Who you end up sitting beside on an airplane is as random as who you’ll one day get to ask for on family visiting day at the local prison. Most of us would create our own “no-fly” lists if we could, banning babies, people who or are about as genial as someone swinging an axe in a parade or those who use nine hours at cruising altitude to recount exactly how they’re related to the Duchy of Luxemburg.
Unfortunately we are usually as trapped with the people we sit with, as we are the recycled air and the silent contempt of the stewardesses when they think you’re putting on airs in economy with frequent use of the call button. “Air rage” – upturning a drinks trolley after being exposed to one Matthew McConaughey movie too many – is keeping air marshals well practiced in the application of arm locks, but a disturbing trend involving people exposing themselves most indecently to a captive audience is also on the rise. It’s even worse when the two are combined.
Airline travel is stressful enough without having to contemplate being exposed to naked human flesh – unless you are given that glimpse in the cramped confines of a plane’s lavatory, though that is unsanitary, illegal, and likely to draw the ire of someone waiting to use the commode after a losing battle with the in-flight chili. There might not be a way to stop people from unzipping in the air – save strait jackets for someone who orders more than five alcoholic drinks on a three-hour flight – but before the situation worsens, here is a roll call of some of the more grievous offenders: the 8 Moments in Aviation-related Nudity.
8) 50-year old passenger strips and runs amok:
Passenger on a US Airways flight from Charlotte to LA, took off his clothes at the back of the plane (sound move, at least from a strategical point-of-view).
He then resisted a female flight attendant’s efforts to cover him with a blanket by punching and kicking her (fighting a nude assailant is always an unfair fight). According to an airport spokesman, the flight attendant asked the man “on more than one occasion to put on his clothes”, a request that was more easily enforcable with two off-duy cops who handcuffed the man who had suffered perhaps a greater indignity: having his pic posted online by a fellow passenger.
7) Passenger strips and slugs another:
A Missouri-bound Southwest Airlines jet was forced to return to Oakland after man exposed himself and slugged a passenger in the mug. Had the order of operations been reversed, it would’ve been that much easier for the fellow passenger and more chance for an intervention before the more damaging part of that equation. The 300 lb assailant, whose motivations weren’t made available publicly—at least not without a carefully worded statement through a cringing lawyer—was eventually subdued.
6) Man strips down to cardigan:
A drunk British citizen was detained in Singapore after stripping down to only a cardigan—worn back to front. According to reports in the Courier Mail (Australia), it took 7 crew members to subdue the man who had cried out “I’m getting off the bus”.
Cardigan Factoid: Every one of Mr. Roger’s cardigan sweaters was hand-knitted by Fred Rogers’ mother.
5) Soccer team keeps naked man from making balls an issue:
If anyone can claim to be qualified to subdue a drunken person running around naked, a professional soccer play could. The world’s most popular sport, and the one most closely associated with a drunken fanbase that does not involve monster trucks routinely sees unruly fans strip down and try to outsprint stadium security (much easier than hockey, because of surfaces and real estate). It was fortuitous then that in the summer of 2008, members of the New England Revolution – apparently some sort of professional soccer team on a continent where most people dump the sport when their voice breaks – were on board when a nude, crying man (the worst kind) disrupted a flight from Boston bound for LA, which then had to be diverted to Oklahoma City. The team’s general manager told the Boston Herald: “My first thought was that he was a streaker. That isn’t something we haven’t seen before in soccer.”
4) Pilot’s amorous touchdown ends in arrest:
Ask anyone who works in aviation and they will tell you – if they are being honest and, preferably, drunk –that their working conditions are essentially Caligula’s inner court with an air-traffic control tower. This one did not take place on a flight but it does speak to a wider trend in aviation circles. The Charleston Daily (2008) reports on how a young pilot made an effort to improve relations with the cabin crew by exiting a social function with a flight attendant for a romp in some nearby woods. Drunk, the two soon became separated and locals found something amiss about the sight of a naked drunken, pilot in flip-flops, and phoned the authorities. A police helicopter with heat-detecting equipment was dispatched to the scene and the two were arrested for public indecency and in the case of the luckless flight attendant for theft – a flashlight she took to illuminate the woods.
3) Exposing the first nudist recreational flight:
Naked recreational travel, according to reports, generates a half billion dollars a year, according to a club in whose membership you’d likely not make public at tax time: the American Association for Nude Recreation. If your naked ambition involves wanting to fly with a group of people whose aromas are even that much more difficult to conceal, well you’re in luck. According to reports, Nude Air made aviation history (not likely to garner curatorial attention alongside the Wright Brothers plane at their Memorial) with its first nude flight from Miami to Cancun—a destination where clothing is mostly worn when at a bank requesting a money transfer from abroad.
FACTOID BOX: In 1856, Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Bris made the first flight higher than his point of departure, in a glider. Previously, ‘flying’ had consisted of going off the edge of something steep and a rapid death plummet.
2.) A Naked Ramble trough the skies:
Naturalists believe that clothing is a manmade imposition and that we all have the inherent right to let the sun shine where it normally doesn’t whenever we please. They fail to take into account the freedom of others to avoid having to look at the naked body of someone who for the sake of aesthetics should be covered in a tarp. Scott Gough, the Naked Rambler, is an aggressive naturalist, well known for walking the entire length of Britain wearing little more than a backpack and a smile. Gough has faced over 20 neckid-related charges – including a contempt of court charge for showing up in the buff on hearing day – and took a flight to Edinburgh for yet another court appearance. Flight staff said he entered the plane dressed before going into the washroom and emerging nude. He was arrested and pleaded guilty – clothed, apparently – to the charge of public indecency.
1) Naked guy not feeling wheel:
A Canadian man (it is alleged as where he could he have stored his passport?) upset at being refused a Qantas Airways ticket to Australia at LAX, stripped naked, scaled an eight-foot high barbwire fence and climbed into a landing gear wheel well of a moving jumbo jet. We like that koala bear in the Qantas ads as much as the next guy, but this seems too extreme a reaction. With takeoff speed in excess of 300 k/hr, and the limited adhesive properties of the naked human form, he also risked being crushed to death by landing gear or frozen to death and exposed to posthumous ‘shrinkage’ ridicule. (Source: Gold Coast Bulletin 2004)