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Worst Passenger of the Week

Worst Passenger of the Week: The Only True Failure is Giving Up

Worst Passenger of the Week: The Only True Failure is Giving Up
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 award, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory. Here are this week’s winners.

Honorable Mention – The Misguided Guide

A tour guide with the responsibility of helping Chinese tourists navigate the cultural nuances of travel in a foreign country set a remarkably bad example this week after he was deported upon arrival at Frankfurt Airport (FRA). If possessing “people skills” is still the number one qualification for becoming a travel guide, then it’s probably a good thing this group leader, who allegedly assaulted a flight attendant before ever setting foot in Europe, is now looking for another career.

The crabby tour guide reportedly responded violently when a Lufthansa cabin crew member asked him to vacate the aisle so that meal service could continue. According to media accounts, he instead “tore [the] flight attendant by the hair” and “grabbed her harshly by the arm.”

When the guide’s employer was made aware of the embarrassing incident, the poorly behaving guide was “fired on the spot.” To make matters worse for the recently unemployed tour guide, because he no longer held his job, his work visa was declared invalid and he was denied entry into the country. In addition to now facing criminal charges, the disgraced employee’s company declined to pay his airfare back home to Beijing.

Third Place – Sharing the Wealth

Trickle-down economics failed to help raise the quality of life for the less-fortunate on an American Airlines flight this week. A first class passenger who attempted to smuggle a few complimentary cocktails to his travel companions in the economy cabin was left behind at the gate when the plane departed for his trouble.

In fairness, it appears the gregarious premium cabin passenger had been pushing his luck quite a bit before he was eventually booted from the flight. The flyer reportedly insisted that his economy class companions join him when he took advantage of priority boarding and he then abused his status even further when he attempted to employ his first class closet privileges to store his travel mates’ excess baggage.

When the altruistic passenger ordered complimentary welcome drinks for his economy class friends, cabin crew members drew a line in the sand. It wasn’t until the traveler attempted an elaborate ruse involving text messages and a clandestine bathroom meeting in an attempt to smuggle alcoholic provisions to desperate passengers south of the cabin-divider-curtain that the passenger-plane-Robin-Hood was finally asked to deplane.

It appears that only the free-drink-dispensing humanitarian was kicked off the flight (not his companions). The ordeal seems to prove once and for all that no good deed goes unpunished.

The Runner-up – Out of Sight Out of Mind

Although rare, reports of passengers streaking down aisles of passenger planes are not entirely unheard-of. In fact, previous Worst Passengers of the Week earned their place in history for these exact type of antics in the past. It isn’t very often, however, that passengers and crew members opt to lock the immodest passenger out of sight in the lavatory for the remainder of the flight.

When a birthday suit-clad passenger suddenly started running down the aisle of a Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)-bound Alaska Airlines flight, fellow passengers decided that the exhibitionist passenger might be more comfortable if he had a little privacy and was physically invited to spend the rest of the journey in the privy.

If the unclothed air traveler thought that his antics had been forgotten when the plane landed about 20 minutes later – that would have been his second mistake of the day. After his fellow passengers disembarked, police officers arrived to escort the in-the-buff passenger from his private quarters in the aft of the plane.

According to local media reports, ANC Police and Fire Chief Jesse Davis termed the incident a “medical issue.” Davis said the flyer was taken to an area hospital and no charges were filed.

The Winner – A Totally Gonzo Plan

Anyone who has ever arrived late at the gate to catch a flight (even just a few seconds after the door is closed) will know that there is very little point in arguing with the gate agent. Once the boarding is closed, even the most eloquent debate points will likely fall on deaf ears. Although a tardy passenger’s attempt to talk their way onto a departing plane may be an exercise in futility, that doesn’t make the ad hoc plan from this Worst Passenger of the Week any better.

When the JetStar passenger at Melbourne Airport (MEL) was informed that he had missed his flight, he took a series of increasingly more drastic steps to get to his destination as scheduled. Afraid of being left behind, the agitated passenger allegedly pushed his way past a gate agent, ran onto the tarmac, up the stairs and futilely attempted to open the closed hatch on the aircraft.

The only thing these bold moves accomplished was escalating a customer service issue into a serious security emergency. The flyer ensured that there was no chance whatsoever of making it to his destination (or anywhere else besides jail) anytime in the near future.

There was, of course, no possible outcome to this ill-conceived plan that was going to end well for the tardy flyer. Even if he had managed to pry the aircraft hatch open, it’s not as if crew members were going to simply show him to his seat and taxi to the runway. This actually doesn’t really matter much in the long run anyway – it turns out the determined traveler was attempting to force his way on to the wrong plane.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (2)


  1. ExGateAgt

    May 19, 2018 at 3:50 am

    I had this happen to me…..I was working a gate (DL at ATL), when a Mexican gentleman came up to the gate and inquired in extremely broken English about his flight. I told him (in my extreme broken Spanish) about 20 minutes. The time went by and as soon as we pushed back the 727, he came up to the counter, and said something like “Where is my plane?” I pointed out on the ramp where the 727 was still hooked up to the tug. He suddenly went thru the ramp door (setting off alarms, of course) and went running after the plane. I went out the same door, caught up with him and brought him back the gate podium. I re-booked him on the next flight. Crazy things happen, and I have to admit this was one of the craziest I experienced as a Gate Agent……

  2. gurgaonguesthouse

    June 1, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    I was working a gate (DL at ATL), when a Mexican gentleman came up to the gate and inquired in extremely broken English about his flight.

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