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.
The next time Hollywood unnecessarily remakes The Planet of the Apes, the opening scene will almost certainly be based on the real-life battle of the species that played out at airports around the U.S. this week. This time, it looks as if humanity won the battle for control of the skies, but the latest intelligence from social media (oxymoron) suggests that the infiltration of our terminals may go much deeper than anyone could have ever imagined.
On Monday, a monkey named Dawkins led airport workers and animal control officers on a nearly two-hour-long chase at San Antonio International Airport (SAT). The rhesus macaque sleeper agent reportedly escaped from his enclosure while being transported by American Airlines. The curious monkey was eventually tranquilized and safely arrived at a nearby wildlife sanctuary a short time later.
“We are working closely with the San Antonio Aviation Department and officials from the San Antonio Zoo,” American Airlines said in statement confirming a safe end to Dawkins’ big adventure. “Officials from the zoo are now onsite to ensure his safety and wellbeing as he continues his journey to his new home at the primate sanctuary.”
Unfortunately for mankind, Dawkins’ airport reconnaissance mission wasn’t the only monkey business reported in the terminal this week. On the very same day that Dawkins was running amok (perhaps creating a well-timed diversion), former ESPN analyst Ed Werder used Twitter to alert us of yet another suspicious primate incursion involving our nation’s critical aviation infrastructure.
“You cannot pass @TSA with a bottle of water,” Werder wrote. “But you can pass wearing two small moneys on your head. A woman on my @AmericanAir flight just boarded wearing two monkeys. #FlyPetSmart”
Suffering from allergies can be a real nuisance and in extreme cases can be downright dangerous. Still, allegedly punching a pregnant woman and her service dog seems like a bit of an overreaction to a loved one’s allergic reaction.
A Frontier Airlines passenger who had just arrived at Orlando International Airport (MCO) on a flight from Colorado Springs Airport (COS) reportedly took his frustrations out on a deaf passenger and her service dog in a violent fashion. According to police, Timothy Manley not only punched the pregnant flyer “in the stomach,” but he also punched her service animal and assaulted her two small children for good measure.
“The safety and security of our passengers is our top priority at Frontier,” the airline said in a less-than-sympathetic statement. “Upon deplaning Flight 1752 from Colorado Springs to Orlando, there was a confrontation between passengers. Police were immediately notified to aid in de-escalating the situation.”
Police “de-escalated” the situation by taking Manley into custody. Local officials say they have also referred the matter to federal authorities. The young family, which includes 21-year old Hazel Ramirez, her 30-year-old boyfriend Mathew Silvay, two young children and the Great Dane service dog, were not detained following the scuffle at the gate which saw Manley eventually pinned to the ground by Silvay.
For his part, Manley says the incident is much ado about nothing. “I wouldn’t call it a punch,” he told ABC News. “It’s funny and hilarious that I would have punched her.”
Frontier Airlines is currently offering “Penny Plus Fares” for as low as $15 each way. A same-day greyhound bus ticket from Denver to Charleston, however, could cost upwards of $270. Although this simple economic fact of life may well mean that bus station restrooms are now a lot cleaner, it also might mean that there are now a few more inexperienced flyers in the sky right now.
This week, a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Charleston International Airport (CHS) likely felt longer than the nearly three-day bus trip between the two destinations. Unfortunately, the captain didn’t have the option of leaving this wildly misbehaving passenger on the side of the road. The out-of-control, discount-air-traveler allegedly groped at least two female passengers and urinated on the seat in front of him by the time the plane arrived at its destination.
The icky passenger was eventually arrested when the flight landed, but fellow passengers say it took crew members much too long to take the uncomfortable situation seriously. At first, the handsy flyer was reportedly asked to move to a seat away from other passengers, but when his creepy behavior escalated, it was the whistle-blower and not the urinator who initially earned the flight attendant’s ire.
“And I scream, ‘He’s F***ing peeing! He’s peeing! Oh my God!’” one eyewitness on the flight recounted. “And the flight attendant doesn’t even acknowledge him at first. She acknowledges me and says you need to calm down and stop cursing.”