… goes to Pennsylvania businessman Arthur Berkowitz. He had just settled into an aisle seat for a nearly seven-hour flight home from Anchorage when a last-minute passenger took the plane's only remaining seat next to him. The new seatmate weighed more than 400 pounds and needed half of Berkowitz's space to fit in. Berkowitz was forced to stand in the aisle or galley for most of the flight. US Airways apologized, but the best offer it came up with was a $200 voucher toward a future flight. It didn't say if a seat was included.
The Je Ne Regrette Rien Award
… goes to French actor Gérard Depardieu. He told CNN that he had no regrets about being thrown off a CityJet plane while it was taxiing for takeoff. His crime: peeing in a bottle and letting some of it spill in the aisle. A flight attendant, he explained, had turned down his request to use the toilet. “So I took the bottle and I peed. It felt beautiful,” he said. “The bottle was too small. I am an elephant!”
The I Do Declare Award
… goes to a 36-year-old woman who was tired of being strip searched at customs whenever she flew into Bermuda from London. So when officials asked if they could search her luggage, she took off all her clothes in the queue. “If you want to see me naked,” she said, “you can do it right f---ing here.”
The Sky's the Limit Award
… goes to those Virgin Atlantic passengers who stymie flight attendants with outlandish demands. According to a staff survey, the most common bizarre requests are: “Please can you open the window?” and “Can you show me to the showers?” Then there are the passengers who want the captain to stop the turbulence and turn down the noisy engines. One flier inquired whether there was a McDonald's on board. And another asked for a cup of tea and a massage for her Barbie doll.
The I Hear You Knocking Award
… goes to a Chautauqua Airlines pilot who accidentally locked himself in the toilet on a New York-bound flight. His banging on the door attracted a helpful passenger who promised to alert the co-pilot. Unfortunately, the would-be rescuer had a heavy accent. When he relayed the pilot's plight at the cockpit door, the co-pilot thought the man was a terrorist and refused to let him in. Luckily, the pilot eventually freed himself, but not before fighter planes had been alerted.
The Wrong Place Wrong Time Award
… goes to a would-be robber in Los Angeles. The man had no idea when he held up a hotel at gunpoint that some of the hotel's guests were there for the World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship. Answering the desk clerk's calls for help, two amateur martial-arts competitors wrestled the man to the ground and relieved him of his semiautomatic handgun and sack of money. The entire episode was caught by the hotel's video camera and posted on YouTube (youtube.com/watch?v=QUntJ2Js3T8).
Sources: AP, Access Hollywood, BBC, Chicago Tribune, Daily Mail, Elliott.org, Herald-Sun, Homeland Security, Moscow Times, New York Post, Reuters, South China Morning Post, Sun Media, Sunday Tribune, The Daily Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Hamilton Spectator, The Oregonian, The Sun, The Tallahassee Democrat, The Telegraph, The Times, The Times-Picayune, The Washington Times, Toronto Star, Travel Industry Today, TMZ.com.
Special to The Globe and Mail