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Worst Passenger of the Week: Head ♪ Shoulders ♪

Worst Passenger of the Week: Head ♪ Shoulders ♪
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 column, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory.

Third Place – Knees and Toes

Naomi Campbell very nearly made the cut for Worst Passenger of the Week after going public with her divaesque pre-flight seat sanitizing routine. Seeing evidence of a different inconsiderate passenger in action, however, it looks as if the former supermodel should instead be nominated as the “Smartest Passenger of the Week.”

A viral video of a flyer casually scrolling through the touchscreen in-flight entertainment options using his toe on a recent flight has proven surprisingly divisive. The footage posted on social media has been dubbed, “The worst thing that has ever happened on a plane” with some other tongue-in-cheek reactions calling for Interpol to deploy unprecedented resources to catch this particular scoundrel before his footprints cover every interactive screen in the western world.

Although public sentiment leans decidedly toward the “Yuck!” camp, there are (of course) contrary opinions. Despite the fact that the now-infamous air traveler does not appear to have any disabilities requiring special accommodations, there are those who vigorously defended his energy-saving, albeit unorthodox approach to in-flight channel surfing.

“This is not that big a deal,” one commenter wrote. “I would bet that the average hand has more germs than the average barefoot. It may violate social norms, but it is definitely not the worst thing that has happened on a plane.”

In another dissenting opinion, a frequent flyer suggested (quite correctly) that the onboard display pales in comparison to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 100 or the downing of Korean Air Flight 103 by a Russian missile. Apparently, a new low bar for behavior when it comes to commercial air travel has been set.

The Runner-Up – Fit to Be Tied

It appears that American Airlines’ recent maintenance and operational issues may have broken at least one passenger beyond repair. A flyer at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) was arrested following a cringe-worthy temper tantrum in response to a delayed flight.

Police say Felix Alberto Brandi-Rivera was taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct after throwing the sort of fit at the gate usually reserved for a toddler. Footage of the incident shows the 38-year-old walking in circles, shouting at airline workers, knocking signs to the ground and at various points removing both his shirt and pants.

A fellow passenger who recorded the public meltdown, reports that the performance had been going on for nearly five minutes before she decided to start recording. Police say it took them about 2 minutes to respond once they became aware of the disturbance.

Unfortunately, his petulant protest did not speed the boarding process at all. Instead, when police arrived, the cranky flyer was handcuffed and led away from the gate, making it very unlikely he would reach his destination anytime soon (at least slightly worse odds than patiently hoping and waiting for the AA flight to depart).

Interestingly, stripping one’s clothes in response to unwelcome news for the airline has become something of a tradition at this American Airlines hub. In 2015, a passenger at the airport was arrested after calmly stripping completely naked to protest the fact that he had been involuntarily denied boarding on his overbooked flight.

The Winner – Sky-High Updo

Men who wear toupees almost always think their hairpieces look natural and they are almost always wrong, perhaps none more spectacularly wrong than this passenger arriving at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN). Police say the air traveler from Columbia was hiding 500 grams of cocaine worth an approximate $30,000 under his oversized toupee.

“Performing routine controls on arrival flights considered ‘hot’ the officers detained a Colombian citizen from Bogotá who had the appearance of a tourist on first impression but later attracted their attention due to his notable nervousness and the disproportionate size of the toupee he wore,” Spanish National Police said in a statement. “When proceeding with his identification, officers saw that underneath his hat, he was wearing a wig that because of its size prompted suspicions he could be hiding an illegal substance underneath it.”

In this case, it appears an alleged drug mule failed to keep the contraband under his lid, causing a hair-raising discovery by customs officials. Photographs released this week of the suspect attempting to tease his way through an immigration checkpoint show that neither a professional blow-out nor a crafty buzzcut would have helped to conceal this powdered wig from detection.

This would-be smuggler likely made one last check in the mirror of the lavatory before disembarking and thought to himself, “No one will be able able to tell.” The suspect then confidently showed up at the customs checkpoint wearing what looks very much like a dead rabbit humping a large bag of cocaine.


[Featured Image: Twitter/ @alafairburke]

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