Three words: Duct Tape Guy. The now-infamous, awkward photo of an Icelandair passenger's drunken inflight incident is making the rounds all over the Internet. Multiple sources reported that on a flight Thursday from Reyjkavik to New York, a man became drunk and dangerously belligerent. The crew restrained him with the help of other passengers using plastic ties and duct tape. The resulting photo went viral.
There must be something strange in the air -- literally -- this week. On Friday, just one day after the Icelandair affair, the culprit was a plastered American Eagle pilot who allegedly turned up for work smelling like Eau de Booze. He boarded the plane scheduled to fly from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to New York City's LaGuardia Airport and began performing standard preflight checks when he was apprehended by airport police, given a breathalyzer test and subsequently arrested.
You can try and blame it on the post-holiday blues. Long lines at security, overbooked flights and the sometimes-tearful surrendering of oversized carry-ons are just a few contributing stress factors during the most hectic travel time of the year. But really, there's no excuse for abhorrent inflight behavior (think episodes of crotch-grabbing, job-quitting and futile in-flight attempts to open the exit door). Not only is this your fast track to federal prison, you'll most likely cause a ripple effect of flight delays and heightened security. No one likes drunks on a plane, so don't be Duct Tape Guy.
Here's a worst-of-the-worst roundup of the airline industry's most infamous inebriates.
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 tipsy 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.
Crew Juice: (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 last employee working the flight that morning had a blood alcohol level above .05%, more than two times the legal limit.
The 50-Day Excuse (October 15, 2012)
What would you do if the sleeping passenger next to you woke up and began to scream in a language you didn't understand? A Ukrainian man on a Delta Flight from Boston to Salt Lake City came to, shouting to his seatmate in Russian that the wing was on fire. As the plane landed, the man ran to the back and attempted to open an exit door. The Salt Lake Tribune reported he jammed the emergency exit, caused the inflatable slide to malfunction and badly damaged the airplane's fuselage. According to Heather Poole, flight attendant and best-selling author of Cruising Attitude, "The emergency exit door is impossible to open at 35,000 feet, regardless of how badly someone might try to get out." However, our panicked passenger flipped his lid -- and the door's lever -- after the plane had touched down. When questioned by federal agents, the traveler admitted he had been drunk for 50 straight days, saying, "I never sobered up."
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 slapped 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 that caused the man to abuse his wife.
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 taken to a nearby hospital with severe alcohol poisoning.
A Golden Summer (June-August, 2011)
Between late June and mid-August of 2011, three separate passengers on three different airlines got drunk and relieved themselves anywhere but the lavatory. June 27th: an unknowing trendsetter on a Jetstar flight from Auckland to Singapore never located the lav. Instead, he let it all out in the aisle, splashing several passengers.
August 11th: An 18-year old US ski team hopeful decided to get wasted before taking a Jet Blue flight from Portland, Oregon to New York City and miscounted the distance to the back of the plane when he turned and urinated on the leg of a sleeping 11-year old girl.
August 17th: French actor Gerard Depardieu brought celebrity status to the summer trend. Allegedly, he was not drunk, but BBC News reported he repeatedly announced, "Je veux pisser" and used a seatmate's empty bottle until it overflowed onto the floor.
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.
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 took action, 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.
Fresh and Clean: (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. 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 reported that when she spoke with FBI agents, her explanation was: "I sometimes do crazy things."