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.
When an air traveler’s desperate actions put his own life in danger this week, the end result was tragic, but when that same questionable decision almost cost the life of an innocent sunbather on the ground, the consequences were very nearly disastrous. When a stowaway hid above the landing gear of a Kenya Airways flight departing Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), the outcome was perhaps predictable.
The trespassing passenger fell thousands of feet to the ground when the Boeing 787 deployed its landing gear on approach to London Heathrow. The near-frozen body came within feet of hitting an airport neighbor who was in his backyard enjoying the early summer weather.
“There was an almighty bang,” one neighborhood resident later told the Daily Mail. “At first I thought it was some scaffolding falling down and thought nothing more about it. My husband decided to see what was going on and went upstairs to take a look. He was obviously quite shocked and went out into the street where my neighbor was standing on the phone to the police. He was really shaken up. He’d been in the garden when it happened and the body must have landed so close to where he was. My husband came back in and I asked him what was going on and he said ‘haven’t you seen the man? The man who fell from the sky?”
A stowaway falling from a London-bound passenger jet is not entirely unprecedented. In 2015, an uninvited passenger hiding above the landing gear of a Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) to London-bound flight was killed after falling from the aircraft and landing on top of an office building near the airport.
If there is a silver lining to this cautionary tale, it is that it is highly unlikely the doomed stowaway (with little protection from the freezing temperatures at 40,000), survived long enough to have to endure the terrifying fall to the earth. Fortunately, no one on the ground was injured – this time.
There is a long list of things worth getting upset about when traveling on a commercial flight – often unsafe food handling, occasionally lecherous seatmates and too frequently aggressive “emotional support animals” just to name a few. Needless to say, a fellow passenger’s attempt to recline his seat back a couple of inches doesn’t qualify as a reason to fly off the handle.
A rather testy passenger on a recent British Airways flight from Barcelona–El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport (BCN) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR), however, had a much different idea of what constitutes an unforgivable breach of accepted societal norms. Luckily, FlyerTalker Strawb was on hand to offer a play-by-play recap of the ensuing mayhem.
“Suddenly 8D goes berserk, pulls the curtain aside and starts screaming aggressively in Spanish at 7D. It turned out that 7D reclined his seat after the meal service had ended,” the British Airways frequent flyer wrote. “CSM quickly appeared and asked 8D to calm down whilst trying to diffuse a very aggressive situation. He asked 7D to move to 6D which was vacant. Just a minute or two later 8D gets up and storms into the business cabin and then proceeds to scream again (including the F word) at 6D, and slapped the back of his seat several times and with enough force to cause 6D’s spectacles to fly off.”
The eyewitness reports that the captain eventually came back to the cabin to speak privately with the air rage victim. The inconsolable passenger with bruised knees was escorted from the plane by police upon landing. It seems that the outraged flyer only managed to trade the temporary discomfort of enduring a reclined seat for the lingering discomfort of explaining himself to law enforcement.
A disturbed passenger attempted to pull rank on a Delta Air Lines flight from San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) Wednesday Morning. Ordinarily, the pilot in command (PIC) is considered the ultimate authority when a plane is in flight, but this Worst Passenger of the Week appeared to have momentarily discovered a loophole in the command structure.
The passenger with something of a messiah complex had to be restrained after reportedly making the mother of all “don’t you know who I am?” claims and rushing the cockpit. The sacrilegious disruption forced the captain to return to Puerto Rico where Carlos Ramírez Rodríguez was unceremoniously removed from the plane.
“I am God,” the 30-year-old flyer with serious delusions of grandeur reportedly shouted as he rushed toward the flight deck. “Tomorrow San Juan is going to disappear. I came to save the world and I’m going to end terrorism.”
Delta officials released a statement praising “the quick action and professionalism of the crew” in resolving the episode safely with the help of passengers. Days after Rodríguez’s arrest, there is still little evidence yet indicating that San Juan has disappeared, terrorism has ended or that the world has been saved. On the other hand, Delta announced this week that economy class passengers on most international flights will receive complimentary welcome cocktails – so miracles do still happen.
[Featured Image: Pixabay]