0 min left

Worst Passenger of the Week: Strange Behavior in the Cabin

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: Still Not Getting the Message

A Frontier passenger doesn’t think he did anything wrong, but airport police who arrested him on charges of “endangering public transportation” disagree. The trouble started when Richard Porter brought plane crashes up in conversation with his seatmate shortly before she noticed a message on his phone indicating that he “intended to do something to cause the plane to crash and kill everyone on board.”


When police asked him about the messages, he “seemed to shrug it off.” The Denver Police Department has not yet released the content of the “threatening” message in question.

3rd Place: Lost Vegas

An allegedly intoxicated passenger at Nashville International Airport (BNA) blamed TSA screeners as the reason for missing a Frontier Airlines flight to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS). But police say that the irate flyer became the reason when took his frustrations out on police and ticket counter agents instead. Cops say that rather than accepting an offer to leave for “The Capital of Second Chances” on a later flight, Lawrence Eugene Wesolowski instead forced officers to take the 68-year-old into custody on charges of “public intoxication and disorderly conduct.”

According to arrest records, Wesolowski exhibited several signs of intoxication, including a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and difficulty walking. Perhaps the biggest clue that the dissatisfied customer had overindulged was the reaction when officers suggested the tardy flyer simply rebook his missed flight. Airport police allege Wesolowski then became “instantly belligerent.”

Authorities report the scene that followed eventually led to the senior citizen’s arrest. The resulting tantrum is said to have involved “yelling at airline workers” and angrily “demanding a full refund” as officers tried in vain to calm the situation.

Related: Stop Yelling at Gate and Ticket Agents


2nd Place: A Gutsy Smuggling Attempt

There isn’t much a smuggler won’t do to avoid detection – a passenger this week was even willing to ingest more than a half-pound of diamonds in an effort to slip past customs officials at Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) in the U.A.E. after arriving on a flight from Africa. Unfortunately for the would-be diamond smuggler, the country’s Federal Customs Authority (FCA) had already been tipped off about the man’s unusual carry-on plans.

“When the suspect reached Sharjah customs, his passport was confiscated and his bags were searched,” an FCA spokesperson told reporters in a statement. “After carrying out an X-ray, officials discovered that the passenger had swallowed 297grams of raw diamonds, which were worth around $90,000.”

The agency also helpfully provided both an X-ray copy of the contraband hidden well inside the passenger’s bowels and a photograph of the diamonds packed in sandwich bags and being weighed as evidence. The striking images made it clear that both the good guys and the bad guys in this story are woefully underpaid for their chosen careers.

The Winner: Strange Behavior

An American Airlines flight bound from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) was forced to make an unscheduled landing at Shannon Airport (SNN) after reporting a disruptive passenger onboard. The Boeing 777-200’s crew, just over two hours into its transatlantic journey, requested permission to jettison fuel after making a distress call and asking for clearance to land in Ireland.

The captain reported to ground control that a passenger was “acting strangely and moving around the aircraft.” The crew indicated that the disturbed air traveler may have been suffering from a medical issue.

“American Airlines flight AA71 from Frankfurt to Dallas/Fort Worth diverted to Shannon due to an unruly passenger,” an airline spokesperson told the Irish Sun. “The flight landed safely without incident and was met by security personnel.”

An off-duty U.S. Border Patrol Agent who happened to be on the plane, however, described a much more serious series of events. The federal law enforcement agent (who helped subdue the out-of-control passenger) reported that the man had attempted to access the flight deck prior to the emergency landing.

“Our agent’s training and swift response in taking action helped prompt the assistance of fellow passengers, ensuring the safety of all passengers on board,” Interim Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said in a statement commending the agent’s actions. “This level of courage and commitment is a testament of the caliber of Border Patrol agents that exist within our ranks that without hesitation jump into harm’s way to protect the sanctity of human life.”

The disruptive passenger was taken into custody by police without incident once the plane was safely on the ground. Authorities in Ireland gave indications the unruly flyer was indeed suffering a mental break of some sort or another.

“The passenger was assessed by ambulance paramedics after being removed from the aircraft,” a Garda spokesperson told reporters. “He was transported to hospital by ambulance for assessment with Gardaí accompanying him. The course of the investigation will be determined by the outcome of the medical assessment.”