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.
An anonymous jokester on a Thomson Airways flight from Cancún International Airport (CUN) to London Gatwick Airport (LGW) thought he or she would have the last laugh, but as it turned out, the joke ended up being on the unknown prankster. Unfortunately, everyone else on the flight had to suffer as well.
When the captain of the international flight became aware during boarding that someone on the plane had named a publicly viewable wifi hotspot as “Jihadist Cell London 1,” he refused to depart until the culprit fessed up. After more than an hour delay, still no one onboard had stepped forward to take the blame and the flight was eventually cancelled.
Forgetting for a moment that the wildly inappropriate wifi moniker hurtfully appeared as an available network on passengers’ mobile devices just hours after the bombing at a crowded concert in Manchester, the tasteless “joke” posed a very real security issue in the view of the pilot.The incident occurred just as UK officials raised the terror threat to “critical” for the first time in nearly a decade, warning that follow-up attacks to the tragedy in Manchester could well be “imminent.”
While police searched passengers’ mobile devices, the pilot begged the passenger with an apparently perverse sense of humor to own up to the offensive network moniker, so that the flight could depart. “Someone has managed to do this on a hot point and it is a security issue and I’m sure you’ll understand I’m not prepared to depart with something like this on the aircraft,” the pilot announced shortly before the disrespectfully named network was mysteriously deleted.
“Whatever, this is utterly unacceptable,” the captain lamented. “Our security people are looking into this.”
Even Worst Passengers of the Week deserve a second chance, but its seems as if troublemaking passenger Anil Tuvanc Uskanli was given way too many chances to behave like a grownup. By the time airline officials and authorities were done giving him the benefit of the doubt, the threat was so serious that military fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the aircraft.
First, police at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) confirm that Uskanli was cited for trespassing before his flight to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) after he opened a restricted door and inquired, “Where can i get something to eat around here?” According to the LAPD, “They [officers] determined that he [Uskanli] had been drinking but did not meet the criteria for drunk in public.”
Just before boarding, fellow passengers attempted to raise the alarm about Uskanli’s erratic behavior. According to media accounts, several passengers approached American Airlines gate agents to report that he was a potential problem. “He’s a threat,” one passenger on the flight recalled telling an American Airlines employee prior to boarding. “He’s acting weird. He’s scaring us.”
Once onboard, Uskanli’s behavior didn’t improve. He allegedly screamed at another passenger for walking in on him in an unlocked lavatory. The oddly behaving traveler is also said to have attempted to make two separate unauthorized incursions into the first class cabin. His final try to head to the front of the aircraft resulted in a tug-of-war involving a beverage cart, an off-duty police officer and a truly heroic flight attendant.
While everyone involved seemed perfectly content to give this boorish passenger plenty of rope, in the end, zip ties were used to restrain him to his seat.
It should be clear by now that politics and commercial airline travel aren’t a good mix. If passengers are intent on wearing their politics on their sleeves (or hats), the least they could do is try to display a little bit of comity. A passenger proudly wearing a “Make America Great Again” trucker hat, took the opposite tack on a United Airlines flight this week.
According to those on the flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), the conspicuous Trump supporter was upset about not being given an upgrade to first class. In a possible misinterpretation of (or perhaps perfect understanding of) Art of the Deal, the passenger reportedly staked out a row of seats for himself and refused to allow any other passengers to sit there unless his first class demands were satisfied.
Unlike at a political rally, this stubborn passenger was not surrounded by adoring devotees. The other passengers in the cabin were definitely not onboard with the protesting passenger’s onboard platform. As the departure delay caused by his antics grew, his approval rating began to tank dramatically.
And, of course, because it is 2017, much of the unpleasantness was documented and saved for posterity on social media.
Eyewitnesses report that moments before police arrived, the defiant passenger surveyed his position and admitted defeat and gathered his belongings. As the irate flyer turned to give a fiery concession speech to the crowd, a chant began to develop among the delayed flyers. A rhythmic refrain could soon be heard growing from the chorus, “Lock him up. Lock him up.”