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.
An attempt to stow away aboard a Penang International Airport (PEN) to Medan Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) flight, fortunately, ended with the arrest of the trespassing passenger rather than his death. According to local media reports, the Indonesian national working in a Malaysian poultry processing factory admitted that he was trying to return home, but could not afford the airfare.
The ill-advised travel plans were foiled when a mechanic discovered the uninvited flyer searching for a more secure perch above the landing gear of the passenger jet. Officials say the guest worker is so far only facing simple trespass charges.
To be sure, desperate flyers have survived journeys of longer distances in the bellies of jetliners. In 2016, a teenager survived a harrowing eight-hour flight in the cargo hold of a Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) Emirates Airbus A380. Countless other attempts, however, have ended in tragedy. In March of 2008, two would-be stowaways died after falling from the landing gear of a José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (GYE) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)-bound flight during takeoff.
It is not clear how the trespassing air traveler accessed the aircraft on the tarmac at the airport. This latest case of a human being risking his life for international passage appears to have serious implications for aviation security in the region, as well as highlighting a few deep-seated socialjustice issues.
A passenger on a flight this week from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) to Manchester Airport (MAN) may have had just a bit too much during a visit to the city famed for its tolerance-based policing policy. By his own admission, the disruptive flyer, who allegedly attempted to access the flight deck during the short flight, had taken a “concoction of drugs” prior to boarding.
Unfortunately for Zeno Alexander Bolkziel, Amsterdam’s tolerance policy only extends as far as the airport. He was promptly arrested when the flight arrived in the U.K. According to police, the 30-year-old now faces serious criminal charges.
“A man has been charged after an airline passenger tried to access the cockpit of a plane bound for Manchester,” Greater Manchester Police told reporters in a statement. “Alexander Zeno Bolkziel from Ghent, Belgium has been charged with intentionally interfering with the performance of an aircraft crew member’s duties. At around 9.30pm on Wednesday 8 May 2019, officers were alerted by the captain of a flight from Amsterdam to Manchester that a passenger was trying to access the cockpit of the aircraft. Police met the flight at Manchester Airport and arrested a man.”
The Belgium national did not enter a plea at his initial court hearing and will next face the judge on June 13th. Bolkziel’s attorneys indicated that they may be using a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome as part of his defense.
In addition to producing among the most unwatchable televised competition imaginable, the sport of rugby has managed to once again contribute to a lengthy flight delay this week. After rotten behavior by a scrum of rugby players left an EasyJet flight attendant in tears, the Bristol Airport (BRS) to Belfast International Airport (BFS)-bound flight soon returned to the gate.
The cabin crew had reportedly barely finished the preflight safety announcements before one of the out-of-control teammates began to sexually harass a female flight attendant. According to eyewitness reports, the rugby crew caused so much mayhem that the captain briefly left the flight deck to investigate.
Police eventually escorted one of the troublemakers for the aircraft. Seeing one of their own ejected, however, didn’t appear to phase the remaining players.
“I couldn’t hear what he said to them, but one of the women said ‘I am treating this as sexual harassment,’” a passenger on the flight told the Sun. “As police escorted him off, the lady in the cabin crew was in floods of tears, and was saying that she didn’t feel safe on that flight. What sickened me most was that, after we got off the flight, as we were waiting for the carousel to get our bags, all the other men in the group burst into laughter. They were saying things like she was only looking for a bit of compensation, and that they’d said worse things to their mothers. One of them said, ‘Let’s get the dildo out.’”
The air hooligan removed from this weekend’s flight was part of a long tradition of amateur players inconveniencing passengers. The melee on a BRS to Alicante–Elche Airport (ALC)-bound EasyJet flight which caused Spanish authorities to remove 25 members of an amateur British football team in April is now only the second most recent incident of misbehaving sports teams seriously disrupting air travel.
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