Drunks on a Plane: The Top 10 Hottest Messes at 35,000FT

By The Flying Pinto

A guest post from Elyse Pasquale a.k.a. Foodie International:

The stress of traveling around the holidays can drive anyone to drink. Long lines at security, overbooked flights and the sometimes-tearful surrendering of oversized carry-ons are just a few contributing factors. A recent rise in bad behavior on airplanes (think episodes of crotch-grabbing, aisle-peeing and futile in-flight attempts to open the exit door) should make even the most experienced traveler think twice about tippling this holiday season. The lesson here is: don’t be these passengers. In honor of holiday travel: a look at the airline industry’s most infamous inebriates.

10. The Erotic Dancer: (August 26, 2011) A woman on a BMI flight from Moscow to London got drunk enough to let her freak flag fly. Channeling her inner exhibitionist, the inebriated passenger performed a one-woman erotic dance show, fondling other passengers and removing their eyeglasses. The live in-flight entertainment only lasted 15 minutes before the aircraft turned around and returned to Russia.

9. Those Crazy Ukrainians: (March 11, 2010) A DonbassAero flight from Simferopol to Kiev was boarded by police minutes before departure. According to Gadling, the flight attendants, the pilot and the flight engineer were arrested. For the record, that’s the entire crew. Every employee working the flight that morning had a blood alcohol level above .05% (more than two times the legal limit).

8. The Rule-Bender: (December 11, 2007) Though he technically never made it onto the aircraft, one genius decided to outwit airport security. When stopped at a German airport checkpoint with liquids (in this case, a one liter bottle of vodka) the man refused to surrender his purchase or pay a checked bag fee. Instead, the would-be passenger stood in the security line and chugged the entire bottle of vodka. He was soon incapacitated and was taken to a nearby hospital with severe alcohol poisoning.

7. The Wifebeater (December 2006) In 2008 An unusual court case surfaced. The Telegraph reported that a man traveling with his wife from Osaka, Japan to San Francisco got wasted on Burgundy wine and found out the hard way that he’s an angry drunk. As the couple proceeded through US immigrations, the man became irritable and smacked his wife across the face six times, prompting an arrest for domestic abuse. Claiming it wasn’t his fault the couple sued United Airlines for “negligently” over-serving the wine, causing the man to beat his wife.

6. The Golden Summer (June-August, 2011) Between late June and mid-August of this year, three separate passengers on three different airlines decided to get drunk and relieve themselves anywhere but the lavatory.

• June 27, 2011 An unknowing trendsetter on a Jetstar flight from Auckland to Singapore never located the lav. Instead, he decided to let it all out in the aisle, splashing several passengers including one man’s leg and a woman’s scarf.
• August 11, 2011 An 18-year old US ski team hopeful decided to get wasted before taking a Jet Blue flight from Portland, Oregon to New York and miscounted the distance to the lavatory when he turned and urinated on the leg of a sleeping 11-year old girl.
• August 17, 2011 French actor Gerard Depardieu brought celebrity status to the summer trend. Allegedly he was not drunk at the time, though some people claim that allegedly he was. Either way, BBC News reported he repeatedly announced, “Je veux pisser” and used a seatmate’s empty bottle until it overflowed onto the floor. First classy!

5. The Initiative-Taker: (July 4, 2008) A do-you-know-who-I-am drunken first class passenger traveling from New York to Guyana became infuriated that economy class passengers made it to the exit door (located behind him) before he did. Not to be outpaced by the unwashed masses, the passenger took initiative by opening the door closest to him. This activated the emergency slide, which the passenger then used to exit the aircraft and to enter handcuffs.

4. The Firestarter (June 18, 2008) A Delta passenger flying from Atlanta to Vienna, Austria drunkenly insisted he required more booze. Flight attendants disagreed, refusing to serve him. CNN reported that the man became enraged and slapped one flight attendant’s hand. He then produced a cigarette lighter and attempted to set the galley curtains on fire. Because that was going to get him another round.

3. The Charmer: (May 20, 2011) Wasted from weather delay boredom, a Delta passenger made the moves on his seatmate by falsely claiming he was a federal air marshal and in possession of gas canisters that could render the entire plane unconscious. He then began sparking a cigarette lighter by his wholly unimpressed seatmate’s knees. With quick thinking, she turned him in to the cabin crew, who were equally unimpressed with his sloppy seductions, diverting the flight to Memphis.

2. The Castaway: (June 29, 2005) Sometimes enough is enough. A passenger flying from Manchester, UK to the Canary Island of Tenerife became belligerent after his drink service was cut short by the crew. He cursed at flight attendants and passengers until the pilot had had enough, diverting the aircraft to a tiny (3-by-10 mile) island in the West African nation of Cape Verde. The abusive passenger was booted from the plane into the hands of local authorities. The aircraft then took off, continuing on its original course.

1. The Liquid Soap Lady: (April 29, 2009) A woman on a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to London used her fear of flying as an excuse to mix sleeping pills with several mini bottles of wine. After she was found with her feet up on the tray table kicking the seat in front of her, she was denied additional alcoholic beverages. This prompted the unruly passenger to remove a bottle of liquid soap from the lavatory and drink it at her seat. Apparently hand soap contains alcohol. When flight attendants tried to subdue her into handcuffs, the passenger punched, kicked and snapped like a dog, attempting to bite a crewmember’s leg. Once she sobered up, all she remembered of the flight was that she was unhappy about the quality of United’s wine. (psst: it was soap!) The Telegraph reports that when she spoke with FBI agents, her explanation was: “I sometimes do crazy things.”

Thanks Elyse! Wonder what stories we’ll be talking about after this holiday season! I have a feeling you’ll be updating your list:)  You’ll want to follow Elyse’s foodie adventures at her blog, FoodieInternational.com and join the discussion on Facebook and twitter. I’m a flight attendant and I live vicariously through her! Think lots of travel, a home base in NYC, and Tuscany, with great food thrown in…well mostly great food…check it out, you’ll quickly know what I mean!


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  1. […] Drunks on a Plane: The Top 10 Hottest Messes at 35,000FT The Flying Pinto | November 2011 “In honor of holiday travel: a look at the airline […]