… goes to Ryanair which took cost-cutting a little too far. Passengers boarding a London-to-Latvia flight were startled to see two workers repairing a crack in the cockpit windscreen with sticky tape. The makeshift remedy lasted all of 20 minutes after takeoff. Then the patch peeled away and the window began vibrating loudly. Passengers panicked as the plane turned back to its point of origin. Ryanair’s official response: “We do not comment on routine technical issues.”
The Off the Wall Award
… goes to Kevin Hudgeons, an American cruise passenger who disembarked from the Norwegian Star in Bermuda carrying a door-sized copy of a Rembrandt painting valued at more than $13,000. Asked where he was taking it, he replied, “I’m going to mail it home.” His various explanations included winning it in a raffle, buying it at an auction and painting it himself. A check of the ship’s video showed him removing it from a wall. He got off with a $500 fine after his lawyer pointed out that he was a recovering drug addict.
The Full Moon Stargazing Award
… goes to William Shatner, who chose a loose-fitting wardrobe for a flight out of Los Angeles airport. He was being given an in-depth check by security officials when his beltless trousers dropped to the floor. Dozens of travellers saw his underwear. “It was awful to have people looking at me with my pants down,” he said later, “probably the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me.”
The Morning After the Night Before Award
… goes to two young Welshmen who drank too much vodka on a working holiday in Australia. They woke up to hangovers and a frightened fairy penguin called Dirk in their apartment. The previous evening, accompanied by an equally boozed-up Australian teen, they broke into the Queensland Sea World, let off a fire extinguisher in the shark tank, went swimming in their underwear with dolphins, and brought Dirk home as a trophy. Panicking in the cold light of morning, they released the bird into a canal from which it was eventually rescued with no ill effects. In court later, the tourists were fined and the Australian put on probation. “You could have found yourselves in a morgue,” the judge warned the Welshmen, “if you’d gone into the wrong enclosure.”
The Self-Serve Check-In Award
… goes to a drunken Norwegian man who arrived too early for his flight home from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. Finding the check-in desk closed, he lay down on the luggage conveyor belt to wait and drifted off to sleep. Later, after someone activated the belt, security screeners were startled to see the man’s body outline and internal organs clearly displayed on their X-ray screens. He had travelled about 150 metres into a secure area without waking up.
The Wake Me When It’s Over Award
… goes to Patrice Christine Ahmed, a French woman who took sleeping pills at the start of her long flight to Paris from Pakistan. They obviously worked. She slept through the entire flight, which included a stop in Milan. She was asleep when the plane landed at the French capital and for the two hours it remained on the ground there. When she finally awoke, the aircraft was on its way back to her starting point. Pakistan International Airways fixed her up with a new flight to Paris, but promised to send the bill to the party responsible for leaving her on the plane.