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Worst Passenger of the Week

Worst Passenger of the Week: Impromptu MMA Fight Interrupted by Divine Intervention

Worst Passenger of the Week: Impromptu MMA Fight Interrupted by Divine Intervention
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. 

Third Place – Fighting to Get Fit in Flight

This week, an American Airlines passenger’s commitment to physical fitness led a Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) flight to make an unscheduled stop at Kansas City International Airport (MCI) so that the disruptive workout enthusiast could hit the showers. According to eyewitnesses, alcohol consumption may have had more to do with the single-minded display of physical prowess than any attempt to live an active, healthy lifestyle.

The troublesome flyer was reportedly already “stumbling and appeared to be intoxicated” when he boarded the overnight flight with an entourage that included two dogs. The athletic mischief-maker is said to have consumed additional beers and cocktails as part of his unique inflight workout regimen. 

“He was leaning up against where you put the bags overhead and a passenger came by and said, ‘What are you going to do, some pull ups?’ and the guy actually grabbed on to it and started doing some pull ups on the plane in front of everybody,” one passenger on the flight later told reporters. “He would not sit down. The flight attendant probably asked him about three or four times to sit down and he refused to sit down and then he really got verbally abusive with her, starting calling her names.”

Local media reports indicate that the unidentified flyer and his canine companions were removed from the plane in Kansas. According to an FBI spokesperson, no criminal charges were filed as a result of the incident. This outcome was doubly fortunate for the sporty flyer, considering the Clay County Detention Center recently earned a one-star Yelp review, thanks in part to the poor condition of its workout areas and changing rooms.

The Runner-up – Fighting Against Racist Preflight Fits 

When a passenger directed a hate-filled, racist tantrum at a flight attendant this week, Southwest Airlines responded by proving true to the company’s onetime slogan “Love is still our field.” The tagline may have initially referred to the airline’s near-monopoly at their Dallas Love Field (DAL) headquarters, but this week, the airline chose a different kind of love by taking a stand against hate and having an employee’s back at the same time. 

The unidentified and unenlightened passenger, in this case, reportedly became incensed after the cabin crew member requested that she stow her tray-table in the upright and locked position in preparation for takeoff. The simple demand that the flyer comply with federal regulations so the plane could safely depart, resulted in the flight attendant allegedly being referred to by an offensive racial slur and having objects thrown at her. 

A video of the ugly incident appears to show the air traveler referring to the crew member as a “stupid [offensive racial slur]” both before and after begging airline employees to allow to her remain on the flight. Perhaps not surprisingly, the airline was not moved by the racist flyer’s tearful pleas.   

“The customer became unruly and verbally abusive toward our flight attendants, and the decision was made to return to the gate to deplane the customer, where she was met by local law enforcement officers,” the airline said, in part, in a strongly worded statement about the unfortunate incident. “Our employees handled the situation professionally with grace and class, and we do not condone or tolerate such profane and unruly behavior on board our aircraft.”

The Winner – Fit for Fighting, but not for Flight

MMA fighter Charles “The Hybrid” Haywood, had a number of things working against him when he arrived at the Spirit Airlines ticket counter at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) this week. Not the least of the 29-year-old’s issues was the fact that he allegedly showed up at the airport without any identification and according to local media reports, his name was on the airline’s “no-fly” list. 

The professional fighter quickly focused his frustrations on another nearby passenger who was waiting in line. The ensuing MMA-style brawl reportedly continued until several other passengers stepped in to separate the ill-matched fighters. 

According to cops, the contest between the 43-year-old business traveler and the professional fighter was anything but a fair fight. Eyewitnesses report that Haywood threw the first punch. Police told reporters that the victim claimed the prizefighter instigated the attack and that he, without warning, “struck him in the face several times in addition to kicking and choking him.” Haywood was arrested at the scene and now faces battery charges. Cellphone footage of the melee appears to show the fighter asking the victim “Who wants some?” just prior to the attack. 

“He kicks me, he missed,” the alleged victim later recounted in an interview with a local television station. “It took a priest and two ladies to get him away.”

Once the fight was called due to disqualification, The Hybrid is said to have turned his rage at the authorities, threatening police who struggled to arrest the fighter. At least one officer was injured during the effort to take the “non-compliant” passenger into custody. 

Heywood’s wife told authorities that her husband had been “stressed out” prior to an important upcoming fight. The fighter’s MMA record of 17 wins 10 losses will not be affected by the latest airport bout which was interrupted by a priest, two women and police.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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