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Worst Passenger of the Week

Worst Passenger of the Week: Stranger Than Fiction

Worst Passenger of the Week: Stranger Than Fiction
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: WEDDING CRASHERS

In the 2005 Warner Brothers film “Wedding Crashers,” Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn play womanizers who bluff their way into wedding receptions as a way to use the deceit to meet vulnerable women. The man recently arrested at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) plied a similar technique, but rather than looking for love, police say this fraudulent wedding guest was intent on stealing the celebrants’ cash and valuables.

Mario Hernandez is accused of looting wallets, purses, personal electronics and wedding gifts from numerous nuptial celebrations in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area over the last two years. This week, prosecutors announced that while the 58-year-old is being held on outstanding arrest warrants from at least three jurisdictions, authorities have set up a hotline to help find more potential victims of the man dubbed the “Wedding Crasher Thief.”

For someone who relied on the ability to blend into a crowd and allegedly used more than 21 aliases to pull off a string of heists, Hernandez’s specific skillset appears to have deserted him when he needed it most. San Francisco International Airport police say the suspect caught their attention in the busy airport terminal when he quickly ducked into a restroom upon spotting officers.

HONORABLE MENTION: BELOW

In the 2005 horror film “Below,” a World War II submarine crew fights supernatural forces in the hope of finding redemption. In a no less compelling story this week, a local business owner, civic leader and seemingly upstanding member of the community inexplicably left the terminal at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) through an emergency exit before running across the tarmac and climbing into the belly of a nearby JetBlue aircraft.

Sergiu Parfeni was quickly removed from the cargo holdby airline workers who were loading the plane at the time. Police say the 31-year-old is charged with “interfering with aircraft operation, trespassing, and disorderly conduct.”

Authorities reported that a search of the aircraft revealed no evidence Parfeni left anything “hazardous or suspicious” behind and the incident is not being treated as a case of someone acting with “terrorist intent.” Officials, however, were left at a loss for the mysterious motive behind the runaway passenger’s strange behavior.

3RD PLACE: UNBREAKABLE

In the 2000 M.Night Shyamaian vehicle “Unbreakable,” Bruce Willis’s character discovers he has the power of near superhuman invincibility. This week, a trespassing passenger at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) shrugged off police and several taser attempts before eventually being brought down by an officer’s bullet.

According to arrest reports, Jordan Henry entered the airport’s restricted areas through a broken door behind an Alaska Airlines ticket counter. The wandering passenger managed to roam onto the tarmac before officers finally caught up with him. Police say the trespassing 32-year-old was initially cooperative with the arresting offers who were trying to usher the man to the terminal – at one point, police even radioed that the suspect was in custody, but things soon took a turn for the worse.

Officials say Henry became suddenly violent, dropping his carry-on items on the ground and violently attacking officers. A Metro Police officer eventually shot the suspect after allegedly attempting to tase the out-of-control would-be air traveler several times with no effect as the man continued to charge the officer.

2ND PLACE: OUTBREAK

In the 1995 thriller “Outbreak,” a mysterious airborne virus threatens humanity and brings commercial air travel around the world to an abrupt halt. In this week’s reboot, a woman who faked a medical emergency in order to get an upgrade to a more comfortable seat managed to cause an American Airlines flight from Pensacola International Airport (PNS) to Miami International Airport (MIA) to make an unscheduled landing.

According to reports, the unidentified passenger believed that making up a medical emergency might entice the flight attendant to allow her to move to the better seat. The plan backfired when the captain called the flyer’s bluff and turned the plane back toward the origin airport.

Had the passenger fessed up to the alleged fraud once on the ground, then this might have been the last anyone heard of the story, but the sly air traveler still had a few more bad decisions to make before eventually ending up in handcuffs. Airport officials say when the plane landed, the woman was feeling much better and not only declined medical treatment but also refused to leave her seat. Eventually, police arrived to make sure the stubborn flyer received all the special attention she deserved.

THE WINNER: JOKER

In the blockbuster movie “Joker,” the film’s antihero played by Joaquin Phoenix uses gallows humor to mask a horrifying reality. A passenger at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) landed himself behind bars this week after failing to match the subtle nuances of Phoenix’s performance.

Authorities say a marine headed home to see family over the holidays, made an exceptionally poor joke while passing through an airport security checkpoint. LCpl. Joseph Simkus is accused of warning a TSA screener to “check my shoes” for the plastic explosive “C-4.” Police say that Simkus admitted to knowingly telling a TSA worker that he had explosives on his person while in an airport security line.

The marine told investigators that he had only been joking and meant no harm by his comments. The Lance Corporal was arrested and faces an initial court date later this month, but the date before a judge might not be his biggest concern right now.

“We are aware of the incident involving LCpl Joseph Simkus, and his subsequent arrest,” commanding officers at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point said in a deceptively stoic statement. “We are working with local authorities to ensure a thorough investigation.”

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. 96SS

    December 7, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    “The Lieutenant Corporal was arrested….”
    This must be the Corporal in charge of the other Corporals.
    Try Lance Corporal, it would be the correct rank.

  2. mvoight

    December 18, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Nah, I see that was Lieutenant part was deleted.
    It seems a Lt Corporal would not be in charge of other corporals because a Lieutenant rank is a subordinate rank

    Lieutenant Colonel is lower than Colonel
    Lieutenant General is lower than General
    In the Navy, Lieutenant Commander is lower than Commander

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