Best Practices in Flugdólgar Management

Perhaps you have seen the increasingly wacky story going around the internets about the guy who flew back to New York on an Icelandair flight just after New Year’s (not our friend, and not our friend’s flight, luckily) after imbibing a full bottle of duty-free liquor (licorace-flavored Topaz, which for reference, is simply awful). The man, who was identified today as an Icelander, became disorderly and violent, reportedly spitting on fellow passengers, hitting people, and screaming that the plane was going to crash. Things progressed to the point that the man was eventually restrained by crew and fellow passengers and bound with duct tape and cable wires. (There is, of course, a photo of this spectacle going around, but I’ll leave you to follow the links.)

While this may have been the flight from hell for the other passengers and the flight crew, it does make for a pretty engaging anecdote for the rest of us to read about, and presumably, report on, as there have been dozens of stories about it thus far, in both English language and Icelandic papers. (It’s worth noting here that for whatever reason, it doesn’t look like the guy will face charges, although he has been banned for flying Icelandair for some time.)

But let’s not leave this just at amusing reading. Let’s make it a teaching moment. Because, other than demonstrating the best practices in restraining crazy drunks on airplanes (duct tape, of course–the classics are best), this incident has also gifted me two amazing vocab words, which I am now regifting to you:

1. Flugdólgur (plural: flugdólgar) — air hooligan via The Reykjavík Grapevine:

The articles in Iceland speculate on the nationality of the suspect. Guðjón [ed note: the spokesperson for Icelandair] would not disclose the suspect’s nationality, but at least one witness believes he is Icelandic. The cause for the speculation is related to the word used in the article to describe the suspect, flugdólgur; literally “air hooligan”. This word was invented by the Icelandic media in the late 90s to describe the behaviour of drunken airplane passengers, many of them Icelanders, who have been arrested for disorderly conduct in flight.

Something to bear in mind for future flights, I suppose.

2.  Berserksgang — smooth translation: to go on a rampage, go berserk / awesome, more literal translation: to go on a berserker walk via Morgunblaðið:

Bandaríska stórblaðið The New York Post greinir ítarlega frá atvikinu, sem varð um borð í flugvél Icelandair á leið til New York í fyrradag þegar ölvaður íslenskur karlmaður gekk berserksgang og óla þurfti hann niður. Þar segir að farþegar hafi þurft að halda manninum niðri.

here’s my best shot at a general–not great, and not word for word–translation:

The American newspaper The New York Post reported the details of the incident, which took place on board an Icelandair flight on its way to New York the day before yesterday [ed note: Thursday, January 3] when a drunk Icelandic man went on a rampage and had to be restrained. It said that the passengers had to hold the man down.

I know that the phrase “go berserk” is common in English, but I think “berserksgang” really takes it to 11. He didn’t just get out of control. He went berserksgang! Excellent vocab! Much appreciated, crazy Icelandair passenger!

6 thoughts on “Best Practices in Flugdólgar Management

    • In life, absolutely. In Icelandic, probably. I unfortunately do not know what these various hooligans would be called, but the delightful thing is that mushing together multiple words to create a very precise new word is totally the done thing in Icelandic. So let’s do it!

      Dólgur means “bully” or “ruffian” (or hooligan). So:

      Water hooligan (what is this, exactly?): vátnadólgur

      Space hooligan (my favorite kind–like a David Bowie astronaut gone mad): himingeimadólgur

      Soccer hooligan (there has to already be a word for this): knattspyrnudólgar

      And there you have it. An excellent exercise, @jasonallthetime.

  1. Wonderful! I was hoping you’d be able to make up words as you went along.

    And, I imagined a water hooligan to be a passenger on a Titanic-esque ocean liner, who gets drunk on sherry and has to be bound to the mast with duct tape.

    I also figured the space hooligan to be some kind of David Bowie from labyrinth character, but maybe in the ISS – and causing trouble.

    And I am surprised there isn’t already a soccer hooligan word! Though, are the Icelanders as ruff when it comes to losing in organized sport?

    One more: bedroom hooligan (this one might need a bit more finesse, if you know what I mean).

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