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Worst Passenger of the Week: The Too Timid Tiny-Turtle Trafficker

Worst Passenger of the Week: The Too Timid Tiny-Turtle Trafficker
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.

Third Place – The Call of CUN

Traveling to Mexico isn’t nearly as easy on the wallet as it was just a few short years ago, but thrifty tourists can still find bargains if they know where to look. Still, holidaymakers headed that direction might want to plan on spending a bit more hard earned cash on their next resort vacation.

On the other hand, a passenger at Cancun International Airport (CUN) has some explaining to do after way over-budgeting for a South-of-the-border getaway. The unidentified flyer was taken into custody this week after officials discovered more than $300,000 in cash in the traveler’s luggage.

According to Federal Police, the passenger’s bags allegedly contained a number of airline tickets along with large denomination bills in several different currencies. Officials say $293,000 USD, $600 CAD, €5,700 EUR and 300 Swiss francs were seized following a routine search of the arriving passenger’s belongings. The flyer was reportedly unable to produce any documentation that would allow the large sum of money to be legally brought into the country.

Police say the suspect was scheduled to make a connecting flight to Monterrey International Airport (MTY) after arriving at Mexico’s second busiest international airport. At last report, the subject was arrested and is being interrogated by the rather ominous sounding Agent of the Public Ministry of the Federation.

The Runner-up – The Old Man in Seat C

Much as in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” an Air Canada passenger this week made up his mind that he was going to get his fish at any cost. Unfortunately, (spoiler) this story too, it seems, ends in broken dreams.

Unlike the classic solitary battle between man and nature, this business class passenger managed to drag a plane full of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)-bound travelers into his unfolding drama. In this case, the epic struggle to land a coveted fish resulted in a more than five-hour-long delay.

Fellow flyers report that the stubborn seafood aficionado became incensed when he was told that fish was not among the inflight dining options. Despite the fact that there was apparently no fish on the plane at all, the irate customer (who claimed to be unable to eat meat or wheat) dug his heels in with a single-minded resolve.

“He was very calm and was like, ‘If I don’t get fish, there will be a problem. One way or another, I will get my fish, either you serve it to me or I will serve it to myself,’” one eyewitness on the flight later told reporters.

When the insistent passenger allegedly became aggressive, the captain made the decision to return to the gate. The passenger was removed from the plane without incident and was presumably able to order a Filet-O-Fish (with no bun, tartar sauce on the side) in the airport terminal. Unfortunately, because the flight crew had reached their allowable hours by this point, the flight was delayed for several hours until a new crew became available.

The Winner – The Most Dangerous Shell Game

(Source: Bureau of Customs NAIA/ Facebook)

Luggage containing more than 1,500 rare and exotic turtles was discovered abandoned at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport(MNL). Officials say many of the tiny turtles rescued are considered “vulnerable species” by conservationists.

According to police, hundreds of turtles had been wrapped in duct tape and hidden in four suitcases which arrived on a flight from Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). Authorities say the turtles, including endangered red-footed and African spurred tortoises, were likely intended to be sold illegally as pets.

Government officials have a theory as to why the cruel turtle trafficker involved may have gotten cold feet upon arrival. According to a spokesperson, the illegal import of protected turtles can result in fines of up to $4,000 and more than one year behind bars.

“The passenger may have been informed of the vigilance of Bureau of Customs against illegal wildlife trade and its penalties, thus leaving the four X-rayed luggage unclaimed in the arrival area,” the Philippine Bureau of Customs agency said in a statement on social media.

Customs officials have indicated that while the abandoned turtle-laden-bags was a unique find, such activities are by no means rare. In 2018, the agency reports finding a total of 560 endangered species including 250 geckos among arriving cargo. Already this year, officers interdicted 63 iguanas, a chameleon and a number of bearded dragons, in addition to the recent bale of turtles.

[Source: Shutterstock]

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1 Comment

  1. browell


    March 9, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Something ain’t right… International flight, baggage match requirement, 4-6 passport checks, and you’re telling me you can’t figure out who put 4 suitcases on the flight? I’m calling BS.

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