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.
A Boy Scout at Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) earned his Worst Passenger of the Week merit badge after shutting down a portion of the airport for more than an hour in the wee hours of Thursday morning. TSA screeners quickly called for a partial evacuation of the airport after discovering a toy grenade among the 17-year-old’s personal items.
Passengers in the airport security line say that they were ordered to evacuate at approximately 4:30 am. According to eyewitnesses, a TSA official shouted, “Shut it down! Everyone leave!” shortly before passengers were ushered away from the scene. The security checkpoint would not re-open again until after 5:30 am.
The Boy Scout’s excuse for bringing the toy replica of an explosive device through security somehow makes even less sense than the act of intentionally attempting to bring a counterfeit grenade on a passenger plane. It seems the scout was determined to prove his leadership skills by leading through example – in this case, an extremely bad example.
“I heard that maybe he was going to be doing a class on ‘what not to bring to the airport,’” a Houston Police Department spokesperson told reporters. “That’s what I heard.”
To be fair, the teenager could have easily opted to simply create a boring powerpoint presentation reminding students not to bring more than 3.4 ounces of shampoo in their carry-on bags. Showing news footage of his airport misadventure in class, on the other hand, seems a much more interesting way to really drive the lesson home.
The passenger arrested for allegedly threatening a flight attendant on a Delta Air Lines flight from Portland International Airport (PDX) to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is now facing a serious logistic challenge as well as federal charges. Bolutife Olorunda was taken into custody after his challenging behavior caused the captain to make an unscheduled stop at Topeka Regional Airport (FOE).
Fellow passengers on the flight couldn’t have been happy about the delay caused by the unexpected pitstop, but Olorunda himself won’t be flying home at all – at least not any time in the near future. A judge ordered the accused troublemaker released after posting a $10,000 bond, but according to the terms of his release, Olorunda is prohibited from flying and is not even allowed to set foot in an airport while awaiting his next court date.
Topeka is not especially close to Atlanta or Olorunda’s residence near Portland, but the grounded passenger will still be required to make some decidedly less expedient travel plans in the short term. Likewise, this Worst Passenger will not be permitted to hop on a plane to make his upcoming court appearances.
Olorunda was also ordered to seek mental health counseling during his release after the judge heard accusations that the defendant threatened a flight attendant, saying, “Don’t touch me and if you touch me again you will regret it.” According to court records, Olorunda is also accused of ignoring instruction from a federal air marshal who was on the flight. In photographs taken by fellow passengers, the 29-year-old can be seen broadly smiling as he is being led away from the plane in handcuffs.
Although being forced to travel by Greyhound might sound like punishment enough, federal prosecutors don’t appear to agree. Olorunda is facing a charge of “interfering with a crew member.” If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in jail and as much as $250,000 in fines.
At one time, punishing an entire platoon for the actions of a single soldier was considered a highly effective way of maintaining military discipline; now it looks like EasyJet is intent on co-opting the method. The airline cancelled a flight from Bristol Airport (BRS) to Václav Havel Airport Prague (PRG) this week after a group of passengers celebrating a bachelor party reportedly turned abusive.
Eyewitnesses on the flight say that the hard-partying travelers were loudly swearing and in at least one incident peed on the floor of the lavatory to the point that urine could be seen flowing out of the restroom and soaking the carpet in the cabin before the flight ever even left the ground. When a flight attendant made a plea for decorum and announced that there would be no alcoholic beverages served on the flight, things went from bad to worse.
It isn’t entirely clear why the airline decided to cancel the flight rather than to simply eject the group of rowdy flyers, but if the goal was to embarrass the bad actors, then it would seem the effort ended in failure. The soon-to-be-husband wasted very little time taking his cause to social media where he blamed crew members for the incident and crudely harassed other passengers on the flight who complained about the group’s behavior disrupting their travel plans.
“@EasyJet your cabin crew and head cabin lady need to be sacked,” groom Nathan Rees wrote in a Twitter post following the flight. “Made a mountain out of a mole hill on the flight to Prague yesterday evening that got cancelled. Destroyed my stag and also hundred of others trip to Prague. Legal action is been taken. Joke.”
Rees, at the same time, used his Twitter account to attack fellow passengers who were critical of the stag party’s antics. Passengers who saw their flight cancelled earned rebukes from Rees that included an admonishment to “wind your neck in,” a call to “get off your high horse” and a defiant insistence that “No one was shouting and swearing, you tool of a guy.”
Officers who responded to the scene had a much different take on the situation than the reveling wedding entourage. Police soon responded with some Twitter snark of their own.
“Disappointing behavior of a few who ruined a Friday flight from #BristolAirport, not just for their mates, but for the 140+ who’s flight was cancelled as a result of their follow-up actions,” Avon and Somerset Police later wrote on the agency’s Twitter account, adding “It’s an aircraft – not a nightclub.”