2017 was recently declared to be “the safest year in aviation history” by the Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network, all thanks to a grand total of zero commercial aviation-related fatalities recorded anywhere in the world.
But while that may be great news for the airline industry, it doesn’t mean air travel is without its pitfalls entirely — especially as of late.
The previous calendar year was filled with horrific tales of in-flight fights, unruly passengers and extreme turbulence. And if the first few weeks of 2018 are any indication, these trends are set to continue into the New Year.
Take a look at the following budget-airline horror stories of 2018, and pray your travels go much better than those of the poor passengers who endured these nightmares.
On New Year’s Day, a passenger aboard a Ryanair flight from London to the Spanish city of Malaga opened the emergency exit and climbed out onto the wing shortly after the aircraft touched down. According to witnesses, he was either tired of waiting for the flight to deplane, or suffering from an asthma attack and needed some fresh air. The man was eventually coaxed back into the aircraft, where he was arrested by airport security.
A Spirit Airlines passenger flying out of Southwest Florida International Airport was removed from his flight on Jan. 4, following reports that he smelled of alcohol and urinated all over the lavatory’s toilet and carpet. Once back in the terminal, he cursed out a gate agent, refused a breathalyzer and ignored requests to leave the airport. He was ultimately arrested and charged with disorderly intoxication and trespassing.
A JetBlue flight leaving for Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, was forced to return to its departure city of Boston on Jan. 6 after crew members reported an “unusual odor” that was causing them — and passengers — to feel ill. In an abundance of caution, the crew elected to return to Boston and was met by medical personnel,” JetBlue later confirmed.
A passenger aboard a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Detroit was arrested upon landing at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport for allegedly assaulting a 22-year-old woman. According to a federal complaint, the woman claimed that fellow passenger Prabhu Ramamoorthy was putting his “fingers in her (genitals) and vigorously moving them” while she slept aboard the early January flight, although Ramamoorthy claimed he only undid the woman’s bra, cupped her breast, and tried to put his hand into her pants. He has since been detained in Detroit pending a trial.
On Jan. 13, 2018, a Pegasus Airlines jet skidded off the runway at Turkey’s Trabzon Airport, sending 168 passengers and crewmembers over the side of a cliff — and just barely avoiding a dip in the Black Sea. The airline confirmed that there were no injuries as a result of the incident, but passengers reported screaming and panic within the cabin.