Extreme Bad Behavior: The Pilot, the Passenger and the Baggage Handler

Forget “something special in the air” – more like something crazy in the air to judge by recent news stories.

What follows are the week’s most egregious examples of alleged bad behavior (and we’re talking criminal allegations here) by people who presumably should know better.

10 things you never want to hear from a pilot

The Pilot

A 48-year-old American Eagle pilot was charged this week with three gross misdemeanors all relating to attempting to operate an aircraft under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested back in January at Minneapolis-St. Paul International when an airport police officer and a TSA screener said “they smelled alcohol as they walked past a group of four pilots around 5:30 a.m.” Initial tests reportedly indicated the pilot had a blood-alcohol content of 1.07 while a later test showed .09. The drunk driving level in all states is .08 but pilots follow a stricter standard of .04.

Question: Did the other pilots in the group also smell the alcohol and if so, did they say anything to the American Eagle pilot? News stories don’t mention this but it would be reassuring to know that pilots were self-policing.

Flight attendants – too old to flirt?

The Passenger

A 24-year-old Spirit passenger – who is married and a father – allegedly made quite the nuisance of himself on a flight last week from Las Vegas to Denver when he tried a variety of pick-up lines on multiple flight attendants with a decided lack of success. Lines included, “You’re [expletive] beautiful,” as well as unsolicited advice to a flight attendant to “blow off”  her duties because “I can show you a better time than work.” He also offered advice to himself saying, “I should date you.” Apparently haunted by his lack of success, he finally resorted to (allegedly) groping one of the flight attendants and was arrested upon arrival in Denver.

Interesting fact: The man told authorities he had never flown before. As always, alcohol is believed to have been a factor.

Question: Were these the worst pick-up lines ever? No. The prize goes to the one heard by a flight attendant on another (unnamed) airline who was asked, “Can I lick you?” She said no.

Why you should never pack valuables

The Baggage Handler

A baggage handler who worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul International was busted this week for allegedly stealing $84,000 worth of stuff from passengers’ bags. His reported haul included guns, jewelry and watches. Note to passengers: Air travel expert Rick Seaney has long advised flyers not to travel with valuables. For one thing, most airlines will not cover such losses.

Question: Who knew the Minneapolis airport was such a nerve center for grim air travel news?

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Published: April 10, 2013