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Worst Passenger of the Week: Mission Implausible

Worst Passenger of the Week: Mission Implausible
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 column, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory.

Honorable Mention: That’s My Prerogative

JetBlue officials confirmed that singer Bobby Brown was removed from a Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)-bound flight prior to departure. According to the airline, crew members allegedly “observed indications of intoxication” from the celebrity passenger, but eyewitnesses report that Brown did not appear obviously intoxicated and that a disagreement with a seatmate initially set off a chain of events that resulted in police being called to the gate.

Photographs published by TMZ show Brown surrounded by police officers while attempting to tell his side of the story. After an hour-long delay, the plane departed without the recording artist on board.

“The decision to remove a customer from a flight is not taken lightly,” a JetBlue spokesperson said in a statement. “In this instance, the customer was offered a seat on a later flight. The customer declined and was issued a refund.”

In a tense situation in which everybody’s talkin’ all this stuff about him, Brown obviously did not need permission to make his own decisions. The option of taking his business elsewhere was, of course, his exclusive or special right, power, or privilege.

Third Place: Care to Settle This Outside?

A pair of feuding passengers on an Aer Lingus flight this week patiently waited for the plane to land, the captain to issue a two-bell signal indicating passengers could safely unbuckle their seatbelts, double-checked to ensure they weren’t leaving any personal items behind, and then allowed the passengers in front to gather carry-on items from the overhead bins and disembark, before stepping outside to settle their differences “like men” on the tarmac at Dublin Airport (DUB). There is no indication of what exactly occurred during the three-hour-long flight from Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) that caused the two rivals to resort to violence, but it appears the scrapping passengers received at least some special consideration for waiting until their feet were on the ground to have at each other.

“Gardaí are investigating an assault incident between two males, both aged in their 30s, that occurred on a boarding ramp in Dublin Airport on 11/9/19 at approximately 2.50am,” a police spokesperson explained. “Both males were detained and released shortly after pending further investigation.”

Airline officials even took an uncharacteristically “boys will be boys” approach to the incident. The carrier neglected to make the obligatory mention of their zero-tolerance policy regarding disruptive passengers.

“Aer Lingus can confirm that flight EI739 traveling from Palma to Dublin on the 10th September landed safely at Dublin Airport,” an Aer Lingus spokesperson told reporters. “An incident following disembarkation involving two guests who were traveling on the flight has been reported to An Garda Síochána who are handling the matter accordingly.”

The Runner-Up: Asphalt in the Plan

A passenger was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) after TSA screeners made an unusual discovery. In this case, it appears the flyer may have grossly overthought his plan for smuggling a gun past security in his carry-on bag.

“The .40 caliber handgun was accompanied by 20 loose bullets,” the TSA said in a release about the bizarre incident. “The gun was wrapped in what appeared to be some sort of fiberglass inside a case covered in what appeared to be some sort of tar.”

In hindsight, a fiberglass case filled with “some sort of tar” is highly likely to draw the attention of airport checkpoint screeners in any situation and might not be the best place to hide contraband. The TSA also took pains to point out that the misguided plan to conceal the weapon not only drew extra attention to the hidden gun, but was also largely unnecessary.

“Passengers are permitted to travel domestically with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared to the airline,” the Homeland Security agency helpfully expanded. “TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.”

The Winner: Still up to the Same Old Tricks

A passenger with a dream of working abroad hatched a plan to use a false passport and visa to travel from Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Unfortunately, the falsified documents he obtained required the 32-year-old with a dream to represent himself as an 81-year-old man. Using an assortment of props, including a wheelchair, a fake white beard, glasses, a tunic and a turban, Jayesh Patel crafted what he believed was the perfect old man disguise.

It did not go well at the airport.

“He was definitely not 80 years old,” a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) spokesperson told reporters following Patel’s arrest. “His skin was of a younger person. The appearance and skin texture of the passenger seemed to be much younger than mentioned in the passport.”

Although the impressive before-and-after photographs of Patel in full disguise would have been enough to win nearly any costume contest, it didn’t fool officials at the airport. Once unmasked, Patel confessed to the plot faster than the villain at the end of an episode of Scooby-Doo. He also indicated that the elaborate makeover and costume were included at no additional charge when he picked up his falsified documents.

Interestingly, Patel isn’t the first worst passenger to use an old man disguise in an attempt to evade immigration rules. In 2011, an asylum seeker made it all the way from Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) employing a similar scheme. It was a tip-off from a cabin crew member that eventually proved to be the foil to this well-crafted plan.

“The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young looking hands,” Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said at the time. “During the flight the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian-looking male that appeared to be in his early twenties.”

We also have some questions about how Mr. Six obtained his work visa. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations has likely expired on this particular misrepresentation.


[Featured Image: TSA]

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