Passenger Melts Down Over Not Being Served Pepsi

I don’t drink much soda. I might have the occasional Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda or Black Cherry. Mostly I drink water. But on the rare occasion I’m in a restaurant and order a Coke I think I share the same reaction as much of the rest of the world when the server says, “We have Pepsi, is that alright?”

Let’s face it, the Steve Carell and Lil Jon commercial is a good attempt, but just doesn’t ring true at all.

So I sort of feel for the woman that was just banned from ever flying TAP Air Portugal again. You see, she was flying Lisbon – Malaga.

She was last to board and was apparently drinking before her flight because she reportedly was barely able to stand as she headed to her seat. She got into an argument with a flight attendant about overhead bin space – and was lucky her flight didn’t end right there (the proverbial, “are we going to have a problem today miss?”).

Once ensconced in her seat she was apparently taking drinks from a flask. Bringing your own booze on board is never going to end well. I once sat next to a woman who brought wine from an Admirals Club on board a Dallas – Austin flight and refused to give it up when called out by a flight attendant. She wanted to drink it during takeoff and it wasn’t good enough she was going to be given another once we were in the air (she said she was being sensitive to ‘wasting company resources’).

When crew came around serving drinks she asked for a Pepsi. However on this 293 mile flight they were only catered with with fruit juice. So she started screaming. She started chucking food.

The pilot eventually came back to inform the woman that she’d never be welcome on TAP Air Portugal again. And she was met by law enforcement on arrival in Malaga.

However when you want something specific to drink you want it. This may be the only woman who actually wants a Pepsi, a Coke won’t do.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I like both Pepsi and Coke. They are pretty different. Pepsi to me has more of a sweeter cola flavor. Coke has a more complex flavor and the carbonation seems stronger than Pepsi.

    One thing that bugs me is on ANA economy I asked for diet and they said they only had regular. I know in business they had diet. Seems odd they cater soft drinks by cabin and not overall.

  2. Captains have a lot of authority, but I wonder if the captain really has the authority to bann a passenger from future flights on an air carrier. I would think that would be done more by the corporate security department.

    It would also be interesting if you did a story on the business process and technical procedures the airlines use to bann a passenger, and how they handle it if that passenger books a ticket. I imagine with Secure Flight its gotten a little bit easier, although my understanding is that Secure Flight, in no way validates the DOB you enter. It only checks the DOB against watch lists to try to get a hit or a match. It doesn’t, for example, check your name and date of birth data integrity against the passport information the feds have on file or the local state RMV/DMV data. In other words, I think I could punch in any random date of birth in to secure flight, and I would be able to travel normally without my records being flagged, or without being sent with SSS for secondary screening.

    I would be interested to know as far as banning how many passengers the big US carriers have banned? Can someone appeal a bann say after 10 or 20 years?

    Do airline employees often falsely threaten to bann a passenger, even though they don’t hav the technical systems and business processes in place to literally enforce a bann?

    If an airline bann you by getting you on the fed no fly list, that could work, but I’m not sure how readily airlines can request that a passenger be added to the list? If someone is arrested for drunken disorderly and interfereance with a flight crew, is that a one-way ticket on to the federal no fly list?

    In other words if this lady was arrested in the USA for doing what she did, would that get her added to the federal no fly list? Would it matter if they had to divert the flight as to whether she gets added to the federal no fly list or the selectee list?

  3. Looks like she is in an emergency exit window seat (my favorite economy seat). So much for “a verbal yes” if one is able to assist in an emergency.

  4. This story might be understandable if this pax had asked for a Coke, instead of Pepsi! 🙂

    I have no issue with airlines banning DYKWIAs and drunks. A sobriety test administered prior to boarding the airplane could also work wonders.

  5. my parents were in J class on an EVA Air flight. said some guy was so mad not being served bacon…

  6. I was wondering if someone was going to crack Suicidal or not with this story…Thanks Jonathan…

  7. If a waiter ask me if Pepsi is ok instead of coca cola I ask the waiter if I can pay the bill with Canadian Tire money instead of dollars.

  8. I think there are enough inebriated passengers even during boarding, that they should be re-seated to a special section. If airlines could remove them, full flights would have empty seats and very upset customers that are very important to the airline. So they are tolerated.
    Maybe airport lounges are part of the problem?
    Seriously, as travel continues to skyrocket airlines will be more selective about their customers.

  9. Good lord..Pepsi? Does anyone actually request that versus being forced to drink it due to some Marriott-esque deal??

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