There are the armrest hogs, the back-of-the-seat kickers, the over-packers, the personal hygiene challenged, and those who don't appear to know where the earphone jack is located on their noisy personal devices. But when it comes to annoying people to share a plane with, none of the usual suspects can hold a candle to a guy kicked off a JetBlue flight this week.
Airport nudity + menacing dogs + psychosis
When it was announced that his flight from Tampa to Puerto Rico was going to be delayed by less than an hour, the gentleman got upset. So far, so normal. But as the local Fox News affiliate reports, it just got weirder from there.
"The man, identified by TIA officials as Ralph Rodriguez Hernandez, became upset around 2 p.m. because his flight was delayed. TIA said during the tantrum, Hernandez threatened to kill a gate agent from JetBlue," Fox relates, which is already pretty psychotic, but wait there's more.
The irate passenger was accompanied by a giant Rottweiler mix "service dog." And, wait for it... decided to express his displeasure by taking off his pants. All of this before physically attacking the police officers dispatched to ask him to please stop getting naked in an airport terminal. Here's the video if you're curious.
"When he started fighting with the cops and got thrown to the ground and was still kicking police, I said, this is not going to end good," another passenger opined. In fact, the end of the story is that the guy was carried off and arrested. The dog, who presumably was better behaved than his owner, is being held pending resolution of the matter.
How you should respond when you're upset about a delay
All of which should help you reset your perspective next time you're annoyed by the noisy snorer or manspreader one seat over. But there is also another useful takeaway from this story (beyond some Friday gawping at the extremes of human bad behavior): the right way to respond when you're upset about a delay.
To be clear, nudity, profanities, and large, menacing animals are not a good way to go. What is? That depends on where you are. The E.U. has tough regulations about what airlines owe you when your flight is delayed, so if you're flying in Europe know your rights, which can include include compensation of EUR 600 for flights delayed more than three hours, as well as free meals or hotel rooms while you wait.
Things are different on the other side of the Atlantic. "What you're entitled to is up to each individual airline. Generally speaking, if the delay is less than three hours, you shouldn't expect anything at all," explains Skyscanner. "Airlines aren't legally required to provide you with anything, but many will give you food vouchers or even a hotel room if the flight is delayed until the next morning." Some credit cards also provide protection for long delays. Hold on to your boarding pass as proof of travel if you suspect that might be the case.
"If your flight is delayed because of the airline, you should ask for a lounge pass," Skyscanner also suggests. "Airline lounges will have hot food, free drinks, comfortable seating, and free WiFi, which is perfect while you wait out your delay. Your airline may be hesitant to give these passes out, so just ask nicely." (Also, perhaps consider asking multiple times.)
Finally, if you're going to miss a connection and have to rebook a flight, your best bet is probably to call the airline rather than approach an agent. "Airport staff are swamped, so I always call the airline's customer service to get rebooked," travel blogger Matthew Kepnes tells U.S. News and World Reports. Alternately, some airline apps, like those from United and Delta, make rebooking simple, he adds. Even reaching out via Twitter can work.
All of this sounding complicated? Don't worry, there's an app for this too. AirHelp can help you figure out what, if anything, you're owed from the airline and claim it. But whatever you do, keep calm, advocate for yourself, and definitely don't take off your pants in public.