Passenger Throws $6,000 On The Tarmac After Refusing To Pay For Upgrade

Saturday night’s EVA Air flight BR68 from London Heathrow to Bangkok diverted to Vienna after a woman self-upgraded from economy to premium economy and ‘refused to pay for the upgrade’ while her booze-influenced partner wouldn’t stop smoking and became abusive to crew. He was tackled and taped to his seat.

  • The woman wanted the upgrade for free, though her bundle of cash suggests she could have paid for it.

  • Her partner smoked an e-cigarette on board. That’s forbidden. He did it beside the galley in front of cabin crew. He seems like someone that’s regularly outsmarted by cheese.

  • The two passengers insulted crewmembers. According to the airline, flight attendants were subjected to “physical abuse.”

It took eight passengers to restrain them, including taping the man to his seat for three hours. The flight diverted, and they were taken off. The woman threw £5,000 (US$6,000) at the man. It blew off in the wind. He then went after the money. Some of the cash was picked up by an officer.

The Taipei-based Star Alliance carrier flies several fifth freedom routes, which I’ve had great success over the years booking as awards. On the London – Bangkok route they’re actually my airline of choice. British Airways isn’t flying to Bangkok, and the only other carrier offering the service is Thai Airways which is inconsistent at best.

Passengers were given hotel rooms for their daytime wait time in Vienna, which ultimately totaled about 11 hours. The onward segment from Bangkok to Taipei was cancelled.

Self-upgrading never works. Self-regulating alcohol consumption usually does. I get frustrated when my upgrades don’t clear, too, but vaping in the galley and abusing crew won’t help. It’s not their fault. And if you want the upgrade badly enough, at the end of the day you’ll pay for it.

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. As all of my travels head west I didn’t know that EVA flew to BKK from LHR. One day perhaps. Wasn’t BR the code for British Caledonian lo those many years ago?

  2. It’s becoming increasingly not worth it to sell alcohol on airplanes. Either that, or they need to have a very strict one per customer limit!

  3. Some people are just jerks. I have flown on EVA many times and the flight attendants are always nice and helpful.

  4. I don’t know why but whenever I hear EVA air and Bangkok, I cannot help but think of that disgusting passenger before the pandemic who demanded an EVA flight attendant to wipe his bum while in the lavatory up in the air.

  5. It sounds as if they were already drunk when boarding to plane since Vienna isn’t a long haul from LHR.

  6. I was on the plane. They where drunk and loud in the terminal before getting on the flight. They stuck out a mile. Shouldn’t of been let on IMHO.

  7. I was on this flight. The 2 people in question were being loud and drunk in the airport before boarding the flight. Why were they even allowed on the plane??? It took all of us 2 days to eventually arrive in Bangkok. By the end of our journey we all felt like a small community. Small children up to elderly adults. Everyone kept their cool. The hotel staff in Vienna were brilliant in looking after us at such short notice. The chaos these 2 twats caused has been costly and inconvenient to passengers and the air line company. I hope they are being severely punished for this.

  8. They should never have been let on. They have spoilt holidays for everyone else. My brother lost his flight on to Chaing Mai and could only get one for today (Monday), hence losing two nights hotel, and nearly three days holiday. He was also not put up in a hotel and had to spend hours in the departure lounge. I have always thought that they should not have bars in airports, a few spoil it for the rest!

  9. One Day….I hope passengers just get so fed up that these a**holes get a Beat Down by EVERYONE including the old people and kids

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