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.
As far as novelty wedding gifts for the groomsmen go, replica hand grenades dressed like the groom are actually a somewhat amusing way to celebrate two people blowing their lives apart at the altar. Unfortunately, while the gag gift is likely to be an enduring prenuptial hit, TSA airport screeners are notoriously humorless about passengers attempting to bring mock explosives on commercial airline flights.
Although the replica grenades were painted to look like they were wearing teeny little wedding tuxedos, the TSA points out that even fake grenades look very real in an X-rayed bag. It also might be worth noting that while terrorists or hijackers aren’t likely to paint tiny bowties and tails on their explosives, if screeners were to ever implement a dress code to help decide whether to allow or disallow potential bombs on flights, then tuxedo-wearing bombs would quickly become the new modus operandi for the bad guys.
“When our officers spot a potential explosive on the monitor, they cannot just open the bag and take a look-see to find out if it’s real or not,” the Homeland Security agency explained in an Instagram post this week. “A TSA explosives specialist or a police department bomb squad must respond before the bag is ever opened. This can lead to costly evacuations, delays, and missed flights. These types of items can also lead to hefty fines and arrest.”
The wedding attendee who tried to bring the phony grenades on his flight departing from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) could perhaps be forgiven for the lapse in judgement – after all, it was completely impossible to foresee the potential trouble the gag gift would cause at the airport.
“Due to the nature of this product DO NOT take it into any airport, courthouse, school, federal or state building, or any establishments with tighter security,” the packaging discovered with the confiscated wedding favors reads. “If you are flying we advise you to ship this product in the mail to your destination.”
A good guidebook can give travelers an idea of possible pitfalls and social faux pas to watch out for when traveling abroad. For example, it could be helpful to be made aware that while saké is considered a rice wine, the Japanese national beverage can pack quite a punch.
Unfortunately, for a U.S. national headed to Japan, he apparently had not quite gotten to that chapter in his guidebook yet. The over-indulging traveler managed to cause something of an international incident before his flight ever arrived at its destination.
The unnamed American had reportedly consumed four glasses of champagne and a single saké prior to allegedly urinating on a 50-year-old Japanese passenger seated a few rows away during the All Nippon Airways flight from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT). The 24-year-old incontinent, intercontinental flyer was restrained by crew members and later taken into custody by police as soon as the flight arrived in Japan.
Police say that after the detained passenger sobered up, he quite understandably claimed to have had no memory of the inflight unpleasantness. The Japanese passenger who bore the brunt of the ugly American’s misbehavior told officers that he had at no point interacted with the man prior to receiving an unwelcome shower from the saké-soused fellow flyer.
Grammy-winning Country singer Gretchen Wilson has in the past been accused of a number of crimes against music, including, but not limited to her hit songs, “The Redneck Woman,” “Here for the Party” and “All Jacked Up.” Now, as the result of an incident aboard an American Airlines flight to Bradley International Airport (BDL) this week, the entertainer is facing somewhat more formal charges.
According to Connecticut State police, an investigation into a “minor” inflight incident became more serious when Wilson “became belligerent towards the Troopers, and caused a disturbance.” The award-winning vocalist soon found herself treated to something of a red carpet walk through the terminal that, like at any decent awards show, came complete with a crowded line of cameramen eagerly capturing the moment for posterity. The star was said to be wearing an elegant pair of Smith & Wesson Lever Lock Handcuffs as she was escorted to the star-studded afterparty by Connecticut’s Finest.
Details of the in-flight incident aren’t entirely clear, but it does seem clear that it was the celebrity’s behavior on the ground rather than in the air that led directly to her eventual arrest. The initial altercation on the plane reportedly involved a disagreement over the use of the first class lavatory.
“Two passengers were in an altercation on the flight,” an airline spokesperson told CNN. “American contacted law enforcement to meet the aircraft upon arrival in Hartford.”
The next day, Wilson offered an inspiring, but belated acceptance speech via a Twitter post. Breaking with a long tradition, the five-time platinum recording artist neglected to use the opportunity to thank her family and her agent.
“I want to thank my fans for their patience,” she wrote. “The unfortunate events that took place last Tuesday night are still an open case matter and so I can’t discuss or comment on any specifics. I would like to respect the process, and am confident that the truth shall prevail.”