The power of Swiss chocolate on a commercial airliner

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

Remember when during the Winter Olympics there was a lot of commotion about a hijacking attempt by someone who tried to force the plane to land in Sochi?

After exhausting the stray dog angles, cable news jumped all over this story.

While surfing through my usual news sites the other day, I came across a short piece by Reuters that continued the story where cable news left off, because the Olympics started, and there were other things to hype.

Antti Oskari Manselius, 23, from Finland, a passenger on board a Hong Kong-bound Cathay Pacific flight, armed only with a Toblerone chocolate bar, demanded the plane fly to Sochi so he could watch the Winter Olympics, Reuters reported.

He could have been given the chocolate with his meal, or he could have brought it on board. Either way, his only weapon was this triangular paper tube filled with some very good Swiss chocolate.

I don’t know if the container was full, or if he already consumed some of the chocolate and then decided to use the remainder as a weapon. But it’s fair to assume that if he had made a sharp point with the cardboard paper that contained the chocolate and started swinging it around, he could have caused some very nasty scratches.

One of the flight attendants testified during a court hearing that Manselius held the Toblerone bar like a sword and was swinging it around. I have no idea how he kept it from melting in his hands.

Now, if it was a container of M&Ms, that would make more sense, because they melt in your mouth, not in your hands. He would have had ample time to weaponize the M&Ms, unless he decided to eat them.

While he was behaving in this manner with the chocolate, he kept saying that he was robbing the plane now, and that he needed to get off because he is going to Sochi.

Before he did all this, he wrapped two blankets around his head, I guess so that he would look more like a traditional hijacker in the movies.

The big mystery is, how did he get two blankets in coach? I have trouble getting one. Before he answers questions about how he was going to hijack a plane to Sochi holding a chocolate bar, he needs to reveal where he got that second blanket.

Manselius obviously was not dealing with a full deck. A sane person would have just bought a ticket on a flight to Sochi. That would have been a lot easier than trying to convince the flight crew while threatening them with a chocolate bar that the plane should be diverted to Sochi.

He probably heard that there were plenty of seats available to all Olympic events still and decided in the middle of his flight to check it out.

Note to accused attempted hijacker: Once you get on a plane, you go where the plane goes. Just don’t get on a Malaysian airliner with a crazy pilot, because that chocolate in your hands won’t be of much help.

It’s understandable why the accused attempted hijacker wanted to check out Sochi while people were there, and before Russian President Putin’s $51 billion resort build-out became just another ghost town. They were going to hold the G8 Economic Summit there in June, but that didn’t work out too well. That Ukrainian mess and Russia’s Crimean invasion got in the way.

Manselius pleaded not guilty to trying to hijack the plane or causing any other type of problems in flight. He said he was just kidding, trying to entertain the other passengers. Hey, Manselius, I don’t need entertaining. We’re all a little paranoid already that some crazy person who managed to outfox security might do something to endanger us. There is a lot of space between cruising altitude and the ground, you know.

So next time you fly, do what the rest of us guys do. Read, watch a movie and try to ignore everyone near you. Have a few drinks to soothe the nerves. Then, after landing, ask one of the flight attendants to help you walk off the plane. And, if you see a friend named Jack, don’t say hi.