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.
Yet again, vapers have proven themselves to be just the worst. It seems those who vape are no longer content just to feud with crew members and fellow passengers. They have now moved on to repeatedly putting everyone’s life at risk. It’s no wonder so many Worst Passenger candidates continue to be self-proclaimed vaping enthusiasts.
Last week, former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Enzo Amore, aka Eric Arndt, was booted off of his John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)-bound Delta Air Lines flight for vaping in the cabin. The retired pro-wrestler denies using the prohibited device on the plane, but he is accused of not only insisting on enjoying a refreshing nicotine vapor cloud pre-flight, but also refusing to heed crew member requests that he knock it the hell off.
The Hackensack, New Jersey native and one-time WWE Cruiserweight champ can’t top the actions of a fellow electronic cigarette fan at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) this week. It seems while this particular hipster-doofus traded tobacco for a vape pen, his checked bags just couldn’t stop smoking.
TSA agents at the airport noticed there appeared to be smoke emanating from a checked bag being screened at the time. The source of the smoke was traced to the lithium battery of an e-cigarette in the bag. While authorities investigated the suspicious bag, the flight to Kansas City International Airport (MCI) was temporarily grounded.
Electronic cigarettes are of course prohibited in checked bags for exactly this reason.
“TSA is focused on ensuring that nothing catastrophic occurs on an airplane, and so of course a suitcase that has smoke emitting from it is definitely suspicious,” the Homeland Security agency reported along with a short video of the smoking piece of luggage. “The packed blue plastic roller-bag had smoke rising from its seam, causing disruption in the checked baggage screening room.”
A couple’s marital spat quickly became an international incident on an American Airlines flight this week from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). After the inflight tiff became something more than just an embarrassing airing of dirty laundry, the captain decided to return to Chicago.
Eyewitnesses allege that the lovers quarrel eventually escalated into domestic violence. One passenger on the flight indicated on social media that the husband involved in the incident initially refused to leave the aircraft when police arrived.
“Flight AA3284 @AmericanAir sent back to #Chicago @fly2ohare half way through our flight to Toronto due to a passenger assaulting his wife,” the delayed flyer wrote in a Twitter post. “He refused to get off when we landed so we all had to deplane. @Chicago_Police tell me this guy is under arrest? #domesticviolence.”
According to the airline, the flight was forced to return to ORD due to “two disruptive passengers.” Police who arrived to escort the pair from the plane say that neither party showed obvious signs of injury and no arrests were made at the time. The flight was delayed for just over four hours and the happy couple was booked on a later flight to YYZ.
Some of us are just old enough to remember when signs at the airport warned about the consequences of making jokes about hijackings or explosives. Now, it seems passengers in the terminals are too busy broadcasting jokes on social media about terrorism to read the posted warnings anyway.
A 21-year-old Jet Airways passenger had to learn the rules the hard way. He was detained after posting an inappropriate image to Snapchat in a misguided attempt to be funny. A fellow passenger quickly alerted crew members after spying flyer Yogvedant Poddar using a mobile phone to send the potentially threatening photograph and caption.
The picture in question reportedly showed Yogvedant Poddar with his face half-covered above the words “Terrorist on flight, I destroy women’s hearts.” The timing of the not-so-funny post was especially unfortunate given that flight took place on the ten-year anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The incident occurred on a Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) to Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM)-bound plane just prior to takeoff.
Once authorities were convinced the security threat was nothing more than the sad bragging of a socially awkward young man, the flight was permitted to depart for BOM (after a roughly hour-and-a-half delay). According to a statement form the airport, Yogvedant Poddar was detained for “mischievous activity on board” and using language “which was inferred as a security threat.” His father told reporters that the misunderstanding was caused by his son “indulging in a prank.”
Anyone who thinks their drunk uncle was unbearable at Thanksgiving dinner should just be grateful this Worst Passenger of the Week didn’t have a seat at their table. As far as bad holiday visitors go, this passenger on his way from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) tops any number of racist aunts or insufferable brother-in-laws.
In addition to being wildly unstable, this worst passenger of the week was a profile in contradictions. Although he allegedly launched into a mid-flight anti-Semitic rant, media outlets have reported that he arrived at ATL wearing what appeared to be a tallit. Even as David Toaff is said to have asked all Jews on the flight to raise their hand (so he could identify them), the 37-year-old also expressed concerns that there was an undercover Nazi on the plane, warning, “Just like Trump — he’s a Nazi!”
Video of Toaff being taken into custody reveals still more contradictions. Though he can be heard telling police, “I’m not a bad person” and protesting, “I did not do anything wrong – I’m not attacking anyone,” he can also be seen apparently attempting escape from custody (by his own admission the escape attempt would have likely been futile as he earlier told cops he was well-known in Washington, DC circles).
“A male was yelling, asking Jewish people on board to identify themselves and making remarks about bombings to passengers aboard the aircraft,” an Atlanta Police spokesperson later told reporters. “Some passengers told police they interpreted the remarks as being anti-Semitic.”
Police seemed as confused about Toaff’s behavior as he was himself. The disruptive flyer was eventually arrested on charges of obstruction and disorderly conduct after he continued to be uncooperative with officers.