Flying today isn’t what it used to be. Between stressful security screenings, canceled flights, and lost luggage, there is no doubt that "flying the friendly skies" has become more of a myth than an expectation. What makes it worse is when both flight crew and fellow travelers have to deal with irritating passengers. Here are some of the most annoying passengers people have ever shared a flight with:
1. Baby Blues
I was a pilot flying from Chicago to Milwaukee and back. It was a four-day trip, so the crew and I definitely wanted to get on with it and go home. We were all boarded and waiting for the de-icing truck to come and spray us because it was snowing. After waiting for over an hour for the truck, they finally sprayed us down, and we started pushing back.
Suddenly, the flight attendant called up and told us there was a lady who wanted to get off the airplane. We told her she couldn’t, so the lady made a suspicious claim—she told the flight attendant that her baby was having a medical emergency and had to get off. Fine. We pulled back up to the gate and let her off. Mind you, the baby looked fine, but we asked her if she needed paramedics.
She denied medical attention and refused to take the baby to the clinic that was 50 feet away. They had checked bags, so we had to call ramp workers to dig through the cargo hold to find their bags. We were about two hours late at that point, but we finally had them off and were getting ready to go again. As we were getting ready to close the door, the gate agent ran up.
What she told us made us roll our eyes. She told us that when the lady found out that we were on the last flight to Milwaukee, she begged us to get back on the airplane and come with us. The captain and I looked at each other in shock, told the gate agent there was no way she was getting back on the airplane, and got out of there.
2. It Was A Sickening Experience
Once, I was flying to Boston and I sat by this guy, who was probably in his mid-30s. He looked extremely ill like he had the flu. I was sitting by the window, and he had the aisle seat. Once we were up at cruising altitude, I put my headphones on because I had a long flight and was hoping to get a nap in. I couldn’t hear anything when I had both earbuds in.
I had my eyes closed and was almost out when I suddenly felt my leg get wet and hot. As I opened my eyes, I saw the most disturbing sight— he had his head between his knees and he was vomiting profusely. I was not aware the human stomach could hold that much liquid. I sat there frozen in horror. The man had puked all over my leg, inside my shoe, his legs, and shoes.
The smell filled the cabin of the plane we were in, and I had nothing I could change into in my carry-on. After that, I always carried a spare set of clothes with me.
3. Two Peas In A Pod
I once got a seat next to a 6'6", 400 lb linebacker. He was a mammoth of a man. The armrests could not go down. His leg was on top of mine, and my torso hung out into the aisle. After takeoff, I got out of the seat and stood in the back of the plane until the final approach. The nice flight attendant said, "Sorry about that. I don't know why they put the two biggest guys next to each other". I smiled at first, but then it hit me—it was then that I realized I was the second FATTEST person on the plane.
4. Walk The Line
I was flying on standby from Des Moines to visit a friend in Mississippi. The flight was booked and it was scheduled to leave at 5:45 am. I was hoping that since it was so early, someone might miss an alarm and not make it so I could take their seat—but I had no such luck. I was bummed watching the last lady being wheel-chaired to the plane.
But then I had a glimmer of hope—Security told the lady at the gate that this woman was being wheeled to the gate because she was trashed, and it was up to the gate agent if she should be allowed on the plane. The gate attendant said if she could walk down the terminal to the plane without falling, she could fly. I watched in anticipation, hoping she would fall so I could take her seat.
Right at the point when she was almost at the plane, she face-planted and I lucked out.
5. All Fired Up
I used to work for an airline which meant I got to fly for free as a standby passenger. One day, I was taking a flight to New York, and there was a girl from our airline who worked as a gate agent on the flight with a bunch of her friends. There are a lot of rules that the airline makes you follow when you fly like this so you don't tarnish their image.
These girls boarded and immediately started acting stupid. It was warm in the plane, so clearly, the APU hadn't been connected to allow the plane power to run the AC. As soon as the APU was connected and activated, the AC was turned on, and something started blowing out the vents. The plane was fully boarded, but people were still putting stuff in the overheads.
What looked like steam, dust, or mist started coming out the vents. That's when the girls ruined everything. They yelled, "FIRE! THERE'S A FIRE ON THE PLANE"! Needless to say, the flight attendants did not find this hilarious, and they were all removed from the plane.
6. The Attendants Had To Weigh In On This Case
I was flying back from Hawaii. Everyone was boarding, and the overhead storage was almost completely full. This old man—who looked grouchy as heck—had just boarded and had one of the Economy Plus seats in the front of the plane. The bin above his seat was closed because it was packed. The old man opened the bin and grabbed a suitcase out of it.
Holding it up, he asked, "Whose bag is this"? The guy who owned the bag spoke up. The old man's next move had everybody's jaws drop. He threw it right in the middle of the aisle and yelled, "Well, find a new place for it! I paid $60 for this seat"! Meanwhile, there was still a line of people behind him waiting to get to their seats. The two men began arguing, and someone finally flagged down an attendant who diffused the situation.
They left the old man's bag where it was and put the other guy’s bag with the flight attendants' belongings. Later the attendants brought that guy a first-class dinner for having to deal with that nonsense.
7. All Revved Up With No Place To Go
When I was about eight years old, I flew to the US for the first time from England before finally moving there a year and a half later. It was an overnight flight that took off at about 10 pm. As an eight-year-old, I got bored about halfway through and I couldn't sleep. The flight was only about half full, so I started exploring. About five or six rows up was a fairly large gentleman who was still awake.
There was no one else around, so I started talking to him. He was friendly—he told jokes and he had candy. The flight attendant kept on bringing us drinks and peanuts long after they stopped serving everyone else, which was cool. They also kept apologizing to him and asking if he wanted them to make me leave him alone, which I thought was funny.
Sometime later, I ended up falling asleep next to him. He got me a blanket and let me rest. When I woke up, I was caught off-guard by the scene—my mother apologized profusely to him and dragged me away to the back of the plane. When we got to our seats, she scolded me for embarrassing her and then didn't talk to me for the remainder of the flight.
As we were getting off the plane, he came over and told my mother that it was OK and that I kept him entertained. He told her he hated flying by himself. Then, he gave me a hug and signed something for her. It wasn't till a few years later that she finally explained to me that the guy from the plane was Meatloaf. To this day, this is my coolest "I met a celebrity" story, especially when he hit it big again a few years after that.
8. She Was Out In A Flash
It was a bad weather day going into St. Louis, and we were struck by lightning. It happens. We were given priority to land because we couldn’t be sure what damage had occurred. Once on the ground, I did a walk around and saw the damage. The outbound flight—the last of the night—was canceled because the plane was down for what I thought were obvious reasons. We didn't have a hotel for the night, as we were supposed to take the plane back out.
So, while waiting for news from crew scheduling, we were supporting the gate agent. People were mad and insisted we take flight. I pointed out the window at the melted wingtip and large scorch mark on the aircraft. That's when one lady got in my face. She screamed, "Do you think I give a hoot about your paint job?! Get me on that plane and get me home, or you'll be sorry"! Needless to say, that lady didn't get on any flight with us the next day.
9. Citizen Sane?
My father worked for an airline for over 30 years. On a flight from JFK to Heathrow—post 9/11— while the plane was about 4th or 5th in line for take-off—a lady demanded to be let off the plane. The attendant naturally refused since the doors were closed and they were almost at the runway. The lady did NOT like hearing that—she went nuts and called emergency services from her cellphone.
She said she was an American citizen being held against her will on a foreign airline, and that they were about to take her to another country. In about three minutes, officers and FBI vans surrounded the plane, pulled her out, and grounded the flight pending further investigation. Ultimately, she was just a nutjob who ruined everyone's flight.
10. Short-Haul Fight
I used to regularly fly those tiny commuter planes that have one seat on one side, two on the other, and a total of 14 rows. Most of the time, it was fine—I would book one of the first few seats on the single-seat side. However, on one trip, I was unlucky enough to be in the first row of two, in the window seat. It was unfortunate because I am 6'2" with a broad football-player build.
I went to sit down and I asked the woman on the aisle if she wouldn't mind moving into the window. She responded with a chilling glare. After lots of groaning and moaning, she got up to let me through. As soon as I sat down, she immediately started hitting me with her elbows, trying to shove me off the armrest. It was futile, given that side of the plane physically prevented me from sitting up straight.
Not a word was said to me the entire time. She finally got angry enough that she pushed the call button and proceeded to berate the flight attendant about how inconsiderate it was to have me sitting there taking up her space and how she couldn’t sit like that for the entire 45-minute flight. Meanwhile, she still hadn’t said a single word to me.
After getting complained at, the flight attendant smirked...She knew exactly how to deal with her. She informed the woman that there was an empty seat, and moved her to the very last row of the plane. She complained the entire time about how this was nonsense, and that she was going to sue everyone.
11. The Perils Of Flying
I was a flight attendant for five years. During that time, I was punched in the face, pinched in the rear, spit on, and berated over the quality of ginger ale I served. I also had to deal with people leaving their bare feet on bulkhead walls, passengers trying to stow their luggage on my jumpseat shortly before landing, and couples trying to get it on in the galley. But the worst thing I've ever experienced?
I had trash dumped on my food tray while I was still eating from it.
12. It’s A Crab, Crab, Crab, Crab World
In the late 1970s, I was seated on a plane when noticed that a very young girl, about five at most, was flying unaccompanied. She was taken to her seat by her loving grandparents. They nestled a padded cooler under her feet and said goodbye, crying and holding tissues to their eyes. She was on her way back home to California from Maryland.
The attendants checked on her regularly, and she was very quiet and well behaved. However, she kept unbuckling her belt to bend down and unzip the cooler and check inside. She seemed to be getting more distressed as the flight from Maryland to California progressed. I finally smiled and asked her, "Do you have a pet mouse in there, or maybe a rabbit"?
She looked up at me and said, "No, it's Maryland crab cakes". Then she burst into tears. She told me, "Mommy said to bring home Maryland crab cakes, so Nana packed them. Mommy told me not to lose the crab cakes, or she'd spank me forever. What if someone takes my crab cakes"? Then, she just started to cry, saying, "I can't lose the crab cakes. I can't lose the crab cakes".
I was so heartbroken for this child who felt such pressure to deliver her mom's precious cargo to her. I said, "Let's lock them up with a magic key". We zipped up the cooler case, and I pretended I was locking it. I put my invisible key inside her pocket and said, "There. No one can take your crab cakes. Now you can take a nap or read if you like". She said, "Okay. You have to watch them for me also". I told her, "You bet".
Once we landed and she was taken off the plane by the attendant, her mother was waiting for her at the gate. She took the cooler from the girl and said, "Come on". The mom turned around and walked ahead of the girl, carrying the cooler, and didn't take the girl's hand or anything. The girl was ahead of me several paces and turned around and waved at me as she followed her crab cake delivery.
13. Navigation Situation
I was a pilot for a small company in northern Canada. The planes I fly have only eight seats, so when I have a full load of people, one person has to sit up front with me in the right seat. One time, I was flying with a full load, and the guy beside me was one of those cocky, annoying guys who think they're always right.
About five minutes after take-off, he asked me if I knew where we were. I told him exactly where we were, and then another couple of minutes later, he said we were going the wrong way. Being cautious, I checked my GPS and my other navigation aids, which all indicated I was on track to my destination. I told him he was mistaken and pointed straight ahead of us, telling him that was where we needed to go.
I thought he'd leave me alone after that, but he wouldn't quit. He then pointed over his right shoulder and said we should be heading back that way. By that time, I knew this guy was an idiot. For the rest of the flight, he just kept shaking his head, and I kept trying to ignore him. After we landed at our destination, I just gave him the "how about you just let the pilots do the navigating from now on" look.
15. She Didn’t Have A Leg To Stand On
I was flying from Miami to NYC. It seemed like I was going to have an empty seat beside me, which I was pretty pumped about since I hadn't really slept in three days. Just as everyone was seated, the girl in front of me began complaining to the flight attendant. Her matter of life-and-death? She claimed that she had paid for extra leg room and that her seat didn't have any.
She was INSISTING that she be given a seat closer to the front of the plane. The flight attendant didn't appear to have any idea what she was talking about and she told her that they couldn't move her up. After a tremendous amount of moaning, the girl finally gave up, and the flight attendant got on with her take-off duties.
The flight attendant came back a short while later since the girl was now seated in the emergency exit row. The attendant went over to give the little speech about what you need to do in case of an emergency and asked if they were willing to do that. This girl said no, she wouldn’t do it. She probably figured this would get her moved somewhere towards the front of the plane.
The flight attendant looked at the empty seat beside me and told the girl she could move back to that seat if she refused to sit beside the emergency exit. That's when she went absolutely bananas. She freaked out that she was being forced to a seat further back in the plane. She complained so much, that the pilot came out. The whole crew decided she had to be removed from the plane.
16. She Raised A Stink
My husband was flying home from Hawaii. While he was waiting to board the plane, he noticed a distinct smell of body odor. He was panicking, wondering if it was him. As he was trying to surreptitiously sniff his armpits, he noticed that a bunch of the other people waiting was all doing the exact same thing. Figuring that it was either someone else or that there was a stockpile of raw onions nearby, he stopped to think about it until they boarded.
Because of all his frequent flier miles, he was in first class, in the aisle seat. He sat down and pulled out a book. The window seat next to him was empty and stayed that way for a while, so he thought, "Cool! An empty row"! Then, just as boarding was finishing, suddenly, this horrible, pungent smell filled the cabin. The reactions were priceless—It was so bad that every passenger in first class reacted, snapping their heads up to see what in the smelly earth had just walked on the plane.
It was a young-ish woman—probably late 20s, early 30s; very hippie-chick style—wearing a flowy top over a tank top. She smelled like she had not bathed in days. She plopped herself down right next to my husband. My husband was a seasoned traveler, so he was used to a lot, and his tolerance was pretty high, but this woman's smell was so bad that his eyes immediately started watering.
The flight attendant came over and the woman ordered a Mai Tai. Then she pulled out a book and started highlighting passages. Meanwhile, call buttons were lighting up like crazy, with pretty much every other passenger on the plane complaining about being stuck in a metal box from Hawaii to LA with someone who smelled like she had never bathed.
Over the next fifteen minutes, while this woman sat there reading, my husband watched as the poor flight attendants were having multiple whispered, nervous conversations at the front of the plane. My husband alternated between texting me in horror and making eye contact with the attendants. He was doing the "wide eyes of terror" at them, and they were nodding and wide-eying him right back.
My husband was nervous that he was going to get a migraine because the smell was so overwhelming, and people nearby were wrapping their shirts around their faces to combat the odor. Finally, the gate agent approached. She asked the woman to follow her to the front, where apparently, they gave her some soap, and a new shirt and sent her into the bathroom. They thought that would fix it, but they were so wrong.
A few minutes later, she emerged wearing a new shirt but still smelling atrocious. She sat back down and promptly ordered another drink. Another few minutes passed, with more silent "help me" looks from my husband, as well as increasingly not-so-silent complaints from other passengers nearby. Finally, it became apparent that if action wasn’t taken, there was going to be a mutiny in the first class cabin.
Two agents approached the row. This lady had the window seat and my husband was in the aisle, so this entire conversation had to take place with him awkwardly in the middle, pressing himself against his seat back. The agents leaned in and told the woman that, unfortunately, she couldn’t ride on the plane because she smelled so bad, that she wasn’t fit to fly. She was incredulous and kept saying, "Just because you think I smell"? and "This sounds like a lawsuit to me".
Meanwhile, the agents were being as friendly as they could be, explaining that they would happily put her up in a hotel for the night so she could take a shower but they couldn’t allow her to board another Delta plane until she had cleaned herself off. She didn't make that much of a scene, and they all gathered her things and walked off together.
Right before she stood up, she complained that she had an important meeting back in LA and absolutely had to fly out that afternoon. One of the attendants took the opportunity to make a clever remark: "Well, we can't help you, but I think there's still room on a United flight"! My husband said it was one of the most surreal travel experiences ever.
17. Mind Your Manners!
I was a flight attendant. I had a particularly unbearable woman on a flight going to Montreal. First, she made a rude comment about the plane's size and how small it was. Then she had a huge fit because I told her that her roller bag wouldn't fit on the plane and needed to be gate checked. She just thought I was out to get her when I told her that—per FAA regulations—she couldn't have a seatbelt extension in the exit row.
It only got worse from there. When it came time for the service, I burned my hand on the coffee pot while pouring her cup, but the coffee wasn't hot enough for her, and she demanded another cup. I told her there was no way I could make it any hotter. She also mumbled something derogatory about me as she passed me on her way to the lavatory because I was having a friendly conversation with the two guys in the last row.
It's as if people leave their manners at home when they fly somewhere.
There were a couple of WWF—now WWE—wrestlers on a regional flight that was about to land. One of them needed to go to the lavatory. Since you’re not permitted to leave your seat when the plane is about to land, the flight attendant told him no. So, he decided to take matters into his own hands—and he went in the aisle instead. The wrestler was taken into custody and banned from the airline.
19. Go On, Get Out!
My mom was a pilot for Northwest Airlines. A man came onto her airplane, took one look at her, and made the most insulting remark: "Ugh, a woman captain. I'm getting off". She replied, "Good, get off my airplane. There are people waiting on the standby list to get on". The guy turned right around and got back on. We figured that he wanted her to submit and ask him nicely to come back, which she wasn’t about to do under any circumstances.
20. In Poor Taste
I was on a Vegas to Boston flight when some poor guy passed on the plane. We diverted to New York, and emergency personnel carried him off the plane. His widow was also taken off the plane. Just before we took off to resume our flight, some jerk in the front row looked at the clearly stricken flight attendant and he asked her a totally unnecessary question: "Do all get free drinks now?" Talk about inconsiderate.
21. Nicotine Fit
I was on a non-stop flight from Phoenix to London. I had another passenger at the gate before we got on the plane strike up a conversation with me. Apparently, this young man had never been overseas but had come across a good deal on the internet and decided to get on this flight. He asked me how long the flight was. I told him it was 12 hours.
He started to get really nervous because I also told him that smoking on flights had been banned at least 15 years prior. Once we were on the flight and in midair over the Atlantic, he started to exhibit nerve-wracking behavior—he would pace up and down the aisles, clearly having a nicotine fit. The flight attendants told him multiple times to sit down. Eventually, he disappeared.
I got up to go to the bathroom just as he was coming out with a massive cloud of smoke. I could see through the door that he had smeared hand soap all over the bathroom walls and used it to write on the mirror. By the time I came out of the bathroom, the flight attendants were talking to him, trying to calm him down. He wasn't being hostile, but he was still defiant.
As we made our approach to Heathrow, he jumped up and started pacing the aisles again. The flight attendants yelled at him to sit down. He did not. As soon as the flight touched down, the captain came on the loudspeaker and told everyone to stay in their seats while the authorities came on to remove a passenger. Everyone stayed where they were, and officers came on. That's when the guy totally lost it.
He took a shot at the first officer and kicked the second one. They had him in handcuffs in no time and were taking him off the plane. A few other passengers started to cheer while they led him out. I have seen similar things to this over the years; however, that incident was the weirdest.
22. Diamond Medallion Dimwit
My worst experience came from one of Delta's "Diamond Medallion" members. Our plane had broken down in Memphis. The gate agent had just made the announcement that we were delayed due to maintenance. The mechanic had been called and was on his way out. There was no known estimated time for the repair because the mechanic would have to do some troubleshooting, and only then would we know how long it would take to fix it.
This guy called me over and he gave me the most pompous attitude ever: "I'm a Delta Diamond Medallion member, so tell me exactly how long this delay is going to be". I was like, "What"? I told everyone EXACTLY what I knew, and I couldn’t care less about someone’s airline status.
23. There Was No Shaving Face
I had a 20-something-year-old girl going to see her significant other. She needed to shave, so she did so in the bathroom. However, what was supposed to be a smooth ride turned ugly real quick— turbulence ensued, and she cut herself very badly. We had to bring paramedics in and they carried her out. After we unloaded the flight, the co-pilot noticed a trail of her blood down the jetway.
Turns out, she hadn’t cut her leg—it was actually just her time of the month...I felt so bad for her and I hope she's doing okay.
24. A Minor Inconvenience
I once had two unaccompanied minors traveling together. Just after we pushed back from the gate, the eight-year-old boy started to have a panic attack and said he couldn't fly, so we pulled back to the gate. The pilot announced that we were returning to the gate so that paramedics could come on and take a child off the plane.
He didn't mention what the medical issue was, just that a child was sick. Everyone seemed understanding, except this one lady who really got on my nerves. She immediately hit her call button and very crassly suggested that we better make sure that we hold the plane for her in Atlanta since we were obviously going to be late now. The whole episode amounted to about a 30-minute delay, and no one missed their connections.
It was one of only a handful of times I wanted to punch a passenger.
25. He Got Called Out
My mom had boarded a flight that was sitting on the tarmac about to pull away from the gate. Sitting next to her in first class was a typical business guy who was on a phone call yelling at someone on the other end. A very nice flight attendant came over, leaned over my mom, and said, "Sir, you're going to have to turn the phone off. The cabin doors are closed".
The guy quieted down but did not get off his phone. At that point, the flight attendants were doing the safety protocol speech as the plane backed up. All of the sudden, the guy started yelling again on the phone. Another flight attendant—this time more forceful—told him to turn off the phone. The man turned to her and cursed at her. She gave this "humph" face, then went out of sight.
My mom heard a door slam open and the pilot came out of the cockpit. He was so angry you could see the veins on his face. His eyes bulged as he yelled in rage, "WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HER?!!? This is my aircraft, and in case of an emergency, I expect every passenger to follow the commands of my air staff. You disrespecting her disrespects me, and that puts every person on this plane at risk"!
The guy was now being borne down upon by this massive angry ex-soldier pilot. He cowered, put away his phone, and stammered an apology. Without missing a beat, the pilot continued, "You can take your sorry and shove it! You are not going anywhere! It is a federal crime to disobey an order from your aircrew, and you can tell whoever was so important on the other end of the phone call that fact after you talk to TSA".
The pilot went back into the cockpit and pulled the plane back to the gate. Some uniformed officers came in and took the guy off. There was complete silence on the plane. After that, everyone in unison took out their phones, waved them in the air, and showed that they were clearly in the off position—just like the "tickets" scene from Indiana Jones.
26. This Flight Went Down The Toilet
As an aircraft engineer, I would travel on a lot of different airlines. However, the story that will haunt me forever is when I flew on a Nigerian budget airline. I don't think half of the passengers had ever seen a toilet before, let alone used one. They were urinating into water bottles, and I saw a couple of "presents" in the aisle. Luckily, I was jump seating in the flight deck, but the smell was incredibly strong and made me gag a few times.
It was the worst three hours of my life.
27. Move It!
I was on a flight from Frankfurt to Montreal, and a guy was sitting in the middle section of the aisle with an empty seat next to him. This woman and her young daughter, who was about seven or eight years old, came up and politely told this man that his seat and the one next to his were their seats. The man refused to move. The woman politely asked him to move again, but things just got worse from that point on.
The man didn't want to move and started crossing his arms like a child and pouting. The woman told him that her daughter had never flown before and would appreciate two seats next to each other so that she could sit with her daughter—no dice. They proceeded to argue, and the man yelled at the woman, telling her she was a horrible person. We stood up to offer our seats to the woman, but before we could say anything, she flipped the guy off.
I wanted to applaud her.
28. Stow Rude!
I had a sizable layover once of about three hours. I found my gate, which just happened to be right across from a bar. I settled in and had a good time. Once boarding began, I calmly made my way to the plane when I found out I was at the wrong gate. That was bad enough, but then I had an even worse realization—I wasn’t even at the correct terminal. I booked it and heard them page me by name just as I reached the gate.
I was panting as I made my way down the aisle to a woman insisting her bags would fit. Apparently, she couldn't check her bags because she had this back condition. Meanwhile, this tiny flight attendant was doing her best to heave this extremely heavy bag with no success. Once I sufficiently caught my breath, I took over. The passenger had taken her seat, buckled up, and took out a book while the flight attendant and I struggled to stow her stuff.
29. This Travel Companion Was Bananas
My mother was a flight attendant for TWA since the 1960s, so she had seen many things that people could never get away with now. Once, a man who was about 5’2", wearing a tweed suit and round glasses, came onto the plane. He strapped his bag into the seat next to him. My mother informed him that he had to put the bag in storage.
He very politely showed her that he had a ticket for it. When she came back later, she became disturbed by what she saw—in place of the bag was a deceased stuffed monkey that the man was having a conversation with. He politely asked my mom for a banana, to which he then attempted to feed to the monkey. This went on for the whole trip. He then packed up the monkey at the end of the flight.
30. Flight Attendant Flip Out
We had boarded a plane, and everyone was getting settled in when a woman across the aisle and a few rows up called for the flight attendant. Apparently, she had gone to put something in the airsick bag, and when she stuck her hand in there, it was full of puke, and it got all over her hand. I was only a few rows back, so I could hear the entire exchange.
She politely asked the flight attendant for some napkins. The guy was snippy with her and disappeared. He didn't come back for almost five minutes, and meanwhile, this poor woman had someone else's puke all over her hand. Eventually, she called for him, and the flight attendant FLIPPED OUT. He must have been having a bad day or something because this woman was really chill, considering she had puke on her.
The flight attendant ended up booting her off the flight. It was quite the scene because the man was actually yelling at this poor woman—all because she asked for some napkins. The rest of us just sat there in stunned silence because no one else wanted to deal with this unstable man. We were all worried if we said something, we would get kicked off too.
31. One Wine Day
I was on a flight from Lithuania to the UK. Five to ten minutes after liftoff, the flight attendant stopped next to a young lady wearing a nice white dress and asked if she needed any medical help. There was some red spreading stain on her shoulder, which looked very much like blood. The lady seemed pretty surprised.
It appears that someone somehow managed to sneak in a few bottles of red which cracked and started slowly dripping onto the people sitting beneath. No one confessed ownership of the bag, so the attendant took it and carried it away.
32. No Empathy Here
I was in X-ray school at the time, and my teacher and I were flying back from an annual conference in Las Vegas. A woman two rows behind me started having a seizure. No one seemed to care, and her husband was completely clueless as to how to help. My teacher was quick to jump out of her seat and called me to help. We attempted to lift all of about 300 pounds of her and get her to where she was lying on her side in the aisle.
No one helped us. Everyone just stared. I understand why people don't want to help or can't, and I am totally cool with that. However, that's not even what really got me...When we landed, the pilot asked everyone to remain seated until the EMTs got her and her husband off first. No one listened. They tried getting off the plane before she had been strapped to the backboard and didn't care.
As my teacher and I were helping the EMTs tell people to remain seated, a man got up and yelled at my teacher. We were floored. I was shocked at the lack of empathy these people had.
33. Mother Of All Brats
I was a kid I was traveling back from spending a few weeks with my grandparents who lovingly dropped me off at the gate. It was an uneventful flight apart from the wonderful flight attendants who doted over me. The plane landed, and one of the attendants escorted me out to the waiting crowd of people looking for their loved ones—including my mother—who hadn't seen me in several weeks.
She was waving and jumping up and down as soon as I came through the departure door. The flight attendant saw my mother and the excitement in her and asked me, "Is that your mother"? I immediately gave a deadpan reply that made her raise her eyebrows: "I've never seen that woman in my life". The following 20 minutes included security interrogating my mother on her identity and her relationship with me, having to prove that she was, indeed, my mother.
She never forgave me for that, but the laughs within the family from the story were well worth it.
34. No Rest For The Wicked
I was flying from London to Egypt on a budget airline. Hence, there was virtually no leg room, and the seats wouldn't recline. As a 6'4" person, this sucked enough. I was making the best of it when all of a sudden, I felt someone behind me punching my chair. Not shoving, but full-on punching. I turned around to see what was going on, and there was a young woman—about 18–20 years old—who started shouting and screaming at me.
Her words made my blood boil. "Do you mind? I've been trying to sleep for the entire flight with my head on the tray, and you keep moving your seat and waking me up"! I looked around me and everyone seemed thoroughly confused except one guy who just shrugged. I politely informed her that the tray was for putting food on and was not a headrest which gave her reason to launch a string of verbal harassment my way.
At that point, the air stewardess arrived and told her to stop swearing and shouting because it was disturbing the other passengers. She tried to defend herself by saying I wouldn't let her sleep because I was moving in my chair. The flight attendant had to hold back her laughter.
35. The Far Out Smell
Once, I got on a flight of more than three hours, and I just happened to be sitting in the center of three rows of the dirtiest hippies I had ever seen. I've worked in some nasty conditions and smelled pretty ripe at the end of a day, but these people put that to shame. The smell was beyond description. It was a living, breathing entity of foulness and decay. Skunks three counties over were crying.
I have smelled the stench of a rotting human body, and these people trumped that smell. I called a flight attendant over and pointedly asked her if there was a hygiene rule for passengers. She got my drift immediately. She quickly got the captain, who didn't even make it past the curtain between first class and business, when I heard him exclaim, "Oh heck no. Kick them off the plane. This is a 15-hour flight; no one deserves to be subjected to that".
Two attendants descended upon the group, and they didn't mess around. They politely but firmly informed them, "Due to the lack of hygiene, we're going to have to ask you to deplane and find a shower. We're more than happy to recommend a hotel and to have you back on the next flight once you've cleaned up". There was some grumbling, but for the most part, they went peacefully.
I didn't feel bad. Seven standbys got to fly to Sydney on the cheap, and I didn't have to smell the human equivalent of a sewage treatment plant for 15 hours.
36. A Chimp Off The Old Block
My sister-in-law was flying to Texas to look at schools with my mother-in-law. They were flying on miles and had been upgraded to first class. Walking in front of them into the first class cabin was a larger woman with an elaborate Amy Winehouse-style hairdo. She was gregarious and funny and talked with all the other passengers and flight attendants.
She looked like just another Dallas housewife going home to her rhinestone-encrusted house and 20 foot-long-Cadillac with bull horns, so they didn’t think much of it. Little did we know the chaos she would soon cause. Forty minutes into the two-and-a-half-hour flight, my sister-in-law heard a strange keening sound, like a rabbit that had been injured or a baby at the beginning of a tantrum.
She looked around a bit, didn’t see anything, and returned to reading. A couple of minutes later, she heard the same sound, only this time it was louder and seemed to be coming from behind her. Again she looked around, didn’t see anything, and returned to her business. This was a year before 9/11, so things were not quite as fear-laden as they are now.
However, when she heard the noise a third time, she started to freak out a bit. Looking around again, she got the attention of the businessman sitting across the aisle, who was typing madly away at his laptop. She asked him, "Do you hear that noise"? Without looking up from his screen, he simply said, "Monkey", and gestured with his head behind him.
My sister-in-law craned her head around and she saw a shocking sight—emerging from the large woman's beehive hairdo was a gray baby monkey, wearing diapers, all hairy arms, and legs, screaming like a hungry baby for a bottle. Sure enough, to complete the picture, the woman then took the monkey off her head, pulled a bottle from her enormous Louis Vuitton handbag, and started nursing the monkey right there on the flight like it was a real baby.
37. Blinded By The Light
When I was flying night helicopter tours up and down the Las Vegas strip, people would regularly take flash photos during the flight despite being told several times that no flash photography was permitted. It just blows my mind that people would think it's OK to temporarily blind the pilot who's flying them.
38. He Was A Total Headcase
Once, I was on a full flight and watched a guy pitch a huge fit when the flight attendant put someone else's bag in the overhead above him. He demanded that space remain free because he was afraid of getting hit in the head. The bag wound up in that space because the flight was full. He threatened to sue the airline, the attendant, and the owner of the bag if anything happened to him.
At the end of the flight, he stood up, opened the overhead across the aisle, and pulled out his own bag. He wasn't concerned about his bag hitting someone else on the head.
39. Seat Swapper
I was returning from a business trip, and as I was boarding the plane, I noticed that a middle-aged guy was sitting in my seat. I looked at him and pointed out he was in the wrong seat. He looked at me and said, "That's my seat there, directly across the aisle. Does it really matter"? He was telling me that I should just take his seat.
I was a little aggravated but just responded, "Not really". Then, as I sat down, I realized that his taking my seat wasn't by accident. There was a man in shoddy clothing with longer dreadlock-like hair under a cap sitting in the seat next to the one this guy should have had. That's when I realized what this jerk was up to.
He didn't mistakenly take my seat. He just didn't want to sit next to this other guy. I sat down, exchanged a polite greeting with the shoddy-dressed man, and then cast a glare at the guy across the aisle. Not because I had to sit there, but because of how the poor guy next to me must have felt because of what that idiot did. It took more than a little self-control for me not to reach across the aisle and hand that guy a beating.
40. He Was Berry Irate
We used to serve special meals on transcontinental flights. You had to place the order online at check-in for both directions. There were many problems with that, but usually, people understood and accepted whatever we could offer as an alternative. However, one guy threw a fit. He accused us of eating his meal or serving it to someone else.
I showed him the list, and his name wasn’t on it. He continued to throw a fit, saying, "What is my daughter going to eat" etc. After we served everyone else, we had one fruit plate remaining. So, we gave it to him for his daughter, who was probably about three years old. His next move made our blood boil—the guy proceeded to eat it himself. He then continued to berate us for the remainder of the flight about what his daughter was going to eat.
Transcontinental flights are 4–5 hours long, so it’s a long time to deal with one passenger. Also, the crew was not stocked with food for themselves, meaning unless we wanted to purchase food at the airport, we hoped something was leftover from the passenger meals. That fruit plate was supposed to be mine.
41. It Was A Kick In The Rear
My friend was on a flight. Right after touching down, a lady from the back unbuckled herself and ran to the front of the plane during taxiing to get off first, even though the buckled-in flight attendants were telling her to remain in her seat. She kept saying she had to get off fast to make her connecting flight. After arriving at the gate, the pilot decided to subtly teach her a lesson.
He announced over the intercom that the jetway had an issue, and the plane would be de-boarding from the rear doors. The looks of satisfaction on all the other passengers’ faces were delightful.
42. Infantile Behavior
On a long flight from Hawaii to Denver, a father who was in the row behind my family and me noticed that we had exit row seats that had lots of leg room. Meanwhile, his seats had barely any. He was not happy that we had these seats and decided to tell almost all of the flight attendants to switch his family to our seats because he had no leg room. But that's not all...
He also claimed that my brother and I weren't old enough to help in case of an emergency. The problem was that he had two infants with him, so his reasoning made absolutely no sense. The flight attendants had enough of it after a while and just ignored him. He gave us dirty looks when we exited the plane, but I just winked at him and laughed.
43. Nailed It!
I fly weekly. Once, I was sitting in the aisle seat and saw a guy walking toward me. I actually smelled him from about three rows away. He stank of profuse sweat and turned out to have the middle seat next to me. Across the aisle was a hippy old lady. She had a long skirt on, and I noticed she had her feet up on her seat.
Then, I saw that she had a nail clipper out and was cutting her toenails. Suddenly, the most disgusting thing happened—a toenail flew across in front of my face and hit my sweaty neighbor. He became enraged, and an argument ensued between the two most disgusting people ever about who was the most repulsive human being. The outrage the sweaty guy had at her bad manners had me laughing so hard I forgot about the smell.
44. Under Pressure
Years ago, we were flying a bunch of rich kids to Chicago for a football game in a Citation jet. They were in the back boozing it up and getting rowdy, which is usually fine, but after a while, they got so loud and unruly that we had trouble hearing the radios and holding a heading. My captain looked at me, rolled his eyes, and put on his oxygen mask. Then, we proceeded with our devious plan—we turned the pressure down in the cabin and put them all to sleep.
They never had a clue.
45. Pedicure Prima Donna
I was flying from Las Vegas to LA when some little twit in back of me started painting her nails or removing her nail polish. At first, I didn't know where the smell was coming from and thought to myself, "it smells like acid in here". Then, I realized it was a nail product. The air wasn't filtering the stench, and the whole plane could smell it.
The flight attendant came over and told her to put it away because it was noxious. The girl then said, "Just let me finish my last two nails". The attendant was in disbelief and ordered her to put it away. The attendant then announced on the loudspeaker that the smell was coming from some passenger who insisted on doing her nails on the plane and took a little poke at her.
46. Case Closed!
When I was about 13 or so, I was flying from the Bahamas to Miami on the way back from a family vacation. It was a short and quick flight. My father, my brother—who was 17 at the time—and I boarded the plane. My dad put all of our carry-ons in the overhead bin above us, and we sat down, waiting for the plane to take off.
A couple in their early 20s walked onto the plane just before they closed the cabin door. They sat across from us and looked for a place to put their luggage. There were no spots left in the overhead bin, so the gentleman discretely took out my father’s bag, placed it on the ground, put his bag in, and closed the bin. Then, he just sat down with his girlfriend as if it was OK to pull such a move. My dad was NOT having any of it.
My father, who was a Bronx native in his 60s–70s, wasn’t very appreciative of this. He stood out of the aisle, yanked the guy’s bag out of the overhead bin, body slammed the bag into his lap, screaming, "THIS IS YOUR BAG"! He then shoved his own bag back into the overhead bin, slamming it shut, and screamed, "THIS IS MY BAG"! Everyone was in complete silence.
I had never seen my father turn into the Hulk before, so I was amazed, shocked, and scared. The guy awkwardly and shamefully got a flight attendant to find space for his luggage. He then literally flew the entire flight, which was only 50 minutes long, with a magazine over his face avoiding all eye contact with anyone.
47. That Shore Was A Close One
I used to be a flight attendant. During one flight, while we were over the Atlantic and in the middle of the night, a woman clearly not in her right mind tried to open the toilet door right beside door 4R. However, she didn't realize her potentially life-threatening mistake—she was pulling the aircraft door handle!!! She managed to raise it all the way up. I was at the beginning of coach class watching her.
The entire cabin was dark, and the light from the back galley was showing me this incredible picture of this woman trying to open the door. Luckily, it was impossible to open that door under those circumstances, but that image was burned into my brain forever. We restrained the passenger, lowered the lever, and I went to the cockpit to report the incident.
The only upside for me was looking at the pilot's white face when he left the cockpit after watching an alarm going off about the lock on door 4R right in the middle of the Atlantic.
48. Here Kitty, Kitty
My godfather was a flight attendant since the late '80s. Over the years, he's had some great stories. One time, one of his passengers brought her cat on board in a pet carrier. At first glance, this woman seemed to be the stereotypical crazy cat lady. However, she took crazy cat lady-ness to a new frontier, particularly when it came to the cat's feeding time.
Instead of cat food and a bowl of water, this woman pulled out her bosom and proceeded to breastfeed the cat. I don't want to think about how much that must have hurt. Needless to say, my godfather was unamused and firmly asked her to stop.
49. She Was In Hot Soup
Older Southwest planes used to have lounge seating up front where first class would typically be with two rows of seating that faced each other. That would mean a person would be staring directly at a stranger for hours. The plane was full, and pre-9/11, you could bring a ton of stuff on board. The flight attendant was going through the aisles trying to get everyone to put their things in the overhead because the floor was filled with everyone's stuff.
The woman in front of me had a lunch cooler-type bag. The attendant asked if there was any liquid in it, and the woman said, "No", so the attendant put it above my seat. The woman across from the lunch cooler lady had a massive floor-length fur coat on her lap. The flight attendant told her it had to go in the above compartment.
That's when the woman, out of nowhere, flipped out. She began arguing loudly about how her coat cost as much as a car and stuffing it into a small space would ruin it. The flight attendant was on the verge of calling the pilot over to settle it when the woman gave in reluctantly. The attendant assured her she would be very, very careful not to compress it too much. It too went into the compartment over my seat.
Thirty minutes into the flight, the guy next to me perked up suddenly and asked me, "Did you feel something"? A second later, I did. Something was dripping on us. I looked up, and there were lines of fluid all over the button area and what started as an occasional drip was now a drip a second in several places. The attendant came over and searched through the overhead. What she found made her gasp.
The lunch cooler bag contained a huge thermos full of chicken soup. The lunch cooler woman declared she didn't count it as a liquid earlier because it was in a sealed container. Then, out came the coat, completely soaked in chicken soup. Thus began the great stare-down between the two women who were sitting across from each other.
50. What A Drip!
My dad was going on vacation. Everyone was well into the flight when this guy in a nice suit had this liquid pouring onto him from the overhead cabin. The guy screamed out, "WHAT IS THIS"?! Without missing a beat, this little old lady with a thick southern accent spoke up. The odd truth was then revealed: "Das my shrimp"! She was somehow able to get frozen shrimp on the plane. It was a rough day for that poor guy.
Sources: Reddit .