As if you needed more evidence that plane travel in the 21st century is roughly the $300+ equivalent of a Greyhound ride, a passenger on an American Airlines flight to JFK yesterday tells us a fellow flier got shwaaaasted, took his pants off, and tried to smoke several cigarettes in the air—all while the flight attendants were pretty much like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
The tipster, who would only speak with us on the condition we call him, uh, "Otto," says the incident occurred onboard AA Flight 937 from San Juan to JFK yesterday afternoon. The flight was delayed on the tarmac for about an hour and a half—when it finally took off, Otto noticed that the passenger behind him appeared to have quelled any pre-flight agitation by imbibing the majority of a large bottle of Dewars. "I smelled booze on his breath. He looked at me and was like 'I'm just looking for my wife,' and when I told him I didn't know where his wife was, he was like, 'You better not know where she is,'" Otto recalls.
Then, the gentleman decided to get a little more comfortable. "He didn't expose himself, I never saw a penis or anything like that, but he did unbutton his pants," Otto tells us. "That's when the guy next to him was like, 'Okay,' and called over a flight attendant."
Not to be pigeonholed by one uncouth airplane activity, Otto tells us the passenger decided it was time for some nicotine. "Then this guy breaks out a duty-free 3 carton pack of smokes, and tries to rip it open and start smoking a cigarette," he said. "The flight attendant took the cigarettes away from him, then pulled down his shade and walked away."
Luckily, he brought extra smokes! "He pulled out a pack of smokes and tried to do it again," Otto says. "A passenger next to him put out the cigarette and started yelling at him in Spanish, 'Listen buddy, you can't smoke cigarettes on a plane.'"
Though passengers were reportedly clamoring for an arrest or appropriate restraint for the drunk flier, there was no air marshall onboard, and flight attendants didn't want to hold him down with tape or cuffs out of fear that he might become violent. Instead, they "pretty much babysat him," Otto tells us. "He pulled his pants down to his ankles. They tried to give him a blanket and said, 'Put this blanket on if you're not going to put on your pants,' and he threw the blanket on the ground. Then they pulled down his tray table."
No one was injured or particularly inconvenienced by all this, but passengers were uncomfortable, and Otto told American Airlines that the man was "constantly touching the woman's hair next to me, he poked the woman next to me a few times with his finger through the seat."
"I wasn't concerned, but you don't know if these guys are going to get violent," Otto points out, noting that once the flight landed, the captain and flight crew "didn't acknowledge it was happening." American Airlines tells us that "law enforcement met that flight due to a disruptive passenger," but a spokesperson with the Port Authority says there were no arrests at JFK around the time the flight arrived.
A drunk man smoking and undressing certainly isn't the craziest thing we've ever seen happen in flight. Consider, for instance, an Orthodox Jewish man wrapped in a plastic bag; the woman who brought a pig on the plane; the flight attendant who allegedly brought rats on her flight; and the plane that pooped on a Long Island couple. But still, it would be nice if everyone kept their pants on—"It was inappropriate and gross and like flying on a Greyhound bus," Otto concludes. Indeed.