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Worst Passenger of the Week: Goin’ up to the Spirit in the Sky

Worst Passenger of the Week: Goin’ up to the Spirit in the Sky
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 – Fly, Eagles, Fly on the Road to …

Jennifer Lawrence should perhaps be forgiven for being overexcited about the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl appearance on Sunday, but her inability to get others to join her inflight-fight-song-sing-along betrays a disturbing lack of magnetism from a Hollywood star. If audience participation is the goal, there might not be any easier a hook than the Eagles fight song.

Belt out the words “Fly Eagles Fly” at any pub, cocktail party, civic meeting, shopping mall or church function within a desert mile of the greater Philadelphia area and a chorus that would make Bruce Springsteen jealous is all but guaranteed to follow. Yet on the day the E-A-G-L-E-S, E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles won their very first Vince Lombardi trophy, the Oscar-winning actress shamefully failed to get even a single passenger to join her when she used the the public address system on a Delta Air Lines flight in a failed attempt to start the familiar chant.

A flight attendant referring to the twenty-something star as “ma’am,” mercifully put the actress out of her misery. The crew member politely but firmly ordered the celebrity to knock it off as the rest of the cabin looked on indifferently.

Also, it should probably be mentioned that the plane’s public address system isn’t a toy and is considered a critical tool to communicate instructions in the event of an emergency. The star of Silver Linings Playbook is lucky she didn’t end up in handcuffs – less famous passengers have certainly found themselves in police custody for pulling similar stunts.

Third Place – A Real-life Locked Door Mystery

According to Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS)-based Dana Air, the passengers on a recent flight from Lagos to Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV) were responsible for an emergency exit door falling off the plane shortly after landing. Passengers on the flight, however, say that the door was already clearly broken throughout the flight.

“The flight was noisy with vibrations from the floor panel,” one passenger on the flight told reporters. “I noticed the emergency door latch was loose and dangling. When we landed and the plane was taxiing back to the park point, we heard a poof-like explosion, followed by a surge of breeze and noise. It was terrible.The cabin crew tried to say a passenger pulled the hatch which everyone denied. They also tried to get us to stop taking videos or pictures.”

Airline officials insist that not only was the door not broken, but some sort of interference from a passenger is the only possible explanation for the exit door dropping onto the tarmac.

“The emergency exit door of our aircraft are plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinarily cannot fall off without tampering or a conscious effort to open by a crew member or passenger,” the airline countered in a statement to BBC News. “When an aircraft is airborne, it is fully pressurized and there was no way the seat or door could have been shaking as insinuated.”

On one hand, Dana Air’s questionable safety record seems to make the passengers’ version of events at least plausible. On the other hand, the physics of the situation seems to back up the airline’s position that there was no way that the exit door of the pressurized aircraft cabin was already ajar during the flight.

The Runner-up – He Just Popped into the Lavatory to Change into His Birthday Suit

An Alaska Airlines flight from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA) was forced to turn back over a dress code violation. In this case, the fashion faux pas was much more serious than teenage girls trying to board a flight wearing leggings.

“There was a subject on the aircraft that had barricaded or locked himself in the bathroom, the lavatory,” ANC Police and Fire Sergeant Darcey Perry explained. “Flight attendants did find that the subject was naked.”

Eyewitnesses on the plane say that they were first alerted that there might be a problem on-board when flight attendants reportedly rushed to the back of the plane wearing rubber gloves. When the flight returned to the airport, police quickly removed the underdressed flyer through the rear door of the plane. Federal officials say that the naked and disruptive passenger was taken to an area hospital to be evaluated.

“Alaska Airlines flight 146 from Anchorage to Seattle returned to Anchorage due to a passenger not following flight attendant’s instructions,” an airline spokesperson said in a carefully crafted understatement. “While no emergency was declared, the decision was made to return to Anchorage.”

The Winner – Farewell Mister Pebbles

Spirit Airlines passenger says that she was left with no choice but to flush her emotional support animal in an airport toilet after a gate agent explained that it was her only option. To be clear, no matter what the gate agent told her, flushing a living animal down the toilet was not even a remotely viable choice.

While the airline admits that an employee mistakenly told the 21-year-old passenger that she would be permitted to bring her dwarf hamster named “Pebbles” with her on her flight from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) to Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Spirit Airlines officials deny that a gate agent suggested that Belen Aldecosea either release or flush her animal companion down the toilet.

Aldecosea says that even though she needed to get to Florida for medical treatment, she tried everything before making the hard decision to end the hamster’s life. The student rebooked on a later flight in the hope that another choice would present itself. She says that she attempted without success to rent a car and she had also no luck trying to find a friend to drive her to her destination.

According to Aldecosea, she eventually decided it would be better to put the rodent down rather than to prolong its suffering by releasing it outside. She says that she is now considering a lawsuit against the airline.

“I didn’t have any other options,” Aldecosea recounted to reporters. “She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet. I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. GrayAnderson

    February 9, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Considering that most of the folks who show up here do so for disrupting a flight, why is the last one listed?

  2. KRSW

    February 13, 2018 at 7:05 am

    @GrayAnderson: Because she killed a small animal. An animal she claimed she needed for her emotional stability. Obviously the animal didn’t mean a rip to her. She needs to be charged with animal cruelty and institutionalized for a period of time.

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