Prepare For Take-Off: In-Flight Horror Stories
They say riding on an airplane is statistically a lot safer than riding in a car, but that doesn’t mean mishaps can’t happen in the former. The scary part is, when things do go awry during a flight, there’s nowhere to go—every single passenger is left stranded thousands of miles up in the sky, and only time can tell what their fates will be. Read on for some real in-flight horror stories that will make you reconsider booking that plane ticket:
1. That Doesn’t Sound Too Good…
About to land, typical message from the pilot talking about the weather, etc. Then at the end of the speech he exclaims, “NO DON’T TOUCH THA-” with a swift termination of the loudspeaker soon following.
2. A Pittance For Your Troubles
At 20,000 feet, the O2 masks come down. Loonngg silence from the crew. Finally, the pilot comes on with the horrible news. He says lots of electrical systems are out and we’re landing at a small airport in nine minutes. The descent was on full air brakes, which made the flight loud and shaking, with kids screaming because their ears were hurting, and parents screaming at their kids to blow while holding their noses.
The adult behind us was slapping his thighs and shouting endlessly “Oh no. Oh no.” BUT… we got an $8 voucher for lunch at the airport while we waited for a new plane. There was no one else in the terminal when we landed, but to get our $8 lunch vouchers, we had to prove we were on the flight by showing our ticket. There was a one-line report in the FAA documents saying “multiple electrical failure.”
It was not a lightning strike since the weather was clear where we were. There was no depressurization, either. As we landed, a big thunderstorm hit the airport from the opposite direction, and that is why we had to land so quickly. My wife and I were actually quite calm during the event, holding hands. Afterward, we slept for most of three days straight.
3. Let’s Put a Smile on That Face
Was on a Chicago-DC flight a few years back (pre-9/11), and the guy sitting next to me takes out this ginormous Crocodile Dundee pocketknife, flips it open, then spends the entire flight cutting the faces off people in the in-flight magazine. Eeep.
4. Bad Luck Comes In Twos
I was on Japan Airlines, and it was an eight-hour flight to Australia. Probably the best and also worst flight I had been on. Best as in there were literally only 20 passengers including myself, a fully staffed crew, and the catering was stocked. We got to sit anywhere we wanted and they allowed us to stretch out over three seats and sleep. The sake and food were flowing because they had enough for a full flight. Sounds like heaven, right? Wrong.
50 minutes in, a strange older couple comes and sits in the seats behind me. They had the whole plane to themselves but decided to sit there and be LOUD. I put my earphones on and ignore them. A few minutes later, they come and sit right next to me and begin to talk to me about how awesome it is having the plane so empty, and if I like new things because they only liked new and exciting things.
This went on for about 30 minutes. At this point, I’m trying to be polite and tell them I’m going to move to another seat to read my book. I moved as far away as I could, asked for some more sake, and sat down. Wouldn’t you know it, 10 minutes later, there’s the old couple again, and again, they sit right next to me. This time, the crew were handing out food, so they just decided to come over and have it with me and keep talking about the incredible book they had read called The Matrix.
I get an hour lecture on how the moon is hollow and sounds like a bell when you ring it. I try to eat my food in peace while they go on about new and exciting things. After a couple of times moving to a different seat and them not getting the hint, I just wanted to be left alone. I gave up and I told them I was going to watch a movie. The guy kept interrupting me every chance he got, and to top it all off, his wife was doing this weird chicken dance in front of me every 30 minutes to keep her blood going.
I will never forget it and it will haunt me for the rest of my life. The last hour of the flight they fell asleep and I legged it to a seat right at the back in a random place and finally had peace. The empty plane ride was already ruined, so I just ordered more sake and made the most of it.
5. No Cracking up in the Air
Sitting on a 10-hour flight next to someone who obviously was really messed up on something. Doesn’t sound that scary, but I was a high schooler who had no experience at all with that kind of thing. Ended up being a pretty nice guy.
6. Daddy Issues
This child was screaming her lungs out in the seat behind us for the last 40 minutes of a 10-hour flight because she didn’t want to put her seatbelt on for the descent. For a while, all I could hear besides her was her useless father telling her “stop screaming” 100 times then arguing with the flight attendants by saying, “Look at her, she doesn’t want to put the seatbelt on, there’s nothing I can do.”
The saving grace was one very sassy male flight attendant who would walk by every two minutes and just say “be the parent” to the father and then continue walking. It was hilarious.
7. Sitting on a Mountain
I was sitting next to an adult with learning disabilities, and he pooped himself right before takeoff. It was a transatlantic flight. Next to a grown man sitting in a pile of his poop. Poor guy, but more pertinently, poor me.
8. The Fast And The Furious
At the airport: I have TSA pre-check, so I get to go through the fast line, leave electronics in my bag, etc. I was on a business trip coming back from Detroit to Toronto. TSA flags my bag to go through the X-ray again. And again. And again. The third time a guy comes, picks up my bag, and asks if there is anything sharp he may hurt himself on (no) before he pulls out my phone charger, Kindle charger, and laptop charger.
He puts the chargers back on the bag, sends the bag through. Flagged again. The guy told the woman at the machine to get up and leave after she couldn’t even identify a phone charger on the machine without claiming it was dangerous. But that was nothing compared to my experience on the actual flight. Apparently, there was a storm rolling into the area and the pilots were trying to outrun it.
Usually, when a plane reaches the start of a runway, they line up, stop, ask for clearance, then take off. We did not stop. They opened the throttle before we had fully completed the turn, which was how I knew it was going to be serious. We were screaming through the sky. We climbed steeper than I ever have and stayed at high throttle the whole way. I linked into the Internet to tell my friends that we were hauling butt.
We land 40 minutes early and practically skid into the jet bridge. We were the last flight allowed to land.
9. At Least Someone’s Not out of Gas
My wife farted. It freaking stank so bad that I could hear people complain 3 rows back. She pretended to be asleep. An air hostess walked up to me and started blasting me with some flowery air purifier. I got the full blame for it.
10. A “Helping” Hand
Well, when I was 13 I flew from Denver to Sydney solo. My flight out of Denver was 15 minutes late taking off. No big deal, as I could easily make my layover in San Francisco. Except when I disembarked, the gate attendant stopped me because there was a whole debate on whether or not I was flying in assisted or with an escort-in flight attendant. Again, easy problem to solve.
I try telling everybody that I have copies of all my paperwork saying I get to go solo. Every time I tried to speak up to tell them this, the adults would shush me or simply talk over me. They eventually held me until I missed my flight. So here I am stuck halfway across a continent, alone in a city I’ve never been to before. I finally convince them to just call my mom who takes nobody’s problems. They set me up for the night in a hotel room with a flight attendant.
I only have a backpack with some books and my Discman. No change of clothes, toothbrush, etc. We go eat their continental breakfast, and I grabbed a grapefruit half because everything else looked gross and grapefruit is awesome. The flight attendant asks me if I’m on a diet then looks at me like maybe I should be, even though I don’t think I was 100 pounds at the time.
My host had to get on a flight so we go back to the airport where I’m locked in the unaccompanied minors room. It had half a set of Jenga blocks, 11 pieces of a 12-piece puzzle, and two episodes of Degrassi playing on a loop. I was stuck there for 12 hours. Nobody told me I had three free meal tickets, so I didn’t eat all day. Then finally at 10 at night I get on my flight to Sydney. After 36 hours, I had a breakfast in-flight. All because everybody decided a 13-year-old girl had no right to self-advocate.
11. The Most Final Destination
Guy that sat a few rows behind me died of a massive heart attack. It was a flight from Kenya to Stockholm, and I think I was around 11 years old. They couldn’t land, as we were right above the desert, so they just kind of put a sheet over him and stored him under the stairs (it was a double-decker plane). I remember walking past the corpse on our way out the following morning, and the sheet didn’t cover his feet.
I was 50% excited and 50% terrified that I had seen dead-person feet.
12. Up In The Air
About six years ago, I was sitting on the plane and I suddenly felt a tickle in my throat. It just wouldn’t go away, I’d cough and cough and cough, nothing. The only thing that helped was ice chips, but even then I couldn’t stop. It was miserable. But the worst was yet to come. That night, I woke up in the middle of the night with two swollen eyes, swollen lips, hives all over my body, hot joints, and a tight chest.
I was having some severe allergic reaction to something. Which means that on the plane…my throat was closing and I just didn’t know it. Of course, the ice chips helped because they were keeping the swelling down. What’s weird is that has never happened before or since then and I’m not allergic to anything that I know of. Something on the plane just set it off, and it could happen again.
13. Too Sweet to Smell
14 (ish) hour flight from Vancouver, Canada to Shanghai, China. The old Chinese man beside me who spoke only Mandarin had really, really bad gas the whole way through. Things got really bad when he curled up in his seat to sleep, butt pointed toward me so he could face his wife. Worst part? They were a super sweet couple (as revealed through tons of smiling and nodding from each of us), and so I didn’t want to make their flight worse by complaining to the flight attendant.
I swallowed my pride and a whole lot of old Chinese male gas that day.
14. Between A Rock And A Hard Place
This happened when I was 15. I was sat in the middle seat, in between a tour group that must have contained a lot of first-time flyers. Cue to the flight attendants announcing to the passengers to fasten our seatbelts. The two people on either side of me started freaking out because they couldn’t find their seatbelts. I tried telling them they probably sat on them, but they’re rather large so I think it was difficult for them to get up.
Instead, they panic. They were screaming and other people in the tour group started freaking out too. The flight attendants came but had a hard time understanding them through the screaming. I was also trying to explain to everyone what was happening. One of the people next to me finally calmed down enough and asked me to help them to find the seatbelt. I had no choice but to reach under their butt, free the seatbelt, reach over, and fasten it for them.
They yelled something to the rest of the tour group and I guess they figured it out since there were whoops and cheers. I had to help the other person next to me and reach under their butt too. They were both sweaty. Then they decide to host a prayer session before the plane took off. The two people next to me were genuinely sweet and tried to make me feel included in the prayer group by holding my hand, but enforced prayer sessions just make me want to scream, “Screw Jesus!” and go to sleep.
I mean, they were sweet people initially. They were worried why a young girl was all alone on such a long flight, and I had to explain that my family checked in really late, so we ended up separated. They were chatty and asked me a LOT of questions about flying. I needed to sleep though, so it was painful. Finally, I decided to just order booze so I can pass out.
This was a more innocent time when most non-American airlines will not check for IDs. As soon as my Bailey’s came, one of the people next to me shot me the most disgusted look and snapped, “You drink?” I told them yes, and after that, I got left alone…until I got woken up when I started feeling squashed. They’re both larger people and I felt bad for them since it was really tight for them, so earlier during the flight, I showed them the armrests can go up so they can just spill into my seat.
Like a lot of Asian women, I’m kind of short and tiny so there’s plenty of space in my seat. Unfortunately, when they’re asleep, they start melting into me and I got squashed. I ended up sitting at the edge of my seat without the seatbelt on to escape. Oh, and they had another prayer session before the plane landed and all cheered and whooped when we landed safely.
15. Never Too Old to Need a Burping
Sitting across from a young mom who had an infant and a 2-year-old. She had her hands full with the 2-year-old, so I offered to hold her baby. I’m a dad, I’ve fed and let sleep babies. She agreed and I held the baby, fed her a bottle, was patting her on the back to soothe her, and let her fall asleep. She did fall asleep, but not before projectile vomiting in my face and down my shirt. On the bright side, I’m pretty sure I earned Karma that day.
16. Unsolicited Advice
This was direct from Moscow to Houston on a Singapore Airlines flight. Behind us sat an elderly Singaporean couple who took of their shoes and used our armrests to put their feet up. The smell was unbearable. I was in the middle seat, my boyfriend was on the window side, and there was an older guy on the aisle. The older guy starts by complaining nonstop about the smell.
He’s berating the flight attendants over it. They keep asking the elderly couple to move their feet but they keep putting them back. The man eventually decides to calm down. He introduces himself to me by telling me that I better not have to use the restroom during the 13-hour flight because he won’t feel like moving. He spends several hours telling me, through my headphones and obvious disinterest, about all the languages he speaks, the places he’s worked, and all the money he makes.
At one point, he was telling me about his childhood in Louisiana and I (having no idea what to say because I don’t want to talk) mention I have family in Shreveport. He takes the opportunity to make it clear how stupid I am because it’s not relevant because it’s several hours from his hometown. About half way through, I told him to let me out to use the restroom and watched him storm around the cabin like a toddler.
He berated me about my timing (?) when I returned to my seat.
17. Rip Van Winkle He Is Not
I had boarded a plane in Florida, exhausted after working 16-hour days filming for the past month and was ready to get home. I fell asleep and woke up 2 and a half hours later, excited that I had slept through the entire flight. Then I realized we were still sitting in the runway in Florida.
18. Some SNAFU
I was doing one of my required five jumps in airborne school in the army. It was a combat jump, so we had our weapon and gear strapped to our harnesses, which made it difficult to cinch up the harness properly. Later when we were on the plane, we had to circle the drop zone because of some ranger candidates ahead of us. During that time, I got the worst motion sickness I’ve ever experienced.
I was sweating profusely and fighting the urge to vomit with everything I had. We finally got to jump and when my caught me, it fully cinched up on my balls. Chaos broke loose and I vomited all the way to the ground. Still had to gather my parachute and run to the rendezvous point.
19. Stick in the Middle With You
An overnight flight—checked in online with an aisle seat, but didn’t realize it printed as a middle seat until too late. Had a guy next to me trying to get comfy all night by putting his butt on my arm. That’s until everyone woke up because, while passing out customs forms, the flight attendants realized a gentleman had died in his sleep some time in the last 5 hours.
20. From Feast To Famine
Business class was overbooked, so I volunteered to move back to economy class in an aisle seat by the bathroom. I got a two-for-one deal for doing so. While sitting in my new seat, right before taxiing, a kid and his mom came hauling butt toward the bathroom. Right before the kid gets to the bathroom, he projectile vomits in my lap. I cleaned my clothes the best I could, but I smelled like puke the entire way back home.
21. Nobody Likes a Jerk
My friend was sitting next to someone on a plane, and the someone kept bumping his arm in a rhythmic fashion until my friend opened his eyes and looked to see what was up. Unfortunately, what was up was the dude’s you-know-what, and he was working hard. My friend was pretty scarred after that. I would be too.
22. All Hands On Deck
I was on a late-night flight from Las Vegas to Charlotte. Clearly, the best thing for me to do during the flight was to sleep through it. That’s not quite what happened. Maybe about an hour before we were scheduled to land, I was woken up by a grab on my breast and then a hand down my side. I remember jolting myself upright (I had my head down at the time) and coming face to face with this man, grinning and absolutely REEKING of drink as if he had bathed in it.
He started to reach towards me again, so I pushed him away. He turned and walked away after that, but after a few steps, this dude collapses. The flight attendants scrambled over to see what had happened and of course, there was a nurse on board who hopped up to see what was going on as well. Feeling guilty, I put my head back down to “sleep” so I could eavesdrop on what was happening an aisle behind me.
Apparently, this dude was 1) So wasted when he got on the plane that the attendants had refused to serve him multiple times during the flight and 2) He was on all kinds of crazy heart medications and he shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place.
23. We’re Going Brown
I had a colostomy bag for about 6 months to let my colon heal after an accident where it was perforated (I fell and was impaled on a barbed wire fencepost). On a plane coming off painkillers, so I had really bad diarrhea. It turns out my colostomy bag is not attached correctly, so the hole in my gut is not lined up with the hole in the bag.
I’m dozing off when I feel warmth and smell this horrible smell of fresh poop—my colostomy bag leaked copious amounts of liquid poop all over the front of me. Stunk up the cabin badly—had to go into the bathroom and try to get stuff off of my dress shirt and slacks. Stayed in as long as I could—came out soaking wet and about as embarrassed as I’ve ever been.
24. Some Things Are Forever
I was flying back to the upper Midwest from Jamaica (fairly long flight) and we hit a big storm over the ocean before hitting the mainland. My buddy was sitting next to me and had just gotten back from the bathroom. We hit some major turbulence and he didn’t have his seatbelt on when the plane dropped a good 20 or 30 feet. It was like a full free fall moment out of the movies.
Everybody’s drinks and all floated, and he flew up and hit the ceiling and then came back down. Meanwhile, a lady in the row next to us starts hyperventilating and screaming that she doesn’t want to die over and over. She also straight up pooped her pants. The turbulence eventually went away, but the smell of her poop lasted the remaining three hours of the flight…
25. Flight Is the Best Education You Can Have
This was a school trip, so we had close to 30 teenagers present. We were heading to DC from the west coast, with a layover in Chicago. Because of the large class size, we had to arrive at the airport around 5 AM so we could get through security. We made it to the gate area by 6 AM, and our flight was boarding at 7:30.
However, they pushed the flight forward 30 minutes…then 30 more minutes…then an hour…then another hour, until four hours had passed. Because they kept changing the time, we had to stay in the gate area in case of a sudden announcement. My teacher spent almost $200 that day just to buy us lunch because we were planning to have an airline meal.
We finally took off around 12:30 PM. When we land in Chicago, it’s 5:30 PM with time zones adjusted. We’re a horde of zombies by this point, since we had almost no sleep the night before due to excitement. We’ve missed our original connection by hours, and any other flights to DC that day are full, so we’re booked onto a flight to Baltimore instead—which also gets delayed an hour.
Once again, my teacher saves the day by buying us pizza for dinner. My teacher is the type who buys gourmet pizza at a time like this, so she spent even more of her money like that. We take off at 8:30 PM from Chicago. Everyone wants to sleep, but my teacher won’t allow it because if we sleep, we’ll be even more tired once we’re woken up.
With time zones adjusted, it’s 11:30 PM when landing in Baltimore. Guess what—because of all the delays and airport switching, our luggage is lost. But the airline just tells us to keep waiting at the baggage claim—until it’s almost 1 AM. Don’t forget, this is a group of 30 sweaty teenagers who can’t change their clothes.
So, after a 40-minute bus drive to DC—still no dosing off allowed—we locate our luggage and get it. It’s almost 2:30 AM when we finally got sent to bed—and we have to wake up in 6 more hours for the first day exploring DC. In all seriousness though, that was easily the most fun day of the trip. While stranded at the first airport, my teacher talked to a lady at the gate, who was a professional artist.
After chatting a bit, my teacher arranged for my artist friend to show the lady some of her drawings, and she got some help on how to improve. My teacher also organized a drawing contest with a few students, while another group used a blank notebook to create a full role play game that lasted all 4 hours. One student who brought a book was reading out loud to not just our classmates, but to some of the other passengers as well.
While waiting at the Chicago airport, one talented boy pulled out a Rubik’s cube and showed his skills for the entire gate area. It sounds horrible to explain, but I think it was actually my best experience on an airplane.
26. More Than He Bargained For
I was in the army and going home to surprise my mom for Christmas. I was at my final layover in Newark, some time late at night. I’m waiting at the gate to board the plane when they announce the flight has been delayed by a half-hour. No big deal. They continue to delay the flight a half an hour further back at a time. We’d get to five minutes before boarding and they’d push it back a half hour.
This went on for three hours. Apparently, they were waiting for our plane and crew to arrive from Pittsburgh and they couldn’t take off because of a storm. The plane finally arrives, and we board. Unfortunately, by the time we get out to the runway, the storm that stopped them from getting to us has now reached Newark. So we sit on the runway for an hour and a half waiting for the storm to pass so we can take off.
By the time the storm passes, when considering the time span of our upcoming flight, we can no longer fly because the crew cannot work for a consecutive 16 hours without a sleeping break due to FAA rules. They tell us our flight is canceled, and we need to get off the plane. So at this point, we were about five hours past our original boarding time. It’s the middle of the night, I haven’t seen my family in a year, and it’s now officially Christmas Eve.
We all have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen. They gave us all a $12 meal voucher, except at this point the airport is basically closed. The only thing that’s open is the McDonald’s, and of course, they only have a limited menu. All 100 and some of us are in the line, so that takes some time. They tell us that there is no way they can get us a flight today.
The only option is for us to take the bus they have arranged for us. We were all angry, but didn’t really have much of a choice. I figured I would work it out with the airline later. So they sit us all in the main lobby of the airport, where we wait for another two hours for this bus to arrive. Despite paying for a one-hour layover and a one-hour flight to Syracuse, I got an eight-hour layover and an eight-hour bus ride.
All I got from the airline was the meal voucher that I received at the airport. Apparently, they didn’t HAVE to do anything, because this entire situation was caused by weather (which, it wasn’t, it was caused by their lack of planes available to use). Screw United.
27. Shoulder to Crash on?
On a flight to Rome from Atlanta. Stuck in the middle of an elderly woman and an Italian guy. It was a later flight, so about two hours in they both fall asleep. Their heads end up rolling onto my shoulders. I am a quiet and probably overly polite person. So, I just sat there awkwardly waiting for them to wake up because no one can sleep for that long on a flight, right?
I have shoulders like the clouds of heaven.
28. Literal Crash Landing
I was on a nighttime flight 15 years ago. All of a sudden, the cabin lights are turned on to full blast and the captain makes an announcement. “You may be smelling a noxious odor. We have an electrical fire on board, and can’t be sure how quickly it might spread. We are being diverted to the nearest airport and will be executing an emergency landing in 15 minutes. Please give your attention to your flight attendants as they instruct you in the proper crash-landing procedure.”
I would have thought there would be pandemonium, but everyone became extremely quiet. I had my 11-month-old with me and was advised to hold him in my arms and assume the crash-landing procedure as best as possible to shield his body with mine. Everyone on that plane thought we were goners. I was talking quietly to my baby, pointing out the window at the Earth below and telling him how beautiful it all was.
I didn’t want him to go scared. After about 10 minutes and no catastrophic failure, we all began to relax a bit, thinking that the fire was contained or spreading extremely slowly. We all positioned ourselves for a crash landing. The tarmac was ablaze with the flashing lights of fire trucks, ambulances, and other vehicles, all in preparation for a worst-case scenario.
We landed smoothly and without incident, thank God. That was a really, really bad 15 minutes.
29. Hit Rock-Bottom at High-Altitude
Last time I flew, the lady in front of me was trying to deal with substance withdrawals on a cross-country flight. She kept running back and forth to the bathroom, squirming around in her seat, and trying to get the flight attendants to bring her more alcohol. I think everyone in the general vicinity was trying to find somewhere else to sit, especially when they cut her off and she lost her mind at the flight attendant. I’ve never been so happy to get off of a plane.
30. Start Your Engines
I was leaving out of San Juan, coming back to the states from a very nice vacation. 30 minutes into the flight, I hear a loud BOOM! The plane immediately loses altitude, and the flight attendant starts crying and running down the aisle. I was with my girlfriend at the time and I was really trying to maintain the macho “It’s all good” persona. Meanwhile, the guy to my right is screaming and scratching at the window.
I can only imagine what is going through his head. To top things off, and maybe I should have led with this, I look across the aisle out the window and the engine is on fire. So, after what felt like an eternity, the plane leveled out, and we were then left with what I wish was silence. Instead, there were babies crying, obviously sensing the stress in the air, flight attendants crying, and worst of all this “whir, whir” sound that sounded like to all of us that the other engine would be imminently shutting off.
Finally, the captain came on the loudspeaker and in a cracking voice stated that we would be returning to San Juan. That 30 minutes back was probably the longest of my life. I read probably 10 chapters in my book and don’t remember a thing. I do remember looking for someone who seemed to be unfazed so it would help me calm my nerves and I noticed a gentleman two rows up across the aisle who seemed to have his stuff together.
However, I realized afterward when I had time to reflect that he looked at the same page of his newspaper for the entire 30 minutes back and didn’t move a muscle. Then, the finale. The landing: There was a multitude of fire trucks and ambulances waiting for us on arrival. There was the obligatory clapping when we came to a stop, but this time it was different because people who were strangers an hour earlier were hugging and crying together.
So we get off the plane, and you’re gonna hate me…but I just don’t remember if we took the bouncy house slide down. It’s been 15 years and it was a lot to process that night. We get into the concourse off the walkway and I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but what we got was one gate person working at the airline who said, “Yeah, the same thing happened last week” to one of the other fliers.
Also, I found the flight attendant who went flying down the aisle and I shared with them that I was always taught everything is okay and normal, and if I was worried, to just watch the flight attendants and see how they behave. So when he ran and cried, I knew we were in trouble. He then proceeded to tell me he never did that and stormed off…but he totally did. The airline paid for one sleepless night in a hotel in downtown San Juan.
We went to a tapas restaurant and I tasted nothing. We woke up and boarded the same airline early the next morning. It was still terrifying.
31. With Flight Buddies Like These, Who Needs Enemies?
On a flight to Philadelphia this past summer, the airline employees had asked people with the larger carry-on bags to please check them at the door, as there wasn’t much room on the plane. The bro in line in front of me had a huge bag, but kept telling the airline people “Nah, it’ll be fine, it’ll fit. Come on, don’t worry about it, it’ll be fine. Blah blah blah,” until finally the employee got sick of it and just let him through with the bag.
Inside the plane, we go down the aisle a ways and suddenly, still several rows in front of my row, he throws his bag down into an empty set of seats, then enters the row himself until he’s almost completely out of the way of the aisle, and starts digging through his bag. His butt is still sticking out into the aisle slightly, and I don’t want to brush it as I walk by, so I wait for him to realize he was still accidentally blocking the aisle.
After about 30 seconds, the people behind me are grumbling, so I ask the guy very politely, not mad at all, “Excuse me, mind if I just slip by?” I assumed he just didn’t realize he was still blocking he aisle. Suddenly he switches on to full “bro mode,” wheels to me, gets in my face, and says very aggressively and loudly, “You even flown on a freaking plane before? You gotta wait until I put my bag up.”
I’m not a confrontational guy at all, so I’m shocked and try to explain quickly before I can even really think about what I’m saying: “Sorry man, but your butt was the only thing in the way and I sure didn’t want to touch it.” Not very graceful or articulate, but I was in shock from the sudden aggression. He did not like it.
He pretty much yells in my face, spittle flying, “I don’t appreciate your language,” (uh, what, the word “butt”?) “Do you wanna turn this into something!?” He assumed an aggressive stance, arm cocked back slightly. I honestly can’t even remember what I did or said next, but whatever it was, it was enough to make him give up on the attempted bro-down, turn back to his bag, and heave it up into an overhead bin.
He then goes back out into the aisle and goes down a few more rows… to my row…and sits in the seat next to my ticketed seat. Yep, we were seat buddies for the whole darn flight. When he saw I was coming to sit down next to him, he looked like he wanted to punch me. It was a very uncomfortable flight for the both of us, I’m sure.
32. Family Fun For Everyone
I had just adopted two children from Ethiopia. Our return route was from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to JFK, then a two-hour car ride home. Nearly everything that could go wrong did. This is a traumatic event for the children, so they were very scared and unsure the entire time. Within moments of entering the plane, both children are in tears. Within an hour, our new five-year-old is wailing at the top of his lungs.
The one-year-old is crying for hours, and due to parasites, the baby is a constant stream of diarrhea. After a couple of hours, the flight attendants are asking us to keep the kids quiet—like how?!—and at some point, they ask me to take my son to the back of the plane near the bathrooms because others are getting upset. So that sucks, but honestly, not unexpected.
BUTTTT, as we are on the final approach, the pilot pulls up and informs us we can’t land at JFK, and we are diverted to Boston due to weather. We end up at Boston International with about 10 other unexpected 747s full of people, all of whom are stuck overnight trying to find hotels and rental cars. No flights will be departing until the next day. We are scrambling to figure out what to do at 3 am in the Boston airport with three kids, as we’d brought our oldest son for the trip.
Meanwhile, the one-year-old is spewing through her diapers and clothes onto the airport terminal floor while surrounded by a billion strangers. After hours of calling around, we manage to rent a car and drive a couple of hours toward home before staying in a bad hotel. We finally proceeded the rest of the way home via car the next morning. Door to door it was 56 hours of crying, poop, and no sleep.
WORST. FLIGHT. EVER. I felt so terrible for the passengers nearby. It must have been a nightmare flight for them as well.
33. Who’s the Bigger Man?
I used to fight MMA for an organization called Caribbean Ultimate Fist Fighting. On one trip to Trinidad, I was forced to sit next to my opponent. Not a problem, we are professionals and got along just fine. The issue is I am 6’5″ and 250 lbs, while he is 6’5″ and 270 lbs. We had to take turns sitting up straight while the other leaned away.
34. When It Rains, It Pours
It was a 12+ hour flight, and I was in the middle aisle on a 747. The seat recliner was broken, the guy next to me took his shoes off and his feet stank, the woman to my left spilled orange juice on me, and the headphone plug for the in-flight entertainment was broken. I did get extra potato chips as compensation for the seat problem, though. Thank God for that.
35. Your Own Worst Enemy
I had an early morning flight from Bangkok to London, and decided the best thing to do would be to have drinks with my friends who were flying back a day after me. I got extremely squatters, then went to the airport. I was very late for my flight and had to be rushed through security, etc. Having not slept all night, I passed out as the plane was taxiing to the runway.
10 hours later, I woke up and was overjoyed when I realized there was only an hour or so of my flight left. This turned into mortification when I looked at the poor old Thai woman I had been sleeping on. I smelled atrocious, a mixture of sweat and booze and weeks of travelling. I felt so sorry for this woman.
She looked at me as if I was the devil incarnate, having fulfilled all the stereotypes of British people on gap years. The next hour was the most uncomfortable of my life, made worse by the fact I was dying for a leak but was too embarrassed to ask her to move so I could get up. I slept and sweated on a poor Thai woman for 10 hours, then had to endure her evil death stares.
I regret nothing. When I woke up, I discovered my TV wasn’t working, so I’m glad I slept through the flight.
36. Something Smells Fishy
This was when I was 10-11 years old. I went on a nine-hour flight and had the middle seat. An older woman sat in the window seat and had a horrendous smelling perfume on, like the kind that gives you a headache in the first 10 minutes. Oh, and she went to the restroom and re-applied her perfume every couple of hours, just in case in wasn’t horrible enough for me.
The smell plus turbulence was enough for me to throw up for the duration of the flight. For years after I was so scarred that I took motion sickness pills every flight, only to realize I didn’t have motion sickness, it was just that old woman’s horrible perfume.
37. Pop Goes the “Me”-sel
I had a sinus infection when I boarded the plane. About halfway through the flight, I felt a pop inside my face… and then the pain started. You know that pain, that spreads into your teeth? I was doubled over in pain for the next hour. Somehow, I got up and stumbled off the plane after we landed. I blew my nose, and blackened, bloody mucus came out.
For hours afterward. It cleared up, the pain subsided, and I didn’t think anything more of it. Take some antihistamines before flying.
38. Strange Powers
We were flying from Florida to London when one of the engines caught fire somewhere out over the Atlantic, so we had to turn back and land in New York. Except…the engine on the replacement plane also caught fire, so the pilot had to turn back and land in New York. We didn’t chance it with a third plane and went with a different carrier. Still, it had lasting effects on me.
I was eight years old at the time and for some strange reason, I’d never had a nightmare before then. My first nightmare was on the third plane back and involved a Mickey Mouse in a glass coffin and an emaciated green version of Thing from The Addams Family.
39. Treated Like a Piece of Jenga
When I was 14 years old, I took a school trip from Shanghai to Egypt via Qatar. All my classmates and teachers were scattered all over the plane, and so most of us ended up sitting next to strangers. I ended up next to Arab men, probably in their 40s or 50s, wearing traditional clothing. I was kinda a big-mouthed girl, and, having no understanding of Arab culture, I started to try and talk to them.
Neither of them were really talking back to me. Well, it was a 12-hour flight, so I tried to sleep right away and knock out as much of the time as I could. The only weird thing is, I went to sleep in the aisle seat and woke up in the window seat. Somehow these two dudes moved a 14-year-old girl in her sleep without her waking up and without anyone else on the flight thinking it was weird.
I woke up extremely confused and uncomfortable for the remainder of the flight. I remember at one point I asked the guy on the outside to let me out and to give me my seat back, and he said no.
40. Went Down The Wrong Pipes
We were flying on a night flight from Germany to New York, and the flight couldn’t have gone any better. We were descending into JFK and the back wheels touch ground, then the front. Everyone started clapping…then, for 2.2 seconds, you just hear the engines go full throttle again and we took right off…again. At this point, you can see the terror and panic in people’s faces.
I was with my cousin who suffers from panic attacks as is, so this triggered it instantly. The flight attendants didn’t seem to have any idea either. I immediately thought it was being hijacked. We flew around in circles for 10 minutes before the pilot came on the PA and pretty much said, “Our apologies about that, we were landing on a take-off runway.” I think about what could have happened very often, as I fly pretty frequently.
41. Face First Into Regret
I have been waiting years to tell this story. I was 17 and flying from Seattle to Houston, having been out there to look around a college and hang out in the city. I have a lot of anxiety about flying, but I managed the first flight out there ok with the help of some valium my mom gave me. The point where things go wrong was when I decided see what it would be like if I had an extra pill, seeing as though I had a left over pill from the first flight.
Long story short, I woke up in the lap of an old man sat next to me once we landed in Houston by him stroking my hair and whispering “wake up, we’re here” delicately into my upturned ear. I left a little dribble on his crotch, which he insisted was not a big deal. Was absolutely mortified and was still slurring when my parents picked me up at baggage.
42. State Of Emergency
On a flight from Philadelphia to Denver, late December 1990. As we get about an hour from Denver, the pilot tells us a blizzard has closed the Denver airport, and we need to divert, so we divert to a place called Gunnison, Colorado. Gunnison airport is small, and not really set up for large commercial airliners. As we approach, I look out the window and see mountain tops on either side.
The captain comes on and tells us to prepare for an emergency landing. Meaning stow your stuff, buckle your seatbelt, and assume the crash position, as in, put your head between your legs. Now I’m about 14 years old at the time, and traveling with my aunt, two cousins, and their two friends. My cousin Billy and I are joking about this situation, while my aunt is praying with my other cousin.
We land and need basically every foot of the runway to come to a stop. The pilot then has to get off the plane and make a phone call because we are now alone, hours from Denver. They get some shuttle buses to show up after about an hour, then we begin the SIX HOUR ride to Denver. That was a long day.
43. Just Because It’s Naptime Doesn’t Mean It’s Kindergarten
On a 14-hour flight to Japan, two children decided they couldn’t sit still any longer and started running laps around the cabin. This was during the time the lights were off and windows were closed so passengers could rest. They were also screaming. It lasted for near two hours. I was pretty close to committing a serious crime. I just stuck my foot in the aisle and hoped they would trip.
44. Two Emotional Wrecks
I was seated next to a woman with an “emotional support animal.” If I had to guess, it was a pug chihuahua mix. Whatever it was, it was small enough for her to keep it on her lap. Apparently, the dog needed its own emotional support animal, though, because it was a wreck. It kept standing up, whining, and I swear to God it would poop on her lap. The smell, Jesus.
45. Alcoholism Is a Gas
Kind of the other way around here. So, a few years ago I was on a plane with my mom and grandma. Also, I need to say that my grandma was a raging alcoholic and was usually drunk or hung over, and today she was drunk, and continuing to drink on the plane. For some reason, today my body decides to produce the worst smelling farts in my entire life.
Still haven’t had gas that bad as I did that day. It hurts to hold them in, so I’m being all passive aggressive and letting them out slow and silent. Of course, my grandma is smelling them and freaking out throwing a little hissy fit. I’m young and think it’s funny, so I continue. She somehow gets the idea that it’s the guy in front of her letting these smelly demons loose, and starts to kick his seat violently and yell at him repeatedly.
I’m sitting there thinking, “that escalated quickly.” The whole time this is happening, my mom was sitting there asleep, and she wakes up to horrible breath and her drunk mother yelling. Finally, out of nowhere my grandma just barfs all over my mom. If you’ve never seen what partially digested wine and waffle house looks like, I envy you.
Whole plane smells like barf and farts, and we’ve still got about another hour of flight left. Really uncomfortable, to say the least. Finally, when we land and get in the car, I decide I have to tell them, and by then I think they realized it was me all along. I admit to my crime, and my grandma gives me the most intense stare down of my life, and just says, “You little jerk.”
Later on, my mom tells me that it was pretty funny overall. Still hear about that to this day.
46. Tight Quarters
I used to fly by myself a lot and really enjoyed it. One flight I was on was a smaller plane but I was lucky enough to score a window seat—but luck wasn’t actually on my side that day. In comes a very overweight guy—not shaming his weight, just pointing it out—who is assigned to sit next to me. He takes up more than the seat size, which results in me having basically only half of my seat and being smooshed against the side of the plane for the entire flight.
I’m a small person too but I like my wiggle room just as much as the next guy. That wasn’t the worst part though. He smelled SO bad. Like the type of body odor, people get when they haven’t showered in multiple days. I know the flight attendants felt bad for me but there was nothing they could do to help me escape as it was a fully booked flight. Thankfully, the flight was only two hours and I have never experienced this again, but man I hope to never go through that again.
Please take a shower before flying. Thanks.
47. I Don’t Like Those Odds, Mister
I think I was about 7, as it was right after I’d started flying between parents for visiting. I was sitting next to this older kid when the plane started rumbling. I didn’t exactly know what turbulence was, so I asked the kid. “Oh yeah, we’re going down,” he said. I was like…what. And he goes, “Yeah, I’ve done it a couple times, only a few die every time. So you have nothing to worry about.”
Amazingly, I didn’t start crying, but the jerk was actively trying to scare a 7-year-old girl travelling alone.
48. Kids Will Be Kids
It was a six-hour flight to the West Coast. The plane was very hot inside, and I had two small kids behind me screaming and kicking the whole time. The row was three seats wide, and my row was three sweaty fat people (myself included). I had the window seat. Behind us was the mother on the aisle seat, with a toddler in her lap. The toddler would screech every couple of minutes and would run up and down the aisle.
The two older kids behind me spent most of the flight climbing on my seat and playing on the floor, hitting my seat. Their names were super basic names like Jayden and Brayden. I learned this through the nonstop arguing and screeching fights. The mom did nothing the entire flight, even with requests by the staff. She only said, “This is why daddy doesn’t want us to visit.”
49. I Didn’t Pay for a Literary Critique
I was flying by myself and went to sit in my assigned seat. It was a row that only had two seats in it, so I only had to sit next to one other person. I ended up sitting next to this very talkative lady, who was maybe in her 40s. My first impression was that she was very well-dressed, and I assumed she was some type of business lady.
After a few moments of small talk, I find out that she is a nuclear physicist. Don’t get me wrong, she was polite directly to me for the most part, but she came off as condescending on just about every topic that we talked about. It made me pretty uncomfortable. She made it sound like everything was not worthy.
She would tell me why everything sucks basically, and why her way was better. There was a lull in the conversation, so I tried to read a Stephen King novel that I brought along. She of course asked me what I was reading as soon as I picked up my book. When I told her, she had to tell me how much she dislikes Stephen King. “A bunch of phooey.”
She then wiggled her hands in the air and said with a silly voice, “Ooooh…look at the floating lantern! So scary.” She then told me that it wasn’t real writing. She recommended that I read The Hunger Games. That was the first time I ever heard of The Hunger Games, so I had no idea what it was. I said I would check it out, though.
Years later when I think about it, I think, “She made fun of me for reading Stephen King because it isn’t real writing, then she says I should read The Hunger Games?” I’m not saying that Hunger Games is bad, but once I found out what it was, I figured she would have been reading some obscure hard sci-fi book from the 1960s or something. Not Hunger Games.
50. The Mother Of All Plane Rides
My mother-in-law had booked the flights and we all ended up separated—she hadn’t done it on purpose, just one of those things. My husband and elder daughter were further up the front, and I was seated across the aisle from my two-year-old. She was SCREAMING, since being sat next to strangers was not her jam. I was crying, she was crying, the flight attendant was rolling her eyes at me, but then a wonderful lady next to me offered to swap.
I don’t normally bawl like that, but I was a bit shaken up from losing said two-year-old in the airport 30 minutes before; I’m a nervous flyer anyway and it just all got too much. I was so, so embarrassed, but the one thing I was consoling myself with was that I’d never see any of these people again…I soon found out how wrong I was. The woman who helped me turned out to be a regular at the place I work.
On a slightly more humorous note, I went up to check on my seven-year-old, who was sat on the opposite aisle seat from my husband, and she was sat next to a young couple that was probably about 18 or 19. They said to me she’d been really well-behaved, and had turned to them when they first sat down and told them she wouldn’t be talking to them because “If you talk to strangers they kidnap you.”
51. Welcome to the Real World, Baby
When I was an infant, I was sitting on my father’s lap when the flight attendant leaned over him to give coffee to the person sitting next to him. Her hand slipped, and the boiling coffee spilled on my bare chest (father was changing my shirt) and burned my entire chest. Had a massive scar for a year or two after, and apparently, she broke down crying during the flight.
52. One And Done
On a flight from Wausau, Wisconsin to Chicago, I was on a small regional jet. I was talking to my co-worker in the seat across the aisle as we approached Chicago. One moment I’m looking face-to-face with him, then suddenly I was looking down at him. Right after that, I was looking up at him. We finally settled back into a normal cruising pattern, but it was a scary “What the heck just happened?” moment.
I don’t think we came close to rolling over, but it sure as heck felt that way. When we arrived at O’Hare (where I considered kissing the tarmac), a fellow passenger suggested that we’d somehow been caught in the wake of a larger jet. Sounded plausible but not terribly reassuring. The best moment occurred after the pilot brought the plane back under control.
The cabin was eerily silent, and the captain opened his microphone, cleared his throat, and said, “Sorry.” He was a man of few words, I guess.
53. Mortality Transcends Time Zones
Was flying back to the states from Japan. The flight in itself was already a really long one. My family and I were seated at the very back of the plane, couldn’t get any more back than that as far as seats went. Anyways, halfway through the 9-10 hour flight, a couple rows ahead of us we just hear this poor woman frantically screaming in another language.
I believe it was Mandarin or something along those lines. I looked up and saw her constantly screaming something, it must have been a name or a cry for help. I believe it was her husband, he was unconscious and wasn’t responding. The flight attendants came by, and they even managed to find a doctor who was on the plane.
They dragged his body toward the back of the plane and found he didn’t even have a pulse, and were applying CPR to him literally right next to my sister, who was sitting on the other side right of me. They constantly tried, but nothing worked. He died from heart failure, and according to the people with the gentleman, he had many health issues.
After they stopped, the flight attendants asked my family and I if we could move seats. They had to wrap the body up in blankets and move him somewhere until we landed. They planned on putting him in one of the bathrooms and sealing it off for the remainder of the flight, but their regulations didn’t seem to allow that.
So instead, we moved and took the seats of the family of the deceased. They ended up buckling him into my seat, and I ended up sitting where he sat. So, for the remainder of the flight, there I was sitting in the seat of a man who had just passed away. this all while his body was buckled into the seat I was previously in.
It was a really strange feeling; it wasn’t comforting at all. Because of our positioning, turning the plane around wouldn’t have mattered. We were hours from any land that could offer medical help. That was another thing, too: It’s frightening to be in a situation where no potent help will come. I hope the family found some peace.
54. Sticking The Landing
They had to do an emergency landing during a snowstorm after running of out fuel because we flew in circles for three hours waiting for the storm to clear at any nearby airports. Eventually, they had to land in 0 visibility—like, I couldn’t even see the wing out the side of the plane. The landing felt like a car accident, and then we overshot the runway and ended up parked in a farmer’s field.
On the plus side, we got to use the slide and I rode in the fire truck back to the airport. Since I was 14 at the time, it was the greatest day ever. But yeah, looking back we could have easily been killed during that landing. And to this day, I still get super tense during landings.
55. Welcome to our Intergenerational Struggle
On a three-hour flight, I was sat between two obese women who were a mother and her grown daughter. They kept talking over me. When I asked if one of them wanted to switch with me, they laughed and said, “Oh no! We are fine! Mom wants the window and I like the aisle.” So, I had to just sit there between them awkwardly with my arms crossed (they both claimed the armrests) while they talked over me.
56. The Principal Is Your Pal
I was on a study tour when I was 10. The principal had the same surname as me, so he was arranged to sit next to me. He was nice, but any kid would be frightened to sit next to the head of school for several hours. I was so nervous I didn’t chat with my friends and watched movies on the TV, trying to be the best behaving student. The worst part is that he kept using the flight’s deck of cards to attempt magic tricks with me, and failed every time.
I experienced my first cringe on that plane, and it lasted four hours.
57. Nothing Like a Long Flight to Work on Your Memoir
Direct from Moscow to Houston on a Singapore Airlines flight. Behind us sat an elderly Singaporean couple who took off their shoes and used our armrests to put their feet up. The smell was unbearable. I was in the middle seat, my boyfriend on the window side, and an older guy on the aisle. The older guy starts by complaining nonstop about the smell.
He’s berating the flight attendants over it. They keep asking the elderly couple to move their feet, but they keep putting them back. The man eventually decides to calm down. He introduces himself to me by telling me that I better not have to use the restroom during the 13-hour flight because he won’t feel like moving.
He then spends several hours telling me, through my headphones and obvious disinterest, about all the languages he speaks, the places he’s worked, and all the money he makes. At one point, he was telling me about his childhood in Louisiana and I (having no idea what to say because I don’t want to talk) mention I have family in Shreveport.
He takes the opportunity to make it clear how stupid I am because it’s not relevant because it’s several hours from his hometown. About halfway through, I told him to let me out to use the restroom and watched him storm around the cabin like a toddler in anger. He berated me about my timing (?) when I returned to my seat.
58. Child’s Play
It was a flight from San Jose del Cabo to Dallas Fort Worth. I was transporting an adopted cat to her forever home in North Dakota. This woman got in with FOUR children. The oldest seemed to be 8-10 and the youngest was probably under two years old and was sat up across the aisle and three rows ahead. They never, EVER shut up. The oldest seemed to be playing something on the cellphone but kept screaming at the screen.
The baby kept crying the entire flight and the other two would fight each other and sometimes just run up and down the aisle and bother other passengers. The woman never bothered to rein in her little jerks. The most she would do is go to the bathroom with the baby and return…with it still crying. On and on and on for hours. But then came the thing that peeved me the most.
When a flight attendant noticed my pet carrier with the kitten, she asked if I had bought a pass for the pet and if it was well behaved, THEN proceeded to tell me that if the cat was being noisy it would need to be removed from the cabin…like what the heck. Are you going to throw away the cat in the middle of a flight? Drop it into the cargo? The cat never cried or made any kind of noise that would disrupt anyone.
The most she did was squeak a little when the plane took off. Yet you allowed the four brats to make as much noise as possible, disrupting all the passengers? And yet the cat is the problem? This is why I really wish childless flights were available.
59. Grounded by Life Below
I had to fly back home from across the country because my dad fell into cardiac arrest and wasn’t expected to make it. I had one phone call with my mother explaining the situation, and that’s all I heard from anyone. I was on a plane home with the thought that my dad had passed at some point during the flight. It was so, so brutal.
Being on an 8+ hour plane trip with the thought of not seeing your father ever again and every painful emotion racing through while being in the air with a plane full of strangers was one of the worst moments of my life. Hope I never experience anything like that ever again. But I will add that once I hit the ground, I was told that my father had woken up and was making progress against the odds. Glad to this day I still have him.
60. When It All Falls Down
I was flying to Orlando for a fun family trip to Disney. A few minutes before boarding, I felt a twinge in my lower abdomen, then the feeling like I had to pass gas. Only I knew it wasn’t that. I raced to the bathroom and my butt exploded right as my hands touched elastic. After venting what felt like all my internal structures, I threw away my destroyed underwear and rushed to board.
That’s when the nausea started. I have never felt so bad in my life. The wheels of the plane had barely left the ground and I was up and running to the bathroom to a chorus of “Sir! SIR! You have to remain seated with your seatbelt fastened!” Nope. I got into the bathroom and hurled chunks for most of the flight. Landed, felt like I had run a marathon, and then gone nine rounds with Mike Tyson.
I got to the place we were staying, and that’s where I lay for most of the week. I missed everything. One of the worst experiences of my 47 years. I still can’t believe how fast it came on…I went from 100% fine to an explosion of bodily fluids in a couple of seconds.
61. He Left His Decency at the Airport
I was on a late-night flight from Las Vegas to Charlotte. Clearly, the best thing for me to do during the flight was to sleep through it. Maybe about an hour before we were scheduled to land, I was woken up by a grab on my breast then a hand down my side. I remember jolting myself upright (I had my head down at the time) and coming face-to-face with this man.
He was grinning and absolutely REEKING of alcohol as if he had freaking bathed in it. He started to reach towards me again, so I pushed him away. He turned and walked away after that, but after a few steps this dude collapses. The flight attendants scrambled over to see what had happened, and of course there was a nurse on board who hopped up to see what was going on as well.
Feeling guilty, I put my head back down to “sleep” so I could eavesdrop on what was happening an aisle behind me. Apparently, this dude was 1) so out of it when he got on the plane that the attendants had refused to serve him alcohol multiple times during the flight, and 2) he was on all kinds of crazy heart meds and he shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place.
62. It’s Getting Hot In Here
I was seated in the front row, bulkhead seat. As the plane began takeoff and the g-force hit, one of the ovens in the wall in the galley just in front of me and to the right ejected from its usual place and crashed to the floor, tumbling into my leg. The oven was filled with empty metal trays, so the sound it made upon crashing to the floor was unlike any noise one might expect during takeoff.
It was immediately followed by screams, utterances to an assortment of deities, and the sound of collective defecation as the unwashed masses behind me envisioned all manner of catastrophe unfolding. The ovens are modular and simply slide in and out for replacement, but they are held in place with screws. The previous flight had oven issues, so maintenance arrived and replaced the oven. They failed to reinstall the screws.
63. You Don’t Need to Crash to Burn
I was flying back to the upper Midwest from Jamaica (fairly long flight) and hit a big storm over the ocean before hitting the mainland. My buddy was sitting next to me and had just gotten back from the bathroom when we hit some major turbulence. Because of this, he didn’t have his seat belt on when the plane dropped a good 20 or 30ft.
It was like a full free-fall moment out of the movies, everybody’s drinks and all, and he flew up and hit the ceiling and then came back down. Meanwhile, a lady in the row next to us who was part of one of those Jesus trips (like the groups all wearing the same t-shirts) starts hyperventilating and screaming that she doesn’t want to die over and over.
She also straight up poops her pants. Turbulence eventually went away, but the smell of her poop lasted the remaining 3 hours of the flight…
64. White Out Wipe Out
I was flying from San Francisco to Boston in February with a massive winter snowstorm pounding the East Coast. Logan Airport in Boston closed and the 737 was diverted to a little airport somewhere in New York. The approach was in pure whiteout conditions, incredibly turbulent, engines screaming at every jump and jolt, lights flickering on and off.
The guy sitting next to me had a panic attack and started clawing at his seat belt, trying to get out of his seat. I grabbed his collar with my right hand and started shaking the heck out of him and yelling at him to stay seated and hold on and everything would be OK. This was sort of like my old water rescue training. Then absolutely without warning, there’s the mother of all jolts as the plane slams down onto the runway.
Some loose stuff in the cabin got thrown around as the pilots deploy probably every single braking device the plane carries. I’m pretty sure I saved that guy from injury if he’d made it out of his seat. Anyway, the plane sat on the ground for about two hours, got de-iced, and then we flew to Boston without further incident.
65. Have a “Safe” Flight
At the airport: I have TSA Precheck, so I get to go through the fast line, leave electronics in bag, etc. I was on a business trip coming back from Detroit to Toronto. TSA flags my bag to go through the X-ray again. And again. And again. The third time, a guy comes, picks up my bag, asks if there is anything sharp he may hurt himself on (No) before he pulls out my phone charger, kindle charger, and laptop charger.
He puts the chargers back in the bag, sends the bag through. Flagged again. The guy told the woman at the machine to get up and leave after she couldn’t even identify a phone charger on the machine without claiming it was dangerous. On the actual flight: again, flying home to Toronto, this time from Tampa. Apparently, there was a storm rolling in and the pilots were trying to outrun it.
Usually when a plane reaches the start of a runway, they line up, stop, ask for clearance, then take off. We did not stop. They opened the throttle before we had fully completed the turn, which was how I knew stuff was going to be serious. We were screaming through the sky. Climbed steeper than I ever have, stayed at high throttle the whole way.
I linked into the internet to tell my friends that we were hauling butt. We land 40 minutes early and practically skid into the jet bridge. We were the last flight allowed to land.
66. All The Way And Back Again
Have you ever flown out of or into Philly Airport? You’d know if you had. I’ve had a multitude of horrible flying experiences at this particular airport, but none as bad as when I was flying to London a few years ago. We had been staying in Maryland prior to us flying out, so we drove from Maryland a few states up to Pennsylvania to fly out of Philly. The flight was for 10 pm.
Ideally, we could sleep the whole way and arrive in London in the morning. So at 9:30 pm, we board our plane. We’re on there for quite a while when they tell us there’s a problem with the plane and we all need to get off. Okay, just a few hours, no big deal. At 1:26 am They find a second plane for us to use, and they load all of our baggage and us passengers back onto the new plane. YIKES.
This plane must’ve been from the 80s or 90s. It was horribly out of date in every way possible and honestly, gave me a good amount of anxiety in terms of safety. They start to push off from the gate and go onto the tarmac and there’s this horrible sound the entire time. We sit on the tarmac until 3:04 am, at which point they bring us back to the gate but won’t let us exit the plane.
When this happened, my mom started to call the airlines to move our flight to a new airport, and we’re all sort of relieved we’re not flying across the Atlantic in this disaster trap. At 4:41 am, they finally declare the flight “canceled” and tell us we can call for vouchers and that we basically have to figure everything else out ourselves. We exit the plane back into the airport…and we’re the only people there.
THE ONLY PEOPLE THERE. No employees, no security guards, just us wandering around after sitting in a plane for the last six hours or so. My mom got us a flight out of JFK Airport at 10 am but we had to move fast. We waited an ETERNITY for our luggage because they had to call people to come into the airport to get it off of the plane and into baggage claim.
At 5:52 am, we’re in a taxi hauling our butts to New York City, and this God of a taxi driver gets us to JFK by 8:16 am. We go to the lounge for a bit before our flight and I ran into KEVIN BACON coming out of the bathroom, and by 10:30 am we were in the sky-bound for London. We missed an entire day of our trip, but I’m glad we got there. Moral of the story: screw Philly Airport.
67. On Your Right, You’ll Be Seeing Red
Was flying from California to Minnesota, and it was a normal flight at first, but all of a sudden, the sky turned blood red. We had apparently flown through the smoke of a forest fire and the pilot gave us no warning. Thought the apocalypse had started…
68. Pizza Party
Ah yes. This one time we were on a plane trip to Hawaii from Washington and we had to make an emergency landing at a different island because something went wrong. They didn’t let us get out of the plane for some reason. We were there for like eight hours, so we ran out of food and the airline ordered pizza delivered to the plane. At this point, we have been on the plane for like 15 hours.
We’re all eating the pizza. when the little girl in front of me throws up.
69. I’m Old Enough to Be PO’ed, Ma’am
Well, when I was 13, I flew from Denver to Sydney solo. My flight out of Denver was 15 minutes late taking off. No big deal; I could easily make my layover in San Francisco. Except when I disembarked, the gate attendant stopped me because there was a whole debate on whether or not I was flying unassisted or with an escort flight attendant.
Again, easy problem to solve. I try telling everybody that I have copies of all my paperwork saying I get to go solo. Every time I tried to speak up to tell them this, the adults would shush me or simply talk over me. They eventually held me until I missed my flight. So here I am, stuck halfway across a continent, alone in a city I’ve never been to before.
So, I finally convince them to just call my mom, who takes nobody’s foolishness. They set me up for the night in a hotel room with a flight attendant. I only have a backpack with some books and my discman. No change of clothes, toothbrush, etc. We go eat their continental breakfast, and I grabbed a grapefruit half because everything else looked gross and grapefruit is awesome.
The flight attendant asks me if I’m on a diet, then looks at me like maybe I should be (I don’t think I was 100 lbs at the time). My host (jailer) had to get a on a flight, so we go back to the airport where I’m locked in the unaccompanied minor’s room. It had half a set of Jenga blocks, 11 pieces of a 12-piece puzzle, and two episodes of Degrassi playing on a loop.
I was stuck there for 12 hours. Nobody told me I had three free meal tickets, so I didn’t eat all day. Then finally at 10 at night, I get on my flight to Sydney. After 36 hours, I had a breakfast in flight. All because everybody decided a 13-year-old girl had no right to self-advocate.
70. Taking A Nose Dive
I used to be a skydiving instructor, and one day we were heading up in a twin otter—an old school twin-prop plane—at about 8,000 feet. Both engines all of a sudden start screaming, then a few seconds later they both stopped. The plane was just gliding and then slowly started to nose dive. I wasn’t too concerned as I was right by the door with my parachute on, so I was ready to bail.
But when I saw the face of the pilot in the little mirror in the cockpit looking as white as a ghost, I realized it was quite serious. After about 10-15 seconds of the plane slowly going down and people screaming, the engines fired back up and we continued to altitude and jumped. The moral of the story, wear a parachute.
71. The Apple of My Eye
I was about 11 or 12 and we were on our way back from a trip. There’s this cute little 2 or 3-year-old sitting behind me, so I start playing with him and his mom asked him, “Do you want to share your apple with her?” So, this little jerk threw this freaking apple at full speed right directly into my eye, giving me a semi-black eye for a few days.
The remainder of the trip was so awkward between him and I. I hope his baby strength disintegrated as the years went by. Not really a “horrible” plane experience, but definitely one I haven’t forgotten…
72. United We Stand
6’4″ tall me wedged into a tiny economy seat for a five-hour trans-US flight on a United Airlines 757. I was in the back of the plane, two rows in front of the aft bathroom. One mom with a crying baby was in the row in front of me, one mom with a crying baby was in the row behind me. The flight departs at 6:05 am. I can’t sleep because of crying babies and turbulence.
The baby in the seat behind me keeps kicking the back of my seat. To be fair, the mom apologized, but she didn’t really have much of a choice as she was also stuck in a tiny little economy seat. The mom in front of me has to change the baby’s diaper around hour three, but the lavatory is occupied, so she returns to the seat and changes the baby on the seat-back tray table.
Absolutely disgusting. Oh, and United sent my bags to a different airport and I didn’t get them until the next day.
73. Swiper No Swiping!
Not me, but my dad, who was a first officer (co-pilot) at the time. I won’t disclose the airline or the airport. They had lined up the plane on the runway, ready to take off, when a fox ran across the runway. It stopped in between the runways to hunt, and my dad and the pilot called into the tower, telling them they were going to have to wait for a fox to exit the premises.
They didn’t want to take off because they didn’t want to suck it up in the engines and crash the plane. Tower asked them to confirm it was a fox and asked which area they were in so they could send someone out to take care of it. They said they’d had prior experience with said creature, and would get out there right away.
The Captain responded and the plane waited. So, after watching the fox jump around a bit, the Captain got on the intercom and informed the passengers why they were being delayed, and because he and my dad had taken a shine to the fox, the Captain indicated where the passengers could look to see it, too. Everyone was loving the fox.
Suddenly, an airport maintenance truck drove into view and headed towards them, no big deal (Most airports have dogs or something to chase off wildlife that they can then call back). Then my dad and the Captain noticed that the truck wasn’t slowing down. The truck hit the fox going at full speed. My dad said it was terrible and sent the fox tumbling.
Obvious that it was dead, and the truck drove off. Awestruck with horror, my dad and the Captain turned to look at each other. The Captain then got on the intercom and apologized to the passengers for what they had just seen. They indicated that was not the standard practice they’d been expecting, and gave out numbers to the passengers who had witnessed the event so that they could call the airport staff and report what they had seen.
My dad told me that both he and the Captain felt terrible because they had, unknowingly, called in a hit on the poor little guy (the airport clearly had some strange past with it), then let all of the passengers watch. Clearly, not a great flight for anyone. In short, the whole plane watched a fox get viciously run over by the ground crew.
74. Running Hot And Cold
I had been teaching in Africa for several months, and I came home from African summer to North American winter. I spent two weeks with my family in the mountainous West (average temp of about 30 F), and one week with my then-boyfriend (now husband) and his family in the upper Midwest during their coldest week of the year (average temp of 0 to -10 F).
My body freaked out over the abrupt drops in temperature, and I had a TERRIBLE cold on the way back to Africa to finish the school year. A 14-hour flight from Chicago to Dubai, and I slept/was miserable the majority of it. The shorter flight from Dubai to Lilongwe was easier, but still not fun.
75. That’s What You Get for Being Generous
Business class was overbooked, so I volunteered to move back to economy class in an aisle seat by the bathroom. I got a two for one deal for doing so. While sitting in my new seat, right before taxiing, a kid and his mom came hauling butt toward the bathroom. Right before the kid gets to the bathroom, he projectile vomits in my lap.
I cleaned my clothes the best I could, but I smelled like puke the entire way back home. From feast to famine.
76. Under Pressure
I drank some wine at the airport bar when I was a fresh 21-year-old. I felt very cool and like hot stuff. Welp. Turns out I have low blood pressure and sometimes it drops drastically when you don’t eat or have low sodium levels or something. When I got on the plane, I took a little tipsy nap then suddenly woke up clammy and dizzy. My vision started tunneling and I realized I needed to go to the bathroom or vomit or both, immediately.
I started releasing the most toxic gas while I’m stumbling from my window seat over the poor two passengers, blindly feeling my way to the bathroom. I went into a semi-fetal position on the toilet until I could see again. As I came out after what felt like forever, I heard the guy sitting next to me telling the attendant he thought I might be dying. I finally went to see the doctor about it after another time, and when it happens, I basically have to find the fastest way to get salt in my body.
77. Can Tragedy Strike Twice?
I was traveling to Europe June of 2009, shortly after the French plane from Brazil crashed, Air France Flight 447. We were exactly over the same place it crashed, and there was the most INSANE amount of turbulence due to a storm. Whatever idea you have in your head, multiply that by like 100. Maybe even more than that.
It was so bad that me, my mom, my sister, and the rest of the plane were crying, some more than others. Everyone knew what happened to the French plane not even a few days before. My mom was making a prayer for us—my mom, 14-year-old me, and 8-year-old sister had to accept death. There was this Norwegian lady who was knocked the heck out, and woke up an hour later when it was not as bad.
When she woke up, she was hysterical, everyone told her this was much better than what we faced an hour ago. I seriously hate turbulence on plane rides.
78. The Undying
This one is from my father. He was flying in Russia and there was a terrible storm during the flight and obviously, it caused extreme turbulence. Then the captain turned on the PA system and told everyone “This is Captain Bezsmertniy speaking, we are passing through some light turbulence so please fasten your seat belts” in the most monotonous voice possible. There was one thing that made this even more terrifying.
The name Bezsmertniy translates in Russian to “undying.” Also, a lightning strike hit the wing. My dad was really glad he made it.
79. Missed Connections
I used to read a lot when I was younger. I was about halfway through The Hardy Boys books when our family went on a vacation. I sat next to an older woman and pulled out my book to read. I was terrified that she would, in typical old-lady fashion, start asking old-lady questions about my reading and my schoolwork, etc.
So, I tried hard to ignore her. To my surprise, the only question she asked was, “Is that a book you read for fun or is it for school?” I responded with a one-word answer: “Fun.” Then she pulled out her bag and a ball of yarn and knitting supplies. She asked if I wouldn’t mind her elbows getting in the way. I scooted over away from her as best I could.
I was so uncomfortable and awkward. For the remainder of the three-hour flight, I endured her bumping me with her elbows. I was visibly annoyed. As the pilot signaled us that our descent had begun, she tied off her knitting and handed me a ball of something. I unraveled it. A bookmark. She spent the three-hour flight knitting me this gorgeous bookmark.
It had a tassel and a pattern and everything. Perfectly functional. I felt like such an jerk for blowing her off throughout the flight. We had a great conversation about how she used to read Nancy Drew and whatnot. She was actually a pretty cool old lady. So not only was I incredibly uncomfortable for three hours, but I spent the last 15 minutes of the flight guiltily trying to make up for how much of a jerk little kid I was.
80. Freak Accident
The woman sleeping next to me started to convulse, and she began vomiting all over my right arm and lap. All I could do was reach up and hit the call attendant button. After 30 seconds, she woke up with no recollection of what had happened, and apparently it had never happened before. They relocated the woman to a different seat and I excused myself to clean up.
81. Now That’s a Disney Ending
I have my own vomit story to tell. I live in Orlando, so Disney central. Flights to/from Orlando are always full of kids going to/coming from Disney. Well, I was flying to Montana when the little girl across the aisle from me decides it’s time to vomit all over the aisle. This did involve vomiting all over her clothes as well.
It turned out that all of her extra clothes were in the storage under the plane. It was in this moment that I saw the most adorable and selfless thing any 6-year-old has ever done. This girl dressed as Belle sitting two rows in front of us walks back and hands the other girl’s mother a clean princess dress, not yet unpackaged from Disney.
The family thanks her and asks her parents for their address to have it cleaned and sent back. The family lets the girl who vomited keep the dress, and Belle instantly became the most adorable girl on the plane. Hope for future generations increased by 1000. I was sitting there, honestly trying not to weep in my seat.
82. A Slip Of The Hand
When I was an infant, I was sitting on my father’s lap when the flight attendant leaned over him to give coffee to the person sitting next to him. Her hand slipped and the boiling coffee spilled on my bare chest as my father was changing my shirt. It burned my entire chest. I had a massive scar for a year or two after, and apparently, she broke down crying during the flight.
83. No One Should Sit Easily Upon the Iron Throne
When myself and my brother were young, my family went to Cancun. We had puzzles and things with little magnetic pieces so they wouldn’t fly all over the plane, but my brother dropped one under the seat in front of him. He naturally went to grab it, but somehow got his head stuck under the seat. I mean, he was really stuck in there.
So, the flight attendant cleared all the seats ahead and behind us and tried pushing and pulling my four-year-old brother out of his metal prison. Eventually, after many tears, he was freed. After the flight, my dad was on the shuttle bus to get our car, and he overheard hypotheses of what had happened. “It was probably a heart attack,” said one lady. “No, I heard it was a bomb threat,” proclaimed her husband.
84. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
I was having to fly back home from across the country; my dad had fallen into cardiac arrest and wasn’t expected to make it. I had one phone call with my mother explaining the situation and that’s all I heard from anyone. I was put on a plane home with the thought that my dad had died at some point during the flight. Being on an eight-hour plane trip with the thought of not seeing your father ever again was so, so hard.
Every painful emotion was racing through my head while being in the air with a plane full of strangers. It was one of the worst moments of my life. I hope I never experience anything like that ever again. But will add that once I hit the ground, I was told that my father had woken and was making progress against the odds. I’m glad that to this day I still have him.
85. Angels in the Heavens
When I was really ill in October 2017, my father also became even more ill than I was in another country. There was nobody else around for him who actually gave a damn, so I had to fly over there to see and support him. I planned to bring him home with me after he had recovered from his surgery. I had just been through a lot of trauma, and I was in no physical or emotional state to be getting on a plane—but there was literally no other option.
The flight was only around two hours long, but even that was way too much for someone as weak and frail as I was at that time. When I was waiting in line to board the plane, I could immediately feel myself getting dizzy and panicky—but that got a lot worse when I got onto the plane and when it started to take off. I started having a full blown panic attack, hyperventilating and crying in my seat.
I was sitting at the window, and there was a rather large man sitting in the middle with his daughter on the outer seat. The man noticed me crying, and he and his daughter switched seats. She took my hand and said something along the lines of “You’re okay, we’re here. There’s no need to hold this anxiety back, we’re not going to judge you, just let it happen and everything will be alright.”
She just hugged me and told me she’s so sorry while I hysterically cried. Once we landed, she and her father drove me in their car directly to the door of the hospital my dad was admitted to (over an hour away). They even offered to book me a hotel for a night or two, but thankfully I already had my accommodations sorted out. I do not know what I would have done without those people that day. We have each other on Facebook now, and she still occasionally checks in with me to this day.
86. Try Something New
I was holding my toddler on a flight and the air pressure change from landing had her wailing. I tried everything I could think of to calm her. People were unbuckling their seatbelts and coming over to try and help. FINALLY, I filled a water bottle cap with water and had her drink from it. She wasn’t used to drinking like that, but I was thinking that the swallowing motion would help “pop” her ears.
It worked as she drank it, and then she stopped crying and fell immediately to sleep exhausted.
87. Everyone’s Worst Nightmare
We were flying from San Francisco to Cincinnati. In the middle of the flight, the pilot requests for everyone to fasten their belts because they are expecting a bumpy ride. Apparently, there was a weather disturbance that had been reported. Just prior, he had casually announced that we were at 40,000 feet, due for the expected time, and so on.
After the announcement, we hear tons of these sort-of popping sounds, and we’re all like WTF is going on? It got really bumpy… and it turns out, it was giant hailstorm hitting the plane. Then it got really bumpy. The pilot again announces more sternly for all crew to take their seats and for no one to get up. Now it was getting really really bumpy.
Then, it happened. We fell right out of the sky. There is no other way to describe it. It was like you were just sitting in a chair suspended from a rope at the top of a cherry picker and someone cut the rope. We dropped like crazy, and then WHAM. It was like the plane landed in an enormous vat of cream filling.
I don’t know how else to describe it—it was like, kind of soft, but still a big jolt. The jolt impacted on one wing more than the other, so the plane went askance and all sorts of luggage went flying out of the overhead compartments on the right side. They flew over to the left side, smacking a bunch of people in the head.
Some people who were not completely or at all buckled up—not the smartest folks—flew up and hit the ceiling, then fell back into their seats. There was screaming everywhere. Absolute chaos. Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, the pilot screams over the intercom, “Denver, we’re in serious trouble up here, I need…” and then a few other words we could not understand.
He freaked everyone out even more. He had forgotten to turn off the cabin speakers from the earlier announcement. It was super rough for a few moments, and then we drop like crazy again. The same thing as before, but a much harder landing. I mean, we dropped for what seemed like minutes but was probably only 10-15 seconds.
Wham! A much harder landing. More stuff went flying everywhere, more people were crying, praying, and screaming. It was nuts! We cruised through that, and it became smooth again. The pilot later announced he was sorry about the “mistaken” overhead announcement, and kind of downplayed that we were ever in any real danger.
He also said the current altitude was something like 18,000 feet. Whatever the exact numbers were, we had dropped about 10,000 feet, or 2 miles. It was the worst of the 500,000+ air miles I spent. You never heard so many people clapping upon landing.
88. I’m All Ears
I had a lot of ear problems as a kid that required multiple surgeries. I figured out on my first flight at age 19 that my ears could still bother me when the worst ear pain of my life hit me during the descent. Since then, I figured out how to make them pop, making it less of an issue. But I was unprepared that first time and spent quite a bit of time holding back tears until my ears popped on their own a few minutes after landing.
89. Consider It a Bonus
Baggage handler here. I once was sorting out luggage until I found a rather peculiar bag. It was tied up with rope, very loosely closed and just didn’t fit the normal luggage look. I read the tag to where it’s going, and it was headed for Colombia (which I handle), so I go ahead and grab it to throw into the bag cart.
As the bag hit the cart, the piece of rope holding it all together tore apart and its contents fell out. Lo and behold, lots of illegal substances. Now this was in 2000, so I don’t remember any type of high security. So I picked up the stuff and popped it back in the makeshift bag. As I was placing them in, I then found a stash of hundred dollar bills.
Not one or two, I’m talking wrapped in bands. Tons of money. So being the teenager I was, I pocketed it and had my own bag filled with nearly $25K. The next day, I bought a used car, paid my school off, and invested in an IRA for retirement. Thanks, stupid people!
90. Control Your Kids
I was flying home to Australia, and there’s some European family whose daytime is apparently our nighttime. Their bored kids run endlessly up and down the aisles, making sleep impossible. Cabin staff was useless. While in transit, one kid produces a green laser and waves it around. I’m not sure if it was powerful enough to blind, but his idiot parents don’t tell him off.
Thankfully their connecting flight was not the same. I slept for maybe two hours before arriving to attend my mother’s funeral.
91. Oopsie Daisie
I had a flight attendant throw up on my lap because she had drank too much before we took off. I’m pretty sure she got fired. I was 11.
92. Going To Brown Town
Oh boy. My boyfriend will KILL me if he ever knew I posted this. It’s bad but HILARIOUS. The whole day was chaos. I was on my period and emotional and wanted pizza more than anything on Earth. I literally cried when we got to the pizza place and they said they needed to cook my pizza and it would take 30 minutes. I wanted a Sbarro-type place with ready-made slices.
So after my meltdown, we got on the plane, pizza-less, and I naturally needed a nap after crying. Well, the reason we didn’t get pizza is that my boyfriend needed to drink a bunch of pints with his brother who was going to a different airport than us. Understandable, drink with your brother, but make sure you get your crazy girlfriend pizza. Anyway, I slept hard.
Then I woke up to the pilot saying we’re on our final descent and fasten seatbelts, yadda yadda. I was at the window, my boyfriend was in the middle, and there was a stranger on the aisle. Correction, my boyfriend was supposed to be in the middle. In reality, he was gone. I assumed he was in the bathroom, so I looked to the front and back at the overhead signs and they both said the bathroom was free.
I was thinking “Where is he then?!” Panicking, I was looking front to back as the ground was getting closer. I asked the stranger, “Where is he?!” And he says, “He went to the bathroom like 30 minutes ago.” Even the male flight attendant knew he wasn’t in his seat, so they checked the bathrooms. The ground is getting closer, here comes my boyfriend. He sits down just in time for landing.
He smells godawful. I was like “God you stink. What’s wrong?” His response made my blood run cold. In the most serious voice, he says “Stop. We’ll talk later.” I literally cannot breathe next to him because he smells so bad. I feel bad for the aisle guy. We get off the plane and then he tells me. He accidentally pooped his pants trying to get to the bathroom. He knew he needed to go pronto and nearly passed out trying to make it up to the bathroom but someone went in ahead.
He turns around, heads to the back, and doesn’t make it. Now, if you remember I said the signs said they were vacant. Apparently, he didn’t lock the doors during this panic. And naturally, he needed to get rid of the evidence, so he was trying to flush his boxers down the toilet, and IN WALKS the male flight attendant asking him to return to his seat. Catching him flushing his poop-covered boxers!
93. Filling Seats, Making Enemies
I got my window seat in the small plane for my one-hour flight and got comfortable. A short but built guy took the seat next to me and man-spread not only into my footwell but ALSO over into my chair, literally calf to calf, thigh to thigh with me. I went to automatically flinch away from touching a STRANGER, but I realized that I was way within my seat and if I moved over he’d get like £40 of my ridiculously expensive seat.
So I didn’t move. But then he didn’t move either? I am British so I didn’t say anything and just quietly seethed in my seat for the hour. When it’s time to land I like to look over to see the sky disappear and the land take up the full window when we turn to get into line with the airport. So I look to the other side of the aisle to watch and out the corner of my eye I see he thinks I’m trying to look at him and he SMILES!?!
Like we’ve been secretly enjoying him getting all up and cozy on MY SEAT on a Thursday afternoon business flight. I was SO MAD and continued to ignore him and seethe. I met my husband at the gate and I complained about this guy LOUDLY all the way to the parking pay station, culminating in a comprehensive and curse-filled conclusion about why he was creepy and why some people shouldn’t be allowed on public transport.
Turned around and he was paying for parking at the next pay point, looking very red and determinedly not making eye contact. No regrets. Screw that guy. Stay in your own seat.
94. Dancing On The Ceiling
I was headed to the Philippines on a two-week vacation with my cousin, and we were in San Francisco waiting to board our plane when it got delayed for four hours. That’s just the start…finally, after boarding, they had over-seated the plane and no one was volunteering, so they started to force people off the plane, and guess what? They chose me to “volunteer.”
After some arguing and negotiating, me and my cousin thankfully stayed on the plane. Or at least I thought I was thankful at the time. After taking off and eating our dinner on the plane, the lights got turned off. As the flight attendant was navigating the cabin and handing out drinks, she tripped over someone’s foot in the aisle and spilled a sticky drink all over me and my cousin.
After getting cleaned up and into clean clothes, almost everyone was asleep as we were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was roughly 3 am at this point. Well, I can never sleep on planes so I was wide awake, and I decided to go brush my teeth and use the restroom. Being a multitasker, I was using the restroom while brushing my teeth. I know it’s unsanitary but being a guy and having two hands makes me productive. Then everything went south.
The plane gave one small bump warning of turbulence, with no comment from the pilot. Out of nowhere, we hit dead air. The plane dropped, and I mean dropped!! My body flew up and smashed the ceiling, toothpaste, and pee flying everywhere in the bathroom. Meanwhile, all I hear is horrified screaming in the cabin outside the door. I was on the ceiling for a solid five seconds that felt like five minutes.
We finally hit good air and leveled out. I come smashing back down and hit hard. The bathroom, obviously, is an absolute mess. I rush out of the bathroom to my seat and buckle in immediately. The cabin was destroyed. People’s food, drinks, and personal items were everywhere. Seats were soaked, including mine, the ceiling had food stuck to it, people were still screaming and crying.
The pilot came on and said that the bad air was not on the radar and the rest of the flight would be smooth. And thank God it was, but holy heck was the first half of a 10-hour flight miserable. Thankfully, always pack two changes of clothes in my carry-on for international flights, so I had another clean pair to change into.
95. A Cry For Help
I was flying back to the States from Japan. The flight in itself was already a really long one. My family and I were seated at the very back of the plane like we couldn’t get any more back than that as far as seats went. Anyways, halfway through the 9-10-hour flight, a couple of rows ahead of us, we just hear this poor woman frantically screaming in another language, I believe it was Mandarin or something along those lines.
I looked up and saw her constantly screaming something, it must have been a name or a cry for help. I believe it was her husband; he was unconscious and wasn’t responding. The flight attendants came by, and they even managed to find a doctor who was on the plane. They dragged his body toward the back of the plane and found he didn’t even have a pulse and were applying CPR to him literally right next to my sister, who was sitting on the other side right of me.
They constantly tried but nothing worked. He died from heart failure, and according to the people with the gentleman, he had many health issues. After they stopped, the flight attendants asked my family and me if we could move seats. They had to wrap the body up in blankets and move him somewhere until we landed. They planned on putting him in one of the bathrooms and sealing it off for the remainder of the flight, but their regulations didn’t seem to allow that.
So instead, we moved and took the seats of the family of the deceased. They ended up buckling him into my seat, and I ended up sitting where he sat. For the remainder of the flight, there I was sitting in the seat of a man who had just died, while his body was buckled into the seat I was previously in. It was a really strange feeling, and it wasn’t comforting at all.
Because of our positioning, turning the plane around wouldn’t have mattered. We were hours from any land that could offer medical help. It’s frightening to be in a situation where no real help will come. I hope the family found some peace.