The Stupidest Travelers of 2010
The year 2010 was a strange one in the world of travel, what with volcanoes closing down airports in Europe, UFOs closing down airports in China, and even honey jars closing down the airport in Bakersfield, California (the head-scratching airport security staff thought they were liquid explosives). But perhaps the stupidest airport shutdown was in Newark, New Jersey, when a Rutgers student slipped under a security rope to give his departing girlfriend one last kiss goodbye. Rappers, congressmen, Hollywood brats, Qatari diplomats and even crocodiles brought mayhem to the skies of the world in 2010. And don't even get us started on what Kim Kardashian did to the guy sitting next to her on one flight.
Larry Marano, Getty Images
10. How to Get Tasered in Two Easy Steps
In January 2010, 43-year-old Ohio resident Mansour Mohammad Asad was arrested and tased at the Miami Airport. Asad was tempting fate when he stood up on a Detroit-bound flight and happily exclaimed, "I'm a Palestinian and want to kill all the Jews!" The airplane promptly turned back to the gate, and Asad didn't help his cause any when he informed the officers, "I'm not afraid of you cops. I've gotten in fights with cops in Ohio and broke their arms in three places. I've broken skulls too!" Probably not the thing to divulge when you'd rather avoid the Taser and imprisonment.
9. "Don't you know who I am?"
Oh, the arrogance of youth -- and Hollywood actors. In December 2010, Transformers star and Fergie husband Josh Duhamel refused to turn off his Blackberry on a delayed New York to Kentucky flight, after being asked politely by the flight attendant three times to do so. Fellow passengers reported him being "very rude," and "mocking" and "taunting" to said flight attendant, who had the airplane turn around to expel the ungentlemanly passenger. This follows Duhamel's previous diva episode of ranting and raving at a gate agent in Newark after he arrived late for a flight and couldn't get on. He must have read the textbook on Hollywood temper tantrums, using the laughable "Don't you know who I am?" line and demanding that the gate agent "open up the door and let me on!" This was peppered with a number of unprintable f-bombs. What's the definition of stupidity again? Repeating the same thing twice and expecting different results?
Joe Epstein, AP
8. The Kiss That Closed an Airport
It may sound like the climax of a romance novel, but one goodbye kiss from a 28-year-old Rutgers student from China to his California-bound girlfriend closed Newark Airport's Terminal C for over six hours in January 2010. In the process, 16,000 passengers were stranded, 100 flights were delayed, and 27 others were canceled. When a guard temporarily left his post, Haisong Jiang ducked under a security rope and planted one last one on his honey. The not-so-bright doctoral student was ultimately fined $3,000 by the Transportation Security Administration and sentenced to 100 hours of community service. The kiss made international headlines with Chinese newspapers debating the romantic gesture, and an outraged New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg introducing legislation that would create a federal penalty of up to $10,000 and 10 years in prison for intentionally breaching airport security. Jiang's profound excuse for pursuing his romance across security lines? "I like her too much."
7. The Not-So-Friendly Skies
Some passengers just never pay attention to the onslaught of pre-flight announcements. So to reiterate a point, Former Gov. Mitt Romney kindly asked the passenger seated in front of his wife (on a flight from Vancouver's Olympic Games in February 2010) to return his seat to its upright position for takeoff. At least that's Romney's version of events. According to the passenger in front of him, Romney held his shoulder in a "Vulcan grip," when he slapped the Republican's hand and then took a swipe at his head. "He gave a good swat -- and broke my hair," the highly-gelled Romney joked on David Letterman. The offending passenger? Rapper Sky Blu from the band LMFAO. Blu was not arrested for the confrontation. The real mystery here is what both these "names" were doing sitting in economy? Times are indeed tough, for rappers and former presidential candidates alike.
6. The Curious Case of the Shirtless Shaver
How can shaving on a plane land you in the slammer for three months? When it's preceded by five bottles of wine and involves a naked torso and threats to the flight crew. On an Atlanta to San Francisco flight in January 2010, a 47-year-old Pakastani national who lives in Virginia downed five airplane-sized bottles of wine, placed his shoes and socks outside the lavatory door, took his shirt off, and began to shave. When encouraged by a flight attendant to free up the bathroom for other passengers, the man began yelling that she was "disrespecting" him. He then went on to grab a senior flight attendant by her arms and hands, releasing her only after a passenger interceded. A beverage cart was positioned to deal with the unruly shaver, who was still in the bathroom when the plane made an emergency landing. The excuse for his in-flight actions? A defense only a lawyer could conjure up: Muhammad Abu Tahir had been experiencing insomnia, was using the wine as a sedative, and had rarely consumed alcohol before. That combined with the plane's altitude led to his untoward behavior.
5. Worst Laid Plans
With all the high-tech drug detecting equipment nowadays (not to mention the presence of sniffing dogs), who in their right mind would try to waltz through an airport with two kilos of cocaine on their person? Ramon Feliz Florián, that's who. In September 2010, the 58-year-old was x-rayed at the Dominican Republic's Las Americas International Airport while attempting to board a flight to New York. Instead of swallowing the drugs in condoms like in the good ole' days, he decided to wrap bags of cocaine around his legs and stuff the rest in the soles of his tennis shoes. The pièce de résistance? Florián attempted to outwit authorities by wearing two leotards over the bags of drugs on his legs. Because everyone knows x-rays can't see through spandex.
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
4. Questionable Reading Material
Ever sat next to a passenger who's brought some stinky food on board, or has a persistent cough, or just can't stop talking about their grandchild? How about a passenger who proudly and openly thumbs through a Playboy magazine in front of everyone? It gets worse: The passenger in question is also a member of the House of Representatives. John Conyers (D-Mich.), a member of Congress since 1965, was not only caught perusing the girlie mag (for the articles, of course) in November 2010, but was actually videotaped by a fellow passenger doing so in July as well. And he was in an aisle seat, no less. Oh, and he's 81 years old.
3. Undiplomatic Behavior
You know all those signs that say there's no smoking in the airplane's bathroom, and that doing so is a felony? And those airport security signs about not joking about bombs? Evidently, foreign diplomats think they are immune from those rules. When one Qatari diplomat, identified as Mohammed al Modadi, took a flight from Washington D.C. to Denver in April 2010, he not only brazenly lit up in the airplane's lavatory, he then joked about it. When air marshals on board asked about the smell of smoke, the man identified himself as a diplomat from Qatar and snipped, "I'm trying to light my shoes on fire" (in reference to the shoe bomber of 2001). Well, the U.S. government was not amused. President Obama was briefed in flight on Air Force One and two F-16 fighter jets were sent to escort the passenger flight. However, al Modadi was not charged with anything. Guess diplomatic immunity is a free pass for flippantly committing felonies.
2. Croc on a Plane
If you've ever asked yourself if a crocodile could bring down an airplane (and who hasn't?), you now have your answer: an unequivocal yes. Even in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo, where airplane crashes are common, this one stands out as a doozie: On an August 2010 flight from the capital of Kinshasa to a regional airport at Bandundu, a passenger smuggled a live croc aboard in a sports bag. He was planning on selling the beast upon arrival, when fate intervened. The plan went off without a hitch until the last leg of the flight, when the animal escaped from his duffel prison and "went berserk." The flight attendant rushed for cover in the cockpit, quickly followed by the passengers, and despite the valiant efforts of the captain to steady the small Let L-410 Turbolet plane, it crashed into an unoccupied house just a few hundred feet from the airport. Everyone on board perished, save for one unnamed passenger, who recounted the bizarre story. Miraculously, the crocodile survived the crash. But worry not: There is justice in the universe. When rescuers sifted through the wreckage, the crocodile received the wrong end of a swift machete, ending its short-lived career as a terrorist of the air.
1. How to Out Someone at 30,000 feet
Taylor Hill, WireImage
Just when you thought in-flight WiFi would be the savior of excruciating flights, leave it to a Kardashian to quickly mess things up. Kim just couldn't keep her twittering thumbs still during a flight from New York to L.A. in February 2010. She joyfully tweeted: "I'm on the airplane...love wifi! I am sitting next to an Air Marshall [sic]! Jim the air marshall makes me feel safe!" We won't mention that the word is spelled "marshal," or that outing one is a major no-no for safety and security reasons. But hang on, how did she know he was an air marshal in the first place? A later tweet revealed: "Air Marshall's [sic] are supposed to keep their identity concealed. He did! I am just a private eye & assumed, so I asked him & he was honest!" So not only did he jeopardize his own job, he didn't notice she was tweeting even though she was sitting right next to him? We're not sure who wins the stupidest traveler award for this one -- an undercover air marshal dumb enough to reveal his identity to a famous celebrity, or a Kardashian who is clueless enough to broadcast the fact to the world via Twitter while still in flight.
More Articles You Might Like
- Top Travel Stories of 2010[AOL Travel]
- Air India Plane Plunges 7,000 Feet During Pilot's Bathroom Break[Huffington Post]
- Winter Cheer: 15 Fantastic Photos from America's Cold Spots[National Geographic]
- 6 Ways to Survive Holiday Travel[Reader's Digest]