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Worst Passenger of the Week: The Photogenic Flight Attendant OR the Passenger Who Tattled on Her

Worst Passengers of the Week - 05/29/15

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.

Third Place — John Rambo in Economy Class

Cipriano de Guzman (PHOTO: Manila International Airport Authority)

Sometimes, there is a good reason for the rest of the world to accuse Americans of acting like Rambo. The peculiar case of Cipriano de Guzman is definitely one of those reasons.

The American attempting to fly from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in the Philippines this week was found in possession of a live grenade and a large knife. The weapons were found in Cipriano de Guzman’s backpack during a routine X-ray screening at the airport’s security checkpoint. Now, the tourist who took his jungle adventure way too seriously, is facing an entirely different type of adventure.

“It is a case of illegal possession of an explosive device and illegal possession of a sharp object,” Philippine National Police spokesperson Col. Ricardo Layug told CNN. “He definitely cannot leave the country. He has to face the charges.”

Much like the Rambo of film, Cipriano de Guzman will not be able to rely on special forces or air support for rescue. Instead, he will have to depend on a diplomatic solution to his predicament. The US Embassy in Manila has been made aware of the bizarre international incident.

The Runner-up — The Unruly Mob at the Gate

Travelers Frustrated by Air India in Mumbai (Photo: Mid-Day)

There are very few good options when a flight is delayed and information from the airline is slow in coming. Raising your voice will get you nowhere. Even the most charming and charismatic passenger is lucky to get a meal voucher or a sympathetic smile.

A group of Air India passengers decided to organize instead.

Roughly 50 passengers suffering a delayed connection at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai, put up a united front in an ad hoc act of civil disobedience. The group began chanting and “shouting slogans against the national carrier, protesting against the lack of communication.”

Unfortunately, the civil disobedience in the early morning hours at Terminal 2 did not remain completely civil. Airport officials say the outraged crowd became unruly and disrupted operations at the busy international airport.

Airport officials put the blame for the mob scene squarely on the airline, telling reporters, “Air India security failed to manage their passengers, as 50 started protesting against the airline.”

Air India says the flight was delayed while the airline waited for a crew to arrive on a separate flight which was also behind schedule, adding that passengers were delayed for no more than two hours.

The Winner — The Photogenic Flight Attendant OR the Passenger Who Tattled on Her

Flight Attendant Ericka Paige Diehl (Photo: Ericka Paige Diehl via Yahoo)

There is a long tradition of flight crew members taking photographs while perched in the cowling that covers jet engines. Social media outlets are packed with images of pilots, flight attendants and ground crews posing for the iconic shot. Airlines have even used similar shots in past promotional campaigns.

Spirit Airlines flight attendant Ericka Paige Diehl, however, may have picked the wrong time to update her Facebook profile with the traditional pose.

Mostly it was the wrong time because the world’s most passive-aggressive passenger was watching the whole thing go down. The alert passenger contacted a local television station to inquire whether the photo op was “part of a new preflight checklist.” The observant traveler also provided producers with the crew member’s name, and said traveler could arguably be the true Worst Passenger of the Week depending on how you look at this incident. Were they a pot stirrer or a concerned flyer?

Though a view of crew members taking selfies on the ramp might not be the picture of professionalism, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that the tattling passenger was confused for even a moment about whether the photo shoot was part of a preflight checklist. It seems even less likely that the local news station would be the first place to bring innocent curiosity about new preflight safety procedures.

The nosy passenger not only learned that posing for pictures on the ramp is not a new FAA-mandated procedure, but also managed to get Diehl in hot water with her employer, with Spirit stating: “The activity portrayed in the photo absolutely goes against Spirit policy.”

Industry insiders, however, are rushing to Diehl’s defense. “The photo of the flight attendant in the engine isn’t a problem,” Heather Poole, flight attendant and best-selling author of Cruising Altitude, tweeted in support of Diehl. “We all take them.” Poole is just one of the numerous flight attendants who have tweeted supportive photos of themselves in poses similar to Diehl’s alongside the hashtag #StewsForEricka.


[Photos: Manila International Airport Authority; Mid-Day; Ericka Paige Diehl via Yahoo]

Comments are Closed.
kirkwoodj May 31, 2015

This wouldn't have been in an issue for the FA if she'd paid Spirit the requisite $25 fee for "cowling photo".

AussieOzzie May 30, 2015