Nominees for the 'Worst Person on a Plane'


5. Animal Kingdom Roundup
Sometimes, the "worst person on the plane" isn't a head or any other part of a human. I'm thinking of the sedated tiger cub that was found in a woman's checked bag last August in the Bangkok airport -- a real live tiger crammed into a suitcase filled with stuffed tiger toys.

That discovery was made before the flight took off, but such was not the case in an incident aboard Etihad Airways involving a passenger who transported all his "pets" in a carry-on bag during a flight from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta: one squirrel, two parrots and four snakes. How many pets he had left by the end of the flight is not known.

Then there's Mandy. The Manchester terrier also traveled in-cabin during a US Airways flight out of Newark last month, but unfortunately, Mandy's 89-year-old owner allowed the little dog out of its carrier and Mandy ran amok, biting passengers and crew until the flight was diverted to Pittsburgh. Now if I could just get that Barry Manilow tune out of my head…

6. Cell Phone Cop
A teenager on a Southwest flight from Las Vegas to Boise last month was allegedly still fooling with his iPhone after the flight attendant's spiel about turning off electronic devices, so fellow passenger Russell Miller decided to remind him. The 68-year-old man claimed he merely tapped the kid, but media items about the incident used words like "punch," and the police report said the 15-year-old had a visible mark on his arm.

The Idaho Statesman quotes the alleged cell phone cop as saying, "I'm old school. You abide by the rules." Well, not always, and thank goodness for that -- which leads me to the "best person on the plane."

Best Person on the Plane
Earlier this month, Mark Dickinson was desperately trying to make it to the bedside of his dying two year old grandson. As first reported by travel analyst Christopher Elliott, the frantic man was hurrying but kept running into airport delays, until he finally sprinted to the gate, shoes in hand, arriving several minutes past his flight's scheduled departure time.

But wonder of wonders, his Southwest plane was still there; as the pilot explained to Dickinson, "They can't leave without me, and I'm not leaving without you."

Southwest has since told me they have identified the pilot but are not releasing his name at this time since he's a bit overwhelmed by all the attention his act of kindness stirred up. Plus, he believes any one of his fellow Southwest pilots would have done exactly the same thing.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations that include ABC News, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg. His website,, offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deals.

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