By Emilee Speck
SANFORD, Fla. – An Allegiant flight from Orlando-Sanford to Grand Rapids was delayed Monday after an unruly passenger stole a flight attendant’s demonstration life jacket and stuffed it in a toilet, according to fellow passengers and police.
Flight 682 was scheduled to depart at 8:30 a.m., but was delayed due to weather, said Erin Bruce, who was on the flight with her mother.
A weather delay isn’t unusual, but then things got a little weird.
Bruce said a man on the flight was moved, “because he appeared to be intoxicated and they wanted to keep an eye on him.”
“He snagged the flight attendant’s life jacket, the one they use for the demo, and went into the restroom and put it into the toilet,” Bruce said.
The flight attendant, who was trying to conduct the pre-flight safety demonstration began searching for the missing life jacket. Attendants asked over the intercom for whoever took the inflatable device to return it because the flight couldn’t leave without the demonstration.
Bruce said she thinks the man fessed up.
“They notified us the life jacket was in the restroom in the toilet, it was soiled, and they had to wait for someone to bring them a fresh one to do the demo,” she said.
An Allegiant spokesperson said the plane captain turned the plane around to get a new vest.
Passengers were annoyed, Bruce said, until they started bonding over the comic moment, which she described as right out of an episode of “Seinfeld.”
“We were all, like, bonding and saying #lifejacketbandit!” Bruce said, adding that even the flight attendants were chuckling about the situation.
The passenger was removed by flight attendants, with Sanford and airport police supervising. Sanford police said he was not arrested. Allegiant rebooked him on a later flight.
Flight-tracking website Flightaware.com shows that Allegiant Air Flight 682 arrived in Grand Rapids about 1 hour and 30 minutes late.