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 passenger, who was desperate to make it from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to Geneva Airport (GVA) after missing his flight, took drastic measures attempting to get to his destination on Sunday. After the stranded flyer apparently became frustrated trying to rebook his itinerary through EasyJet, he came up with a foolproof solution to his predicament.
The two-part plan involved one, sneaking onto a later EasyJet flight to his destination and two, hiding in the lavatory until the plane lands. The strategy started to fall to pieces when a flight attendant took note of the illuminated sign indicating that the restroom was occupied. In a brilliant, but ultimately futile final gambit, the stowaway refused to leave the lavatory even after the jig was clearly up.
Eventually, the foiled flyer was escorted from the aircraft where an awkward conversation with law enforcement awaited him. Despite his best efforts, it doesn’t appear likely that the desperate passenger will be catching his flight to Switzerland any time soon.
An EasyJet spokesperson described the incident as a simple case of a passenger boarding the wrong flight. “The crew correctly identified the passenger should not be on board and immediately reported it to the police,” the airline said in a statement. “We have taken this up with our ground staff and an investigation has been launched.”
A passenger’s stubborn refusal to put his computer tablet in airplane mode caused a Qantas flight from Canberra Airport (CBR) to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) to return to the gate. Rather than a breakdown in communications or debate about the rules that veered off the rails, the incident is described as more of an unprovoked act of outright defiance. According to eyewitnesses, the business traveler, who is reportedly the CEO of a well-known company, flat out refused to obey a flight attendant’s instructions.
Much like a parent in the driver seat with a misbehaving toddler in the back, the captain was forced to make good on a threat to turn the plane around. The flight was then reportedly delayed for several hours after returning to the gate.
Qantas officials confirmed that the delay was the result of a single passenger’s selfishness. “Qantas flight QF1233 operating from Canberra to Melbourne on Friday evening returned to the gate shortly after pushing back from the aerobridge,” the airline said in a statement. “A passenger failed to follow crew instructions to switch their electronic device to flight mode.”
While there is some justice in the fact that this boorish businessman apparently heard the word “no” for the first time in his life, it does seem somewhat unfair that a plane full of innocent passengers was made to suffer along with him. The airline would not confirm whether or not the obstinate titan of industry was permitted to remain on the flight after the delay that he had caused.
When Randall Toshio Saito was ordered to be committed to a mental hospital after being found not guilty by reason of insanity following the grisly 1981 murder of a 29-year-old woman, it was made clear that he poses a grave threat to society and should never walk the streets again. Unfortunately, passengers onboard a pair of commercial airline flights may have unwittingly had the escaped mental patient as a seat mate this week.
“Randall Saito is a very disturbed, mentally ill individual,” prosecutors told the judge who ordered the confessed murderer remanded to a state mental hospital. “He’s a very dangerous individual with respect to whom all the predictors indicate that if he were to be released, he would kill again.”
In 2000, Saito’s request for release was denied after a court was told that the patient “fills all the criteria of a classic serial killer.”
After walking away from the Hawaii State Hospital in Oahu, the dangerous escapee caught a flight to Maui Kahului Airport (OGG). From there, he managed to board another Hawaiian Airlines flight to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).
How Saito escaped form the secure mental facility is under investigation. An even bigger question might be how someone who has been separated from society since long before Travelocity, self-check kiosks or removing shoes at security were part of air travel, managed to fly across the Pacific Ocean without raising any suspicions.
It appears that the potentially unstable and dangerous mental patient should have booked a round-trip ticket. His journey to the mainland ended up being a very brief visit. Apparently unaware of the existence of Uber, Saito drew attention to himself when he hailed a taxicab and was quickly taken into custody by police in California.