. He managed to make three calls promising to blow up the airport before police were able to trace his location to a terminal at the busy South Florida airport.
A perfect storm of confused (and possibly prudish) airport screeners and a passenger’s understandable reluctance to discuss the contents of his luggage led to an emergency evacuation at Berlin Schönefeld Airport (SXF) this week. Security screeners discovered what appeared to potentially be a grenade-sized explosive device in a passenger’s luggage, but when the owner of the bag was finally coaxed into explaining the real purpose of the confusing item, it was revealed to be a sex toy purchased abroad as a gift.
Apparently unfamiliar with the mysterious device, screeners eventually paged the passenger to help them identify the suspicious item in his luggage – which was inexplicably thought to be a grenade initially. The flyer was understandably less than eager to explain the nature of this particular personal item.
“After 60 tense minutes, they returned laughing,” the passenger, who asked not to be identified, later told RT. “The hand grenade was in fact a vibrator from Ann Summers that my girlfriend and I had purchased two weeks previous.”
The unnamed, 31-year-old and his girlfriend certainly have no reason to be embarrassed about their healthy and adventurous sex life. It is perhaps worth remembering, however, that operations at a terminal at Germany’s sixth busiest airport came to a near standstill for more than an hour because of security concerns surrounding the couple’s unidentifiable sex toy.
Prosecutors say that a high-ranking Michigan state lawmaker entirely avoided the consequences of showing up at an airport security checkpoint with an unregistered, loaded handgun, because of a loophole in state law that apparently does not clearly define the secure areas of airports as secure areas of airports. After declining to pursue charges against the state’s number-two ranking legislator, the prosecutor amazingly called on House Speaker Pro Tempore Lee Chatfield to fix the very loophole that may have spared him a criminal conviction.
For his part, Representative Chatfield managed to apologize, blame his four-year-old daughter, aver his pro-gun bonafides and insist that he received no special treatment from prosecutors (despite not being arrested or charged in connection with the incident) in a single carefully worded statement.
“In a rush to pack on the hectic Sunday afternoon after celebrating my daughter’s 4th birthday party at our home, I honestly forgot that the pistol was in my bag, but that is ultimately no excuse,” the lawmaker said in part. “I own several firearms and believed that all of my pistols were registered through the Michigan State Police database. However, it was found that they did not have this specific pistol on file. I registered the pistol soon after and also confirmed that every other pistol that I own was registered … I am a passionate believer and defender of the right to keep and bear arms, but our laws must be respected and obeyed. As an elected official, I take responsibility and fully acknowledge that no one is above the law. I am sorry for this honest mistake, and I can ensure you that it won’t happen again.”
It is impossible to say if the powerful lawmaker’s ample political clout saved him from prosecution. Political rivals, however, point out that should anyone else (not fortunate enough to be the number-two-ranking Republican in state government) show up at the airport with a loaded, unregistered firearm, they would very likely see the inside of a jail cell and end up with a permanent criminal record.