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Worst Passenger of the Week: the Turbulence Made Me Do It!

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 – Yet Another Hilarious Network Name Diverts Another Flight

As far as clever wireless network names go, “Bomb on Board” is nowhere near as amusing as “Drop it Like it’s Hotspot” or “FBI Surveillance Van #368,” but when a passenger used the explosive moniker for a mobile hotspot while aboard a Turkish Airlines flight from Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) to Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST), the nonsensical name earned way more attention than intended. As soon as crew members became aware of the smart aleck and vaguely threatening network name, the captain decided to make an unscheduled landing at Khartoum International Airport (KRT) out of an abundance of caution.

The aircraft remained on the ground until after the plane, cargo and luggage were thoroughly searched and 100 passengers on the flight could be re-screened by airport security. It is not clear if the passenger responsible for the unnecessary delay was ever identified by authorities.

“Experts said the Wi-Fi network in question was created on board,” Turkish Airlines officials said in a statement about the absurd chain of events. “No irregularities were seen after security procedures were carried out, and passengers were brought back on the plane once boarding restarted.”

The disconcerting incident this week caused by a passenger’s inappropriately named wifi network is just the latest in a string of questionable network names chosen by flyers whose skewed senses of humor soon resulted in major security incidents. In May, a network named “Jihadist Cell London 1” caused a Thomson Airways flight from Cancún International Airport (CUN) to London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to be delayed and eventually canceled when the culprit declined to fess up. A year earlier, a personal wireless network named “Mobile Detonation Device” caused a Qantas Airlines flight from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) to Perth Airport (PER) to be delayed for three hours and in 2014, an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to London was delayed for several hours after a passenger discovered a wifi network named “Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork.”

The Runner-up – Just Hold it in for Chrissakes!

Anyone who has ever packed the family into the car and started a six-hour road trip only to have to have to make an immediate pitstop because little Rusty didn’t remember to use the #$%@! bathroom before leaving the house, will have some sympathy for the captain of a Delta Air Lines flight that had to make an unscheduled landing for a bathroom emergency of sorts. The flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SEA) was forced to divert to Billings Logan International Airport (BIL) when toilets on the Boeing 757 stopped working and more than a few passengers desperately needed to “powder their noses” before reaching SEA.

In defense of those passengers who just couldn’t hold it anymore, the flight time for the JFK-SEA flight was listed at just under six-and-a-half-hours. On the other hand, if they could have held out just a bit longer, the flight time from BIL to SEA comes in at a little more than two-and-a-half hours.

A Delta Air Lines incident report highlights both the absurdity and the urgency of the unplanned stop. “All toilets were full and passengers needed to ‘go really bad,’” the report explains, adding that several passengers “needed to find a lavatory very urgently” and that stairs were quickly requested so distressed passengers could immediately “disembark to find relief of built-up pressures.”

According to airport officials, some very uncomfortable passengers were escorted to the terminal where they were free to do their business. In the meantime, the plane’s lavatories were serviced before the plane departed for Seattle (presumably so that the flight didn’t have to stop again in Spokane).

The Winner – The Dirty Old Man in the Next Seat Over

An unsavory septuagenarian is accused of making a United Airlines passenger’s flight from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) a living hell this week. According to media reports, the 73-year-old man allegedly groped and placed his hands between the legs of a female seat mate.

Eyewitnesses say the accuser, who is said to be in her 30’s, did not suffer the abusive sexual contact quietly. After she reportedly made a completely appropriate scene following an unwelcome assault by a stranger, flight attendants stepped in to separate the woman from the man that she claimed had abused her.

According to passengers on the flight, police boarded the plane soon after it landed at CLT and the male passenger was escorted from the aircraft by officers before other passengers were allowed to disembark. The FBI has since taken over the investigation and United Airlines officials say they are working with federal authorities to get to the bottom of the disturbing incident.

Second only to the horrific nature of the accused abuse is the feeble excuse this Worst Passenger of the Week gave for his actions. According to one television news report, the accused sexual predator initially told investigators that his hand merely fell on the victim’s lap “due to turbulence.”

Passenger Sherrell Ealy, for one, doesn’t buy it, especiallyy considering the heated onboard confrontation. “I’m sure a woman knows the difference between a hand hitting her versus being groped,” she told ABC News after the flight landed in Charlotte.

The investigation into Tuesday evening’s in-flight events is said to still be ongoing. As of Friday morning, no arrests have been made in connection with the probe.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
Mordor2112 December 12, 2017

Diversions and cancelled flights on account of silly WiFi SSIDs? Geez, can these reactions be any more ridiculous and incompetent? So the airport security and luggage handlers didn't spot anything, but wait, there's a SSID spilling the beans! It must be true!

Sydneyberlin December 11, 2017

Couldn't agree more with htb on the second point: That is quite a long flight and you can expect working toilets as a minimum "amenity" on a plane. Could have checked and repaired those toilets BEFORE that flight!

htb December 10, 2017

This thing with the WiFi names is simply ridiculous. Ridiculous on the side of the airlines. I just don't see a scenario where sneak an explosive device through security only to disclose its presence afterwards. And wait until we're back on the ground before igniting it. I would be very upset with the airline. As for the second incident: I don't see any bad passengers. If the airline can not provide toilets in a six hour flight, they will have to carry the consequences. HTB.