Passenger Power

As I trudge through Brussels Airport, yet again, and observe the lengthy queue of people awaiting their turn at the security check point, I realise that I have had another quiet flight.  No threats, no disturbances, not so much as a spilt coffee.  Almost all of my flights have been like this.  Except one.

It was almost ten years ago now and I was flying back to the UK.  I used to live there and had just spent a summer break in Malta visiting family and friends.  I was browsing the magazines when I heard the airport announcer report on the fact that my flight is boarding.  Malta International Airport is small with nine gates within walking distance of one another and of the shops. I put down whatever I was reading and headed off to my gate.

Malta International Airport Building

The Malta airport building. All of it

As I approached, a group of Italians walked by talking rather loudly.  I knew that they were on my flight as had been ahead of me in the queue to check in.  One of them was wearing a sarong which I can’t say suited him.  I can only imagine what the burly security officers thought of him as he wafted through.

After a short bus ride in the clammy and humid heat that tends to envelope the island in the summer months, we boarded and the plane taxied off.  The passengers were evenly split between Maltese and foreigners. Many locals tend to travel to the UK and many Brits tend to holiday in Malta too, so this is not unusual.  I buried myself into my puzzle book, not paying too much attention to the people around me. We were barely airborne when I heard the seat-belt sign ring repeatedly. I looked up and noticed that the passenger, he of the mis-matched sarong, had his finger firmly pressed on the “Call Attendant” button and was causing this noise.

Ding! <pause> Ding! <pause> Ding!

We had not yet reached cruising altitude but one of the attendants unbuckled herself and came to see what he wanted.  From what I gathered, he wanted a drink and she politely told him that he’ll have to wait a bit.  Unsatisfied with this result, he let her sit down before ringing again and when she arrived again, he asked to speak to her supervisor.

The purser duly arrived and sternly advised that the drinks cart would be available when the captain switches the “seat-belt” sign off.  I heard someone mumble in Maltese that the Italian had already had a few drinks which explained his behaviour somewhat.

Still unsatisfied with this reply, Mr Sarong let the crew sit down again and then stood up and announced that he needs to speak to the captain.  He then turned and brisk-walked straight towards the cockpit.

Before we knew what was happening, the purser dashed past and rugby-tackled him to the ground.  All of a sudden, the Maltese on the flight started shouting words of encouragement:

“Get him!”

“Give him one!”

“Smack him!”

“Hit him again!”

“Bring him here, I’ll sort him out for you!”

Small wonder that the attempted bombing a few weeks ago was foiled by a passenger.

Odd passengers on your flight? Leave us a comment and tell us about them!

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About Antoine Borg

Exploring | Enjoying | Laughing
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14 Comments

  1. In my opinion there should be breathalysers before boarding !

    • unexpectedtraveller

      Diane – Breathalysers are a good idea … but I can just imagine Ryanair wanting to charge for that somehow!
      Henry – agreed. However, with a plane full of people like that, it made for some entertainment ;-)

      The Unexpected Traveller

  2. It is a shame when people cannot control their drinking excesses.

  3. I was held hostage in the back of the plane by a passenger who we found out later had brought his own alcohol. He waited in the bathroom for everyone to de-plane. Unfortunately I was hiding from him in the next lav. My crew, who should have waited and made sure i got off the plane safely, just took off. When I came out of the lav he came out of his. He pinned me to the back galley and was forcing himself on me when a gate agent came down looking for me. The agent forced him off the plane. when I got to my next flight (and new crew) the guy was already on the plane. The captain refused to kick him off the plane. I was grabbing my bag to get off when an agent came down and removed him. I guess word must have gotten around and they realized he was getting on another plane. Later I found out that he had his own liqour and he apologized to the agents for his behaviour. I just want the agents who helped me to know how much I appreciate what they did. It all could have turned out a lot worse without them

    • unexpectedtraveller

      Wow – what an ordeal! I’m sure that it was a shocking experience but kudos to the agents who helped you out and saved the day!

      The Unexpected Traveller

  4. It was not really good experience either but you should thank to agent those helped you.

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  6. In my opinion, people smelling of alcohol or looking intoxicated should not be allowed to board as they represent a safety risk to others. In addition, I do NOT think that alcohol should be sold on planes for this very reason. It’s only a few hours, get a drink when you land.

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  8. What a fascinating story. Thanks for sharing. (I clicked over on your link from a Gadling comment.)

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