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Don’t be that guy: 6 unbelievable tales of fliers behaving badly

obnoxious airline passenger bad passengers
Sony Pictures Classics
It’s no secret that flying is as much fun as having a root canal done. Driving miles to the airport, standing in long check-in lines, waiting in even longer security lines, and hoping your flight leaves on-time – the frustration starts even before you board a plane. For most of us, it’s just the normal everyday of travel, but for some, modern-day flying is just too much to handle. It seems like not a day goes by without news of a passenger flipping out or behaving badly.

Although the headlines are great for a morning laugh, some events are so crazy that it’s unbelievable they happened at all. Some recent incidents include a woman stowing her child in carry-on luggage, and fliers getting into a fight over loud music.

Look, we get it: Unless you’re flying in fancy class, it’s aggravating to sit in a giant tube with hundreds of annoying people. Before you stand up and shout, though, here are a few examples of what not to do.

(Les Shu contributed to this article.)

Flight number 1 | Baby on board | Words with Alec Baldwin

Flight number 1

Last month, a man on board an Air Meditarranee flight caused a ruckus when he allegedly peed on another passenger. This was after he was reportedly upset because he was told he couldn’t smoke (no brainer) or drink alcohol during the flight – not to mention he was somehow shirtless, to boot. The pee’er and the peed-on wound up in a fight, ending with flight attendants pinning down the perpetrator. The Paris-bound aircraft diverted to Lyon, France, where both men were escorted off by police.

This bizarro incident is not an isolated case of inflight urination, however. In September 2015, a man relieved himself onto passengers in front of him during a Portland, Oregon-bound JetBlue flight. Adding insult to injury, the man lost his balance during mid-pee and showered onto passengers next to him. And, in 2011, French actor Gerard Depardieu was kick off a flight after being told he couldn’t use the lavatory until airborne, but decided to do it anyway. Depardieu forced the plane to return to the gate, and delaying other fliers while the plane was cleaned. Someone please revoke his green card.

Baby on board

(Air France)
(Air France)

French police are currently investigating the case of a child, possibly between two- and four-years-old, found inside a passenger’s carry-on bag onboard an Air France flight on March 9. The airline said the child, who was traveling with the adult female from Istanbul to Paris, did not have a valid airline ticket, and was reported by other passengers who witnessed the kid emerging from the bag. The Agence-France Presse (AFP) reports the woman was in the process of adopting the child, who is from Haiti, and had been denied boarding with the child on another flight. Officials arrested the woman at the scene once the flight arrived in Paris.

As sad as this incident of child-endangerment sounds, there have been others who have tried to smuggle humans inside luggage. In May 2015, customs officials found a young boy inside a bag as it went through X-ray. It’s believed the woman was a “carrier” who was paid to bring the child from the Ivory Coast into Spain, via Morocco. Had the boy not been discovered, he could have eventually suffocated. Two months prior, a single-mother from Papa New Guinea tried to smuggle her baby inside a backpack, only to be caught when the rucksack went through scanners at the international airport in the Philippines. And, in June 2011, a man hid himself inside a suitcase at Barcelona’s airport not to hitch a flight, but to make his way to the luggage compartment and rob the bags.

Words with Alec Baldwin

It’s not just folks in coach who cause drama. Actor Alec Baldwin caused an aviation brouhaha in 2011 when his addiction to Words with Friends forced him off an American Airlines flight, after violating the rule where passengers must turn off their electronic devices. It seems Baldwin was too busy playing the once-uber-popular game, according to his tweet, and refused to comply with a flight attendant’s request. While it sounds like a scene ripped right out of his show, 30 Rock, the situation was very real.

Despite being rebooked on another AA flight, Baldwin continued to hurl criticism toward the airline, but did write an apology to the passengers he inconvenienced, including former president and COO of MTV Networks, Michael J. Wolf, who witnessed the incident. If only Baldwin had waited until 2013, when the FAA relaxed its rule on using small electronics during take-off and landing.

Baldwin should have just done what his 30 Rock character, Jack Donaghy, would have: charter a private jet. For the rest of us, it’s best to heed the instructions from the flight crew, even if it prevents you from reaching level 266 in Candy Crush (yeah, we’re still playing it).

In-flight karaoke | Playing DJ | Getting fresh air

In-flight karaoke

In 2013, a New York-bound American Airlines flight from Los Angeles made an emergency landing in Kansas City due to a disruptive passenger. The misdemeanor? A woman reportedly wouldn’t stop singing aloud to Whitney Houston songs. Unfortunately for the diva, the passengers included Air Marshals, who arrested her in-flight after refusing to cooperate, i.e. shutting up. She continued to sing as she was led off the plane; I Will Always Love You was her favorite tune.

Playing DJ

Some people celebrate a landing with an applause. For two passengers on a Spirit Airlines flight, however, it meant blasting some music. On March 9, a catfight broke out among five women after two of them, who appeared to be intoxicated, refused to stop playing music through a portable speaker. The fight erupted shortly after the flight landed in Los Angeles, as the plane was making its way to the gate. The women were asked to turn the music down, but instead of complying, the two provoked the other passengers by raising the speaker in the air, said Spirit spokesman, Paul Berry, who confirmed the incident to CNN.

Law enforcement officials, including the FBI, greeted the five brawlers at the gate; the women got off lucky and weren’t charged.

Fights breaking out in a plane is not unusual, however, and sometimes they involve the flight crew. On February 2, a Minneapolis-Los Angeles Delta Air Lines flight had to make an emergency landing in Salt lake City after flight attendants entered into fisticuffs. And, in 2014, a gadget known as the Knee Defender, which restricts the front seat from reclining, caused some air rage between a United Airlines flight attendant and a passenger who refused to remove the device.

Getting fresh air

(Daily Mail)
(Daily Mail)

For some reason, fliers in China have a tendency to open plane doors. Perhaps it’s the nasty air pollution they have to deal with? Recently, on March 10, a passenger on a China Southern flight from Chengu to Urumqi attempted to open an emergency door; luckily, the incident occurred before take-off (in case you were wondering, the doors cannot be opened while in-flight). The passenger’s reason was that he wanted some fresh air, and couldn’t open his window. This incident occurred just two months after a woman tried to open a door in mid-flight; the passenger was restrained after threatening to commit suicide.

Last year, passengers opened three emergency doors of a China Eastern plane after getting antsy from a three-hour delay. Two were arrested: a tour guide for inciting disorder and a man who did the actual opening of the doors. In 2014, a man was arrested after opening an emergency door so that he could deplane faster. (There’s way too many such incidents to list here.)

China is well-known for its unruly fliers, and it’s not just opening of plane doors: A Chinese passenger on a Thai AirAsia flight scalded a flight attendant with a cup of hot noodles because she couldn’t sit next to her boyfriend.

However, bad behavior can happen anywhere, and it’s not just Chinese fliers. Last November, an intoxicated passenger on a Boston-bound British Airways plane tried to open one of the emergency exit doors, while a German flier on India’s Jet Airways actually opened a door as a prank; fortunately for the passengers, the plane was already parked. And, in 2011, a man was arrested for attempting to open a door on a Delta Orlando-Boston flight.

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