Flight Attendants Describe The Scariest Flight They've Ever Been On

Flight Attendants Describe The Scariest Flight They've Ever Been On
Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

It takes a lot to become a flight attendant. Not only do you have to maintain a calm demeanor while dealing with some of the antsiest and worst passengers in all of the service industry but, oh yeah, you need to do it 30,000 feet off the ground. Fortunately, almost all flights ever are standard take off and touch down. Nothing exciting ever happens, except for a crying baby.

And then, there are these flights.

Reddit user, u/mrSFWdotcom, wanted to know about:

Flight attendants of Reddit: what's the most legitimately scared you've ever been on a flight?

Wait For It...

Flight attendant here. I haven't really had many things happening that were scary, usually the stories are more gross or fun/sad. Turbulence doesn't really do anything for me but medical situations freak me out.

We are trained for identifying what the situation is and how to help or make them confortable in more severe ones. I still remember in my first year, having just taken off for the first of four flights on that day, a passenger pressed the call Bell because another passenger wasn't well. I was the first to arrive to help and I will spare the details but it looked serious. We suspected that he was having a stroke so we had to land as fast as possible.

There was so much going on in the 15 minutes it took us to land and then waiting for paramedics to take him to the hospital. I was scared for him. He got off and we carried on but I kept going back to think what I could have done better and kept dreaming that he passed away ( if the passenger doesn't contact the company after, we don't find out what has happened). So yeah not very scary but it [stuck] with me.

Bonus gross story (as I have plenty of these) : Elderly passenger once left me a bag of pee under the seat. Still warm.


What A First Flight

I was on a plane about 8 years ago. It was one of my first flights, hadn't experienced any real turbulence. That plane was bouncing all over the place. There luggage started falling from the overhead space. It was wild. Flight attendants were strapped in, I couldn't see them though. By the time they came around with the snacks they had called down, but some of the passengers were permashook, didn't call down until we landed


Not Scared. SCARRED.

A couple went into the bathroom on my flight to Hong Kong from Australia. After a few minutes she started screaming, thought she was getting murdered, they accidentally unlocked the door, I don't know how and they were there committing some very hardcore sinful acts.

I was traumatised, not so much scared but scarred


Did Anyone Else Feel That?

I have had 4 emergencies total on an aircraft. We go through rigorous training and it is ongoing for our entire careers to prepare us physically and mentally for almost any problem on board. The most scared I have even been is when a major part of the plane broke inflight during landing. I felt it happen and the passengers never noticed. I sat in my jumpseat, prepared myself for the worse and kept smiling.

We landed just fine, Captain called and said remain seated. Went to the gate, said goodbye to all the passengers and after they had left, the Captain smiled and looked at me and said, do you know we almost died. I said, yeah...I felt it right before landing.

The FO (First Officer) looked like he sh-t himself. We were stuck on the ground for 5 hours waiting for maintenance to come with a part from another state entirely. I was scared for a moment, but got over it quickly. Flew out the same day and did 2 more flights that were delayed. The passengers were angry and mean and I just apologized and smiled. They had no idea we almost became a statistic. The other 3 were medical emergencies and I just handled it like I'm trained to.


Never Scream On An Airplane

My sister was in a flight once where a person near started having a panic attack/manic episode, and started punching the window and the people sitting near them, screaming, "let me out!" And scrambled into the isle trying to make a beeline for the exit door.

They had to make an emergency landing, and the entire crew was subduing this person. A jerk in the row in front of her keep pushing the call bell and getting mad he wasn't getting served. She said the flight crew just got a serious look on their face and handled it


Lasting Impact

Not me, but my brother. Can't remember all the details, but they were flying home from a destination wedding. He flew a lot, and was not a nervous flier. Something happened, masks came down, and they were all told to brace for a possible crash landing. Luckily, the plane didn't crash. However, my brother now needs to take Xanax to fly.


Up, Then Down, Then Up, Then Down

Flying out of Denver can be real choppy for the first few minutes of gaining altitude.

One time I was on a smaller turboprop type plane. We had waited 30 minutes for a storm to clear. The takeoff was smooth enough but in less than a minute we hit turbulence.

I've flown on huge jets with center aisles, and small prop planes that fit 5-6 people including pilot. I'm used to the sudden drops of altitude and feeling the stomach flip, and I know those drops can be 100 to 1000s of feet in a second. I've also felt turbulence that knocked luggage loose and made people start praying. I know that planes are made to withstand all of this, and want to remain in the air.

But holy sh-t I thought we were going to hit the ground. It seemed like every time we'd get lift, we'd lose twice as much. I could still see ground very clearly, and the angle we were stuck at and starting thinking we'd stall before anything else. I don't know what the pilots did, but for the next minute you could hear the engines roaring off and on, and we slowly got altitude and seemed to level out.

Things calmed down but when I looked outside we were still relatively low. Flight attendants went down the rows checking everyone and then offered drinks and snacks. I ordered a double whiskey neat and found out they were comping alcohol.

I've since learned that after any turbulence or other issue, if they happen to buy your drink after, some serious sh-t almost or did likely happen.

I also try not to fly much.


You'll Always Wonder, Yet Never Know

I worked as an airhost for two years.

On a flight to copenhagen we had a medical emergency. A passenger fainted with what his friend said was stomach pain. We gave the person oxygen and asked his friend to hold his head back. We where just about to land and to not hurt the man further the pilots landed swiftly. AS soon as the plane touched down we jumped up from the jumpseats to assist the man. He was now awake, but very pale and very weak. We gathered his information so it could be relayed to the tower and get help at the gate.

The passengers where rushed off, to make room for the EMT's. The man was helped and treated before being transported off the plane. The EMT came back to tell us that he was OK.

We had a normal turn-around after that. We loaded up again and went home. The flight took no longer than 50 min. When we landed, we learned that he did not make it. He was better after exiting the plane. He was given the clear and a pass to the lounge awating the next flight to catch up with his friends, but sadly turned for the worse and passed away.

That really hit home. I was affraid I missed something, or that I should have known better. We had all passed him several times. Even his friends sitting next to him did not know, that every time we thought he was slepping, he had most likely passed out. I kept this in mind every flight since. Kept asking people who traveled together if the other one was sleeping and such.

I never found out what caused his death. Since he was taken off the plane he no longer was our responsibillity. The airport did not give us any more information.

I still think about this man, what happend and what could have been done, 5 years later.


Poor Timing

My dad flies from AZ to HI a couple times a month (pre covid). I know turbulence can sometimes be bad but the craziest story he told me was when a elderly man died shortly after take off so a flight attendant covered him with a blanket for the remainder of the 6+ hour flight. Something you probably don't think about when applying to the job.


Good. Lord.

Finally a question I can answer! My only real scare as a flight attendant was a bomb threat we received right after take off, apparently someone had called the authority and reported a bomb in the aircraft. Captain informed us of the situation and told us we were going back to base, we just told the passengers we had a technical issue not to scare them but it was the 15 longest minutes of my life. In the end we learned it was just a guy who didn't want his parents to visit him and discover he was growing weed in his apartment...