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.
A Ryanair passenger’s momentary break with reality caused some lingering troubles for other air travelers aboard a flight this week from Paphos International Airport (PFO) to Dublin Airport (DUB). The plane was forced to divert to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) after the aggressive flyer allegedly flew into a violent rage.
“He said he was dying and someone was trying to kill him,” one eyewitness to the in-flight melee explained to the Irish Mirror. “It was unbelievable. He said all the passengers were actors and they were there to pretend because they’re all going to kill him.”
After “10 or 15 minutes,” fellow passengers and crew members were reportedly able to bring the rampaging traveler to heel. The out-of-control flyer was restrained using makeshift handcuffs and seatbelts until the captain could make the unscheduled stop in Germany where the man was taken into custody by police.
Those on the flight describe a harrowing scene in which flyers and crew members desperately wrestled with the aggressive passenger in an attempt to bring him under control. Ryanair’s assessment of the in-flight emergency, however, strained the meaning of the words “disruptive” and “normally” in public comments.
“This flight from Paphos to Dublin diverted to Frankfurt after a passenger became disruptive inflight,” Ryanair told reporters in a statement downplaying the incident. “The aircraft landed normally and the individual was met and detained by police upon arrival, before the aircraft continued to Dublin shortly after.”
Three women, described in media accounts as “a trio of lap dancers,” turned an EasyJet flight from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to Tenerife South Airport (TFS) into quite the “rager” of a party this week. According to other passengers on the flight, the three friends were having a great time right up until the moment their loud revelry suddenly turned ugly.
“No one expected it to happen,” one eyewitness later reported, “They were friends and cuddling one minute and then getting louder and drinking Grey Goose vodka the next. They started arguing and they were swearing using the f-word and the c-word. Other passengers started to complain and the stewardess took the bottle of vodka away from them. Then a brunette lunged at a blonde, screaming. She was ripping her hair out. We feared someone would get badly hurt.’’
The in-flight dust-up turned to instant regret when police met the aircraft in Spain to escort the group of troublemakers from the flight. Cellphone footage of the altercation and its aftermath shows vicious slaps, pulled hair and bloodied noses all occurring within a matter of seconds. Eventually, the violence and shouting turned to tears and sobbing as the trio of overeager party destination tourists were led down the aisle of the cabin by cops.
Police say an Air China flight this week from Changsha Huanghua International Airport (CSX) to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) was forced to make an emergency landing at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO) after a passenger held a cabin crew member hostage, wielding only a fountain pen as a weapon.
Authorities in Zhengzhou city released a rather cryptic statement about the onboard hostage situation, announcing only that “the matter was successfully handled.” After which, a 41-year-old passenger with a reported history of mental illness was taken into custody on the ground.
Photographs circulating on social media in China appear to show the hostage-taker holding a terrified flight attendant by the neck with one arm and holding a fountain pen threateningly in his free hand. An image of the fountain pen in question reveals that the makeshift weapon was a rather intimidating writing instrument with a sharp, broad nib.
According to initial press reports, the hostage situation played out near the front of the aircraft in the first class cabin. One passenger on the flight described being unaware of the situation until hearing screams from the front of the cabin. Other passengers say that there was no indication of trouble until the plane made an unscheduled stop and was quickly surrounded by police and firefighters.
Remarkably, local officials say that all passengers, including the traumatized flight attendant, were successfully evacuated from the aircraft once it landed. No serious injuries were reported.