Every Friday, Cpi-Web 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.
The makers of Stella Artois have struggled to overcome an image problem and a can of the Belgian-made brew photographed on the control panel of a Jet2 plane that had just arrived at Birmingham Airport (BHX) from Alicante–Elche Airport (ALC) in Spain isn’t going to help matters. Likewise, Jet2 officials are now finding themselves in a similar position of trying to control online rumors and innuendos.
Stella Artois earned the unwanted nickname “wife beater” among some drinkers in the UK, ostensibly because much like ubiquitous, sleeveless white undershirts in the US, the product always seems to be around when there’s trouble. Mindful of this example and eager to avoid a reputation that its pilots might sometimes enjoy a beer or two in the cockpit, Jet2 is taking pains to nip the rampant speculation in the bud.
“Upon further investigation of the photograph, we can confirm that it is an unopened can which had been handed to a member of our cabin crew by a customer when they were leaving the aircraft,” airline officials explained. Still, a beer can (unopened or not) sitting on top of flight control with the Jet2 logo clearly visible, provides just the sort of image that is difficult for the internet to resist.
Both domestic violence and airline pilots drinking on the job are serious matters and not something any multinational enterprise wants to be associated with in any way. Like unflattering nicknames, however, viral images of booze on a flight deck aren’t soon forgotten by the public. So, if a passenger feels compelled to reward a flight crew for a job well done, an alcoholic beverage might not be the best choice in parting gifts.
A passenger who reportedly arrived at the gate with an invalid boarding pass turned a difficult situation into a major security incident with only a few carelessly thought out words. A woman, said to be in her fifties, was denied boarding on a British Airways flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) because of an apparent problem with her ticket.
What happened next made international headlines.
Upset that she was not allowed on the short flight across the English Channel, the woman allegedly promised that if the flight took off without her, it would “explode.” Coming just hours after a terrorist bomb attack on the London Underground, the threat was taken very seriously.
Heavily armed anti-terror forces quickly sounded the aircraft. Passengers were then led from the flight one-by-one as bomb detection dogs combed the plane, passengers and cargo.
“Apparently an individual has made a direct threat to this aircraft,” passenger James Anderson tweeted along with video of paramilitary forces surrounding the plane. “Every single person and every single item of baggage was searched,” Anderson later wrote. “That took around an hour.”
The flight was delayed for about three hours. When authorities were satisfied that there were no explosives onboard, the plane was allowed to make the less than an hour-long trip to LHR. Meanwhile, the disgruntled passenger who started the nerve-wracking series of events saw her gambit backfire dramatically. Not only did she still miss her flight to London, she was arrested by French authorities who don’t appear to be taking the matter at all lightly.
By all accounts, an EasyJet flight from Manchester Airport (MAN) to Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK) this week was quite a wild scene, but the actions of one passenger in particular turned into a huge party pooper. The captain was forced to divert the flight to Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS).
“The whole experience was awful,” a passenger on the flight later told reporters. “The amount of noise coming from the drunken people felt like we were going to Ibiza or somewhere like that – not what you’d expect on a plane to Marrakech.”
While there was clearly plenty of revelry going on during the flight, the passenger who reportedly caused the unscheduled overnight stop in Portugal was guilty of far worse than a simple party foul. Eyewitnesses say the allegedly intoxicated flyer launched into a series of racist rants before violently attacking at least one crew member.
When the office holiday party comes to an abrupt end because someone from accounting has a bit too much to drink and puts a lampshade on their head, it can put a damper on the evening. In the case of passengers aboard EZ1891, however, the results were much more unpleasant.
The festive atmosphere on the plane quickly evaporated as it became clear that a major delay was in store for all involved. Passengers say they were not only forced to spend the night well short of their destination, but some unlucky flyers say that the accommodations provided by the airline were more than an hour away from the airport.
It seems that the abusive behavior of a single passenger inconvenienced 200 fellow air travelers, but in this case there is plenty of blame to go around. Some on the flight say that the already intoxicated troublemaker was invited to share drinks with another group of rambunctious, merry-making passengers in the cabin shortly before the trouble started.