Travelling can be stressful especially when it involves flying. Being trapped in a contained area with 200 people is tolerable at best, and downright miserable at most.
Here, people share their strangest experiences they've ever had while on an airplane.
1/21. A women went into the bathroom and forgot to lock the door. Now you have to remember just how small and crammed these bathrooms on planes are. So anyway, a man then went up to the bathroom and thinking it was empty, opened the door and stepped inside.
Now upon stepping inside he immediately saw her and tried to quickly move back out-except he had unknowingly stepped into her pants and hooked his foot in them-so when he jumped back out he dragged her by her pants into the aisle with him and then as she struggled to break free he fell also so they started rolling around on the floor fighting one another, her half naked trying to pull her pants up, him panicked and desperate to be free.
2/21. I was on a flight from Amsterdam to NY one time and there was a kid who was running up and down the aisles trying to bite people. As he was heading down the aisle at full speed, a stewardess suddenly pulled the refreshments cart into the aisle right in front of it and he ran smack into it face first. She said to him "Oh, sorry, didn't see you coming. You shouldn't run like that down the aisle." or something like that.
I know she did that on purpose. It was awesome.
4/21. A couple of years ago, I was on a flight to New York. This one passenger up in business class had gotten really drunk apparently, and was disrupting the whole cabin. In his drunken rage, he pushed a flight attendant and was verbally harassing one of the officers on our flight.
Finally, when the officer went to restrain him, he went up the first class cabin, dropped his pants and defecated on the drink tray. Yep, in clear view of the whole cabin.
Needless to say, he got arrested as soon as we landed in NYC.
5/21. My mother gets onto a flight from Detroit to Tucson. She sits down next to a visibly nervous, fidgety woman, who proceeds to ramble on and on about how much she hates flying, how she had back problems, and continues on to spill every nervous detail of her life.
About 20 minutes into the flight, the woman FINALLY stops complaining. She says she doesn't feel well, then closes her eyes to try and sleep. Relieved, my mom pulls out a laptop and puts in headphones. Another 10 minutes go by. All the sudden, the sleeping seat mate slumps over onto my mom's shoulder (story continued on the next page...).
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Now officially annoyed, my mother taps her on the arm. No response. She shakes the woman. Nothing. She pushes the lady back up into her seat, only to realize that this woman actually isn't breathing. Seconds later, blood starts pouring out of the lady's mouth!
My mom jumps up and grabs a flight attendant, who in turn tracks down a doctor on board. The captain takes the plane down for an emergency landing. An ambulance meets them just off the runway and they rush the woman away on a stretcher.
My mom has no idea if this woman died right next to her or not. Somewhere in this woman's 30 minutes of rambling, my mom now recalls her mentioning a recent neck surgery and how the cabin pressure bothers her. There wasn't any update on her status from the airline after that. Probably for the best.
6/21. This story is was told to me by my friend Betty: She was on a cross country flight and was seated in the last row of the plane, right in front of the toilet. As if that weren't bad enough she discovered that she was seated in the middle seat. As the airplane began to take off the woman on the window starts talking across her to the man on her other side. It becomes quickly apparent that they are a couple because they start arguing about their relationship. They are in fact openly taking about divorce. The arguing goes on for 20 or 30 minutes and becomes increasingly hostile. She finally interrupts their bickering by offering to trade seats with one of them. They're so angry at each other though that they refuse. After a short silence they continue their arguing with her in the middle. After a few more minutes she excuses herself and finds a flight attendant. She explains to the flight attendant what's going on and the attendant says that though she feels really sorry for her that every seat is sold and there's nothing she can do.
So Betty goes back to the middle seat and the couple is still going at it. After a few minutes the attendant comes back with a smile and says "grab your luggage, I've found a seat for you." She then explains that Betty is going to sit in first class. She says "there's a man who has bought every seat in first class so he could have his privacy. I told him about your situation and he's agreed to give you one of his seats on one condition - you are not to speak to him under any circumstances."
"A first class seat and all I have to do is be quiet? Sign me up"! Betty is thinking. So they get to the first class cabin where the flight attendant instructs her to sit in the last row. As she's putting her luggage away Tom Cruise gets up from one of the forward rows, turns to her, and says something like: "it sounds awful back there... I don't mind you sitting here but this is the last time we'll speak". He then turns around and sits back in his seat. She restrains herself from wanting to hug him and says "Ok", then sits down and thoroughly enjoys the rest of the flight.
7/21. My mom has been a flight attendant for almost 30 years now, so she has her share of stories. The one that sticks out the most prominently in my mind, however, is this one...
A few years ago, her airline started allowing non service animals to travel, so long as they're in carrying cases. Shortly after this became a thing, she had a woman on board who had a case with a cat in it. Despite being one of the first to board, she sat toward the back of the plane.
As more passengers boarded, people started to come up front to complain to my mom about a foul smell coming from the back lavatory (story continued on the next page...).
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My mom went to go see what was wrong and everything was fine, but she could smell it too. At first, she dismissed it, sprayed some room spray, and went back to prepare for takeoff. As the final passengers boarded, more people came to complain about this awful smell that had yet to disappear.
My mom goes to the back of the plane and finds the source of the smell to be the woman's cat carrier. It turns out there wasn't just one cat in it. There were two. And one was dead and decomposing.
Needless to say, she was escorted off the plane with her cats in tow. How she even got past security is beyond me.
8/21. My personal strangest was when I was covering sports for the college newspaper... one of the guys on the soccer team was screwing around with the exit door and accidentally opened it while we were boarding. The whole panel lifts away, so there's a guy on our soccer team sitting there with a large hunk of the plane sitting in his lap. Lovely. Luckily, it was laughed off, closed, and off we went, but I sat there watching that door the whole time, as if my eyes being on it were the only thing keeping it in place.
9/21. Flying from Atlanta to Washington DC. We were about 45 seconds post-takeoff when the guy beside me unbuckled himself and starting running up the incredibly steep aisle. The flight attendants immediately start yelling at him to sit down, even going so far as to fumble with the intercom. About 10 feet from the front of the plane, one of the crew said:
Flight lady: "Sir, I'm going to have to demand you sit down."
Guy: "Ma'am, I am going to crap my pants."
He barricaded himself in the bathroom for about 10 minutes and emerged to clapping and angry looks from flight attendants.
10/21. One time I was on a flight and all of a sudden the pilot raced out of the cockpit, stopped at the row in front of me, and started frantically demanding they get out of their seats because he needed to get a better view of the plane wing. Once the row has gotten up, he kneels over and looks from the window seat out for about a minute. He thanks them, turns around, and goes back to the cockpit. I'm practically having a heart attack because I have flight anxiety to begin with. People are confused and asking what's going on and no one knows. Maybe 30 minutes later he finally announces on the speaker that everything is fine with the plane and there was some erroneous warning light that had come on. I didn't really feel much calmer after that, so it was another 2 hours of panic and fear for me.
11/21. I happened to fly on the very last day of Independence Air's operations in 2006, and this was one of their final flights. Our college computing club made an annual trip to CES (Computing Electronic Show) as a kind of nerdy pilgrimage. Being poor college kids, we booked our flights far in advance on the cheapest budget airline we could find, that year choosing Independence Air. A few days before the trip, we found out that Independence would cease operations at the end of the day we flew out. Not wanting to skip our trip, we went ahead with the flight and decided we'd just figure out how to get home once we got there.
We didn't realize what a strange flight it would be (story continued on the next page...).
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The first hint of what was to come was when one passenger's bag wouldn't fit in the overhead bin. A flight attendant walked over and proceeded to slam the overhead bin over and over until the bag finally gave way. After that, she was visibly upset and moved to the rear of the plane. She then started crying and one of the other attendants went to console her.
Once they started the beverage service, another FA began offering things to the passengers - extra snacks, sodas, blankets, basically anything they have. After all, they weren't going to be used after that flight.
Finally, one other attendant walked up and down the aisle, asking if anyone was a manager and was hiring. For anyone that looked up, she handed over a copy of her resume. We talked to her for a while - she was tired of all the travel and was hoping she could get a desk job.
12/21. In 1998, an Asiana 747 captain at Anchorage airport ended up at the wrong gate, and thought it would be a good idea to do a U-turn, instead of requesting a pushback.
The 747's wing sliced off the engine from a neighboring Aeroflot IL62, then cut into the Aeroflot's vertical stabilizer.
Sensing that his aircraft had become "stuck" in some kind of pothole, the captain increased thrust to take-off level, sending two baggage carts flying into the terminal (and warning sirens in the cockpit of course). Eventually, the ground staff persuaded the captain to kill the engines.
13/21. I literally saw that airplane scene from Bridesmaids unfold. This woman was on Xanax/drunk and kept going up to the first class area despite repeated warnings. It ended with LAPD escorting the woman off the plane as soon as we landed.
14/21. This was a while ago. I was reading and not paying attention to much. After a while, I started to think it was a really long flight just as the pilot came on the overhead and said that we had been experiencing strong headwinds and would be landing at an "alternative" airport; nothing further.
As we began our descent, the head flight attendant instructed the passengers to close all of the window shades and that no pictures of any kind would be allowed. They then walked the aisles to be sure the rules were kept.
Upon landing, we taxied a long while, we parked and the engines shut down. It was explained that we would refuel and then proceed to our destination. I don't remember if we were allowed to open the shades or I sneaked a peek (like to think it was the latter), but I did see military jets parked in the far distance (story continued on the next page...).
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The flight crew opened the cockpit door, presumably for air or something. As I was sitting right there I saw and heard the Captain pull down a rather large ringed binder and start flipping through it saying "Let's see if they have any fuel we can use." Interesting, I thought.
An hour later, a tanker showed up. I know this as by this time I was chatting up the head flight attendant and she told me that regulations required that she, the Captain and 1st Officer had to deplane and witness the re-fueling. That done, we were again told to keep the shades down and no photos. So where had we landed? Ran out of gas and landed in Area 51.
So, was it Area 51? Don't know, but Google Earth shows that Area 51 the next closest airport that would have military aircraft laying around; A 51 is was also ~135 miles closer to our origin. Who knows? BTW, I do glow in the dark now and can lift things by thinking about them...
15/21. On January 4th, 2013, a passenger drank two bottles of duty-free alcohol he picked up at the airport in Iceland. He apparently then tried to grope two women sitting next to him, along with spitting on random passengers.
When he became unruly, (i.e. trying to choke the woman next to him and screaming the plane was going to crash), fellow passengers subdued him and tie him up for the rest of the flight. He was escorted off the flight by police when it landed.'
16/21. I was about 15 and flirting with a cute girl in the seat next to me. My family was about 2 rows back with my younger brother and the lady that occupied the third seat pretty much set me up the entire flight. This old lady was the best wing man ever.
Anyway, I get up to use the restroom and she says she has to go too. She gets out first and I'm waiting for her to finish up. We've been flirting pretty much the whole flight and she knows that I'm right behind her in line. So she finishes using the bathroom and I walk in. Right there in the toilet is a gigantic unflushed turd.
To this day I have no idea how you respond to something like that.
17/21. There was the passenger who took a sleeping pill, sleepwalked (?) and peed on another passenger.
18/21. This was about 10 years ago. I was in a US airport that I cant remember on board a TAM flight waiting for takeoff. After some taxiing, the plane stopped behind a line of airplanes.
Immediately the pilot told us that we were waiting because there was a long line of planes ahead, I just didnt care, eventually we would takeoff.
A few minutes passed without the plane moving. Then the pilot spoke again, this time he sounded a little agitated. He told us the plane ahead of us was having a technical problem and that the tower was not giving him a solution but to wait. He told us our plane was in perfect shape and ready for takeoff and that it wasnt his fault. He apologized profusely and told us something weird if they dont fix this Ill fix it myself.
A few minutes later (story continued on the next page...).
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A few minutes later our plane started to move off the tarmac (!) and over the grass to overtake the broken plane. Im betting not even the most frequent fliers have ever been on a 767 taxiing over grass, there was a strong vibration and then we were on the taxiway again but the plane stopped. I saw a lot of lights yellow and white on my window, the pilot spoke again.
It seems that now the same (expletive) people that couldnt fix the broken plane want to check MY plane because I went off the tarmac, Im trying to refuse but they have threatened to not let us take off, Im going to fill a complaint with and now he listed a large group of people and organizations including the tower, airline executives, presidents of different countries and the pope.
Eventually the plane was checked and cleared and we took off. Brazilians can be great pilots but they can be scary when driving ground vehicles and now that includes planes!
19/21. A lady went to the forward toilet and after she locked herself in, after few seconds, I see a stream of white-yellowish liquid pouring out the door and into the cabin. When she went out she was mortified and explained to me that she raised the toilet cover, squat down and started doing her business. Basically the cover went down by itself (happens to me all the time, space is very limited) between her undressing and squatting down. She peeped on top of it.
20/21. In all that time, the worst thing I saw was also kinda inspiring, and awesome.
I was on a flight to New York, having just left Denver, when a substantially older gentleman stands up to use the restroom. He walks, not so gingerly, into the forward lavatory and closes the door behind him.
A few minutes later, the door slides open and a hand pops out, waving towards who I presumed was his wife. Apparently this gentleman had a bit of an issue and judging by the smell that rapidly engulfed the cabin, I'd presume a fairly serious one.
Over the next few minutes, the wife cleaned and aided her husband in finishing his duties, all the while leaving the door open, and together they walked hand in hand back to their seats.
No one clapped or anything, I imagine because hands were busy holding shirt to face, but you could tell that a few people were tearing up from the exchange. I mean, that's love ya know?
Then again, in retrospect, I believe they could have been tearing up from the smell... I'd like to think it was rather moving.
21/21. I found a pork chop covered in fur in the lavatory.