Rash of Bizarre Passenger Incidents Enlivens August Air Travel

The dog days of summer – that traditionally languid period of late August – have been anything but boring this year as a rash of odd passenger incidents marred a number of flights. Three recent examples:

Pregnant Woman Allegedly Groped

A 32-year-old man is accused of groping a pregnant passenger aboard a JetBlue flight heading from New York to Los Angeles on Sunday night. The flight was diverted to Denver where the man was taken into custody but not before kicking the arresting officers and “threatening to kill them.” Authorities believe the man was more than a little intoxicated.

Also on the flight was movie producer Cassian Elwes (Lawless) who volunteered to sit next to the suspected groper to try and calm him – he’d once been a William Morris agent, he joked, so he knew all about dealing with “difficult people.” Elwes then spun out a series of fascinating tweets about the suspect, providing a melancholy glimpse into a seemingly tortured mind.

Sleeping Seatmate Allegedly Assaulted

On a Monday night flight from Phoenix to Newark, a 48-year-old man was accused of sexually molesting a sleeping female passenger aboard a United plane. When the woman woke up, she reported the alleged attack to a flight attendant and police later took the man to jail.

Oversleeping Passenger Fails to Deplane

On Tuesday, a woman flying from Pakistan to Paris on Pakistan International Airlines failed to wake up when she reached her destination – and no one else bothered to wake her  – and she kept right on sleeping through her plane’s return trip. Total flight time: 18 hours. If she was surprised not to see the Eiffel Tower in downtown Lahore, it is not recorded.

Earlier Oversleeping Incident

Think this couldn’t happen twice? Ask Cindy McGuire, who slept through her plane’s landing in Philadelphia a couple of years ago. Did the United Express crew bother to wake her? No – that job was left to the cleaning crew – after she’d been snoozing on the empty aircraft for four hours.

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Published: August 23, 2012