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.
Other than the giant sign warning of “SEVERE TIRE DAMAGE,” suspected car thieves at a Denver International Airport (DEN) car rental outlet had no way of knowing that their unauthorized exit would trigger a tried-and-true anti-theft device, foiling their dreams of grand larceny. Likewise, without a background in law enforcement, the suspects couldn’t possibly have foreseen that driving two stolen cars to an airport parking area (each on four flat tires) might capture the attention of airport police.
When officers approached the suspects at the airport’s Pikes Peak parking lot, the pair of car thieves would have never been able to guess (without years of legal training) that shooting at the police would instantly make the crime of sneaking off with two rental cars the least among the now pressing concerns for these misfit partners-in-crime. And unless one of these master criminals had somehow heard of the 9/11 terrorist attacks through the internet, a newspaper, the radio or a television at some point over the last decade, they never could have ever predicted that firing weapons, eventually injuring and violently carjacking an innocent passenger at a major U.S. airport might just invite the nearly unlimited resources of the federal government into the investigation.
On the other hand, despite their cruelty and bumbling, the two suspects still remained at large nearly two days later.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a U.K. citizen was arrested upon arrival in the U.S. at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) this week. Officers say that Thomas Kindeya had a more than decade old active arrest warrant in Connecticut related to felony sexual assault charges.
In February of 2003, the now 47-year-old was reportedly arrested on four counts of sexual assault and nine counts of risk of injury in Meriden, Connecticut. Sometime later, he allegedly fled the country – not returning to the U.S. at any point in the intervening years. While Kindeya remained an overseas fugitive from justice, a warrant for his arrest remained active in the U.S.
Perhaps Kindeya thought that after 15 years, law enforcement had forgotten about his alleged crimes. Perhaps he believed that because he entered the U.S. in Maryland, he wouldn’t be bothered about felony charges in Connecticut. Maybe the fugitive was, in fact, a little nervous about his prospects at the border, but was reassured when no red flags were raised during his brief layover in Iceland along the way. Or maybe he just thought he got away with it.
CBP officers had other ideas, however (along with legendary patience and a long institutional memory).
“This arrest illustrates Customs and Border Protection’s close collaboration with our law enforcement partners to return an allegedly dangerous fugitive to justice,” Baltimore Field Office Director Casey Durst announced this week. “I am extremely proud of the work that CBP officers are doing at the ports of entry to detect and apprehend wanted fugitives; their actions help to keep our communities and citizenry safe.”
A disruptive passenger was arrested this week after an overnight flight from Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) to Orlando International Airport (MCO) was forced to divert to Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport (OKC). The allegedly intoxicated passenger was restrained with zip ties after reportedly head-butting a flight attendant who refused to serve him an additional alcoholic beverage.
“Delta applauds the quick action and professionalism of the crew of Delta flight 2603 operating from Salt Lake City to Orlando which diverted to Oklahoma City after a customer became unruly and violent on board,” an airline spokesperson told reporters in a statement. “The crew restrained the customer and the flight was met by law enforcement in Oklahoma City, where he was removed and taken into custody. The flight continued to Orlando, arriving two hours past schedule. The safety and security of our customers and crew are always Delta’s top priority.”
According to media reports, however, the passenger in question is said to have arrived on the plane in an already-inebriated state and continued to drink onboard. Eyewitnesses say that after being initially denied an additional drink, the disruptive passenger promised to fall asleep if he was served. The flight attendant reportedly relented, but once served, the agitated flyer apparently forgot the bargain he struck.
Police in Oklahoma City described Derek Edward Maas as having a “nearly overpowering” odor of alcohol on his breath. Officers say the 28-year-old later told them that “he wished he was black so that we would just shoot him and he could film it and show the world about the unfairness.”
Walt Whitman wrote, “We ran as if to meet the moon, That slowly dawned behind the trees.” This Worst Passenger of the Week, by contrast, was tackled by police trying to catch a Ryanair budget flight to Amsterdam – he had no business at all bringing the moon into it.
Police say when Patrick Kehoe arrived at the gate to find he had just missed his flight from Dublin Airport (DUB) to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) this week, he took extreme and ill-advised measures to be allowed onboard the departing aircraft. The 23-year-old is accused of pushing past airline employees, breaking a security door and running onto the tarmac. Kehoe is said to have nearly reached the departing aircraft while yelling “Wait! Wait!” and flagging down the pilot before airport workers could tackle the determined tourist.
Rather than enjoying any cultural and historically significant points of interest in Amsterdam, the unemployed traveler was instead taken into custody, later being released on cash bail (which likely exceeded the price of his airfare by several hundred dollars). He was initially charged only with damage caused to the airport door, but prosecutors told a judge that other more serious charges could be forthcoming.
After leaving the courthouse, the stubborn flyer at first hid his face from photographers in shame, but in keeping with a growing history of spectacularly bad decisions, the tardy passenger soon dropped his pants and mooned the reporters following his unfolding cautionary tale of entitlement and cheap airfare.