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.
Complaining about airline food is a traditional pastime of frequent flyers, comedians and talkshow hosts alike. Now that allergy concerns have caused airlines to slowly start discontinuing peanuts as a favorite inflight snack, those tired old routines about inflight dining are finally getting some fun new material, but when the President of Sri Lanka angrily called out the national airline for its choice of nuts, the age-old tradition of complaining about onboard meal service took on a much more serious tone.
Whether he was a big fan of peanuts or he really, really doesn’t like cashews, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena used a public appearance to call the flag carrier out over its decision to serve cashews on his most recent flight. The head of state used language usually reserved for scofflaws, foreign enemies or political rivals to describe the state of Sri Lankan Airlines catering in front of gathered reporters and constituents.
“When I returned from Nepal, they served some cashew nuts on the plane [that], let alone humans, even dogs can’t eat – who approves these things?” Sirisena railed. “Who approved the cashew? Who is responsible for this?”
The politician might want to study the law of unintended consequences, because if he thinks lightly-salted, dry-roasted cashews are unappetizing, he’s really not going to like pretzel packets.
Faced with the prospect of a delayed flight from Tampa International Airport (TPA) to San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), one JetBlue passenger had all he could take. The overwrought passenger allegedly threatened to murder a gate agent, before flinging his belongings around the boarding area, dropping his pants, ranting about a bomb and eventually assaulting a police officer.
Cellphone footage of the tantrum appears to show the irate passenger with his pants around his ankles, shouting at airline employees and fellow air travelers. The flyer identified by TPA officials as Ralph Rodriguez Hernandez was also reportedly traveling with a mixed breed Rottweiler service dog. In the short video, it appears as though Hernandez disrobed to indicate that he was not a danger, only moments after eyewitnesses say he threatened to kill a JetBlue employee.
“No f***ing bomb,” the pants-less flyer can be heard shouting. “I have no f***ing bomb.”
After airline employees attempted unsuccessfully to calm the delayed air traveler, police managed to subdue Hernandez following a brief struggle. According to local media reports, the 36-year-old is now facing charges that include disorderly conduct and battery on a police officer.
The new non-stop Qantas service from Perth Airport (PER) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is listed as a more than 17-hour-long trip. This week, the marathon flight was cut short by an out-of-control passenger after just two hours in the air.
When the troublemaking passenger barricaded himself in the lavatory for nearly an hour, the captain decided there was little choice but to head back to PER. According to passengers on the flight, as the plane headed back, the decision to turn around started to look more and more prudent. After finally emerging from the restroom, the misbehaving flyer allegedly got into a fight with nearby passengers almost immediately.
Despite facing the prospect of tacking hours on to an already punishing journey, passengers had only praise for the crew’s handling of the disconcerting inflight disturbance. Flight attendants enlisted the help of passengers to restrain the agitated air traveler in the back of the aircraft until the flight could return to the airport.
“I think the air crew were marvelous, they were very in control of the situation,” one eyewitness told reporters. “They were calming passengers. They were very, very supportive. They got him down to the back of the plane quite quickly. It was clear he was quite an unwell man.”
It seems the pilot’s decision to return to the airport may have been as much for the disturbed flyer’s protection as it was for the safety of other passengers and crew. Police who met the plane shortly after it touched down, reportedly used both handcuffs and a protective mask to restrain the enraged man.
Cheap Ryanair flights to Ibiza Airport (IBZ) have a certain reputation – more than a few Worst Passengers of Week earned their chops on runs from the UK to the Spanish island. This week, a group of British flyers making their way to the nightlife mecca did their level best to help justify the route’s infamy.
The hard-partying passengers filmed themselves apparently preparing lines of cocaine (complete with two straws formed out of rolled-up five pound notes) on a seat-back tray table. One of the men can be heard declaring, “Flying to Ibiza – got a few lines racked-up and ready to go.” The potentially incriminating video was posted on social media a short time later.
Of course, it’s much more likely the “mad lads” were seeking attention with a less intoxicating powdered substance, such as non-dairy creamer, rather than risking the serious repercussions that could result from doing blow on a commercial aircraft. Either way, a Ryanair flight attendant captured in the footage was determined not to give them the attention they were so desperately seeking. When offered a line of “coke” by the rowdy entourage, the all-business cabin crew member simply replied, “No, thanks.”
If the smart aleck air travelers were actually doing illicit drugs in public view on an international flight, then it was a spectacularly bad idea. If, however, the smart aleck air travelers were only pretending to do illicit drugs in public view on an international flight, then it was still a spectacularly bad idea.