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Worst Passenger of the Week: For It’s One, Two, Three Strikes You’re Out

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.

Third Place – The Unintended Consequences of a Wildcat Strike

An alleged work slowdown by Spirit Airlines pilots was reportedly intended to put a little extra pressure on the airline during contentious contract negotiations, but the end result was considerably more dramatic. With dozens of flights cancelled or delayed and hundreds of passengers stranded over a period of about 48 hours, frustrations soon reached a boiling point.

Three passengers attempting to fly home to New York are now accused of taking things more than a little bit too far – and of course the melee that followed was caught on tape. A viral video documents how tense customer service issues quickly turned into a near riot.

The three travel companions were understandably upset when they were forced to disembark from an already-delayed flight because there were no pilots available to fly the plane that was scheduled to depart from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) for Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Police say that 22-year-old Desmond Waul, 22-year-old Davante Garrett and 24-year-old Janice Waul not only agitated an already unruly crowd, but also threatened Spirit Airlines employees.

When police attempted to arrest the trio of alleged troublemakers, the group reportedly made things much worse for themselves by threatening the officers attempting to take them into custody. The three overwrought passengers were eventually arrested and are now facing a long list of charges including inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing.

Janice Waul says, however, that far from inciting a violent mob, she was just trying to get home in time for her college graduation commencement ceremony – an event that went on without her while she was in jail. “I was upset, and they tried to say I tried to start a riot,” she told New York NBC affiliate WNBC. ”This is ridiculous.”

The Runners-up – When Passengers Strike Each Other, the Results are Often Predictable

A case of simple bad manners quickly escalated into a violent physical altercation between passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight this week from Dallas Love Field (DAL) to Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR). Eyewitnesses say that a brutal fistfight started over a disagreement about which of the two combatants would be first in line to exit the plane (as it turned out, police were left to make that very critical decision).

A video of the incident, taken moments after the flight landed, shows two passengers apparently jockeying for pole position before erupting into violence. From the captured images, it seems clear that one passenger quickly gets the upper hand and makes an earnest attempt to hurt the other flyer who looks to be desperately (and somewhat unsuccessfully) trying to defend himself.

A few nearby passengers quickly fled in a panic, as other passengers just as quickly dove in and attempted to break up the scrum. Remarkably, crew members and fellow travelers were able to separate the two rivals before anyone was seriously injured.

Meanwhile, an unidentified passenger perfectly sums up the utter absurdity of the situation for the camera “What is wrong with you?” she can be heard exclaiming as she desperately attempts to pry the brawling passengers apart and begging them to end the childishness. “Get off!” she implores. “Stop it!”

While the whole sordid affair might have been avoided if either passenger had thought to use the words “excuse me,” it instead ended with one of the flyers handcuffed and taken to jail. His sparring partner was treated for minor injuries before continuing his travels.

The Winner – A Most Unusual Sort of Bird Strike

Birds can pose a very real hazard to aviation, but a transatlantic British Airways flight was cancelled this week when a lone bird created a completely unheard of flight safety issue. The fine-feathered friend reportedly brought the international flight to a grinding halt by quietly entering and then refusing to leave the flight deck.

The blackbird quickly hid from the flight crew and eluded any and all attempts to dislodge it from its newfound roosting place. Meanwhile, the plane remained at the gate, unable to depart until the aircraft could be declared free of the avian trespasser.

Maintenance workers spent several hours unsuccessfully trying to shoo the bird from the cockpit. The airline even played audio recordings of distressed birds in an attempt to persuade the stowaway to search for more tranquil accommodations, but in the end, the bird won the waiting game and the decision was made to pull the aircraft from service, cancelling the flight entirely.

“When it comes to flying, we’re the experts, so it’s not surprising this bird wanted to hitch a ride on one of our 12 daily flights to New York,” British Airways officials explained in a tongue-in-cheek statement. “We could not help him out this time, but after a short delay we made sure our non-feathered customers got to the Big Apple as soon as we could.”

Still, it seems more than a little unfair that hundreds of flyers were grounded because of the actions of the one passenger onboard who doesn’t even need a plane in order to fly.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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IanFromHKG May 15, 2017

The Runner-Up story reminds me of a recent incident on a Malaysia Airlines flight in J. I was seated roughly in the middle of the cabin. We landed, the seatbelt signs were turned off, everyone got up to get their bags out of the overhead bins - so far, so normal. Then a passenger near the back of the J cabin literally barged her way through to the front. I had my bag on my seat and was loading it up with the things I had used inflight, and she pushed past me so hard I literally fell onto the seat. By the time I had recovered and turned to remonstrate, she was already at the front by door 1L. Imagine my glee when they decided only to use door 2L and she was last to disembark from J..