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.
A passenger’s increasingly “disturbing behavior” on a Seattle—Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)—bound flight forced the captain to make an unscheduled stop at Portland International Airport (PDX) this week.
The disoriented flyer reportedly began behaving erratically almost as soon as the Compass Air flight was airborne. He tossed his carry-on bag around the cabin saying that it didn’t belong to him, accused a fellow passenger of having a gun, then paced the aisle in-between attempts to reach the front of the aircraft.
The attempts on the cockpit were the final straw and the pilot turned the plane around. When they landed, police say, a fellow passenger “used his body weight to physically block [the passenger] from leaving his seat” until authorities arrived. The out-of-control passenger is now facing a slew of state and federal charges including “menacing, disorderly conduct” and “interfering with a fight crew.”
There are worse places to spend a few hours than the JetBlue T5 gates at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). On a snowy Tuesday morning, passengers could be seen killing time nibbling croissants in a French Cafe or studying the menu at the tony chop house in the “grand hall.”
The Worst passenger who used the family assistance restroom to sneak a cigarette, however, could have ruined the experience for the airport’s most vulnerable passengers. While the relative privacy of the special needs toilet may greatly decrease the chances of being caught violating the airport’s no smoking policy, the chances of opening the bathroom door in a cloud of smoke only to see an elderly passenger in an oxygen-tank-equipped-wheelchair or parents with a newborn baby waiting to use the specially designed restroom should probably be an effective deterrent to using the handicapped facility as an ashtray.
For this particular Worst passenger candidate, however, addiction appears to have trumped common courtesy.
Is there anyone out there who still doesn’t know that joking about a bomb on a commercial airline flight is a very bad idea? Apparently, the answer to this question is always an emphatic “yes, yes there is.” In this case, it was a 53-year-old passenger flying on an Air Canada flight who dropped an unfortunate one-liner resulting in her almost immediate arrest.
According to media reports, the Canadian would-be comedian allegedly responded to a flight attendant searching for the owner of a misplaced carry-on bag with the punchline, “There’s a bomb in it.” Police say the suspect’s travel companion warned her “not to joke around,” but it was already too late. The crew member alerted the captain, who ordered the aircraft evacuated and summoned the bomb squad. Arrest reports indicate that she was later booked into jail on charges of “making a false report of a bomb.”
This week’s Worst Passenger might not have technically been an actual airline passenger, but she certainly seemed to believe she was at Orlando International Airport (MCO) to catch a flight. According to police, 38-year-old Angela McNaughton parked her pickup truck in front of the departures terminal before ordering a skycap to park her vehicle and check her in for her flight.
Things started to really go wrong when the airport worker informed her that he could not find any reservations in her name. The irate (and possibly un-ticketed) passenger allegedly cleared her first obstacle by simply telling the airport worker to “have the f**king thing towed,” before heading to the Southwest ticket counter to raise hell.
At some point, McNaughton decided to take matters into her own hands and attempted to access the terminals through the “Known Crew Member” entrance at the TSA security checkpoint. When challenged by a TSA screener, she is said to have shouted, “I know my rights.” Moments later, a knife appeared and police were alerted that there was a “security breach” at the checkpoint.
When officers arrived, McNaughton reportedly remained determined to board her real or imagined flight despite the utter incompetence she faced at the airport. Eyewitnesses say she cursed at the police offers who were forced to pursue her and even demanded that responding officers help her with her carry-on items. Although the cops were unable to help sort her reservations or assist with gate-checking her personal items, officers were eventually able to offer her direct service to jail after first managing to subdue this especially demanding customer with a taser gun.