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I've done a fair amount of traveling and I count myself lucky that I've never had a truly bad experience while on an airplane. Now, I might have run into a few bumps while at the airport or on a long layover, but that's different. I've thankfully never had to deal with annoying seatmates. That would drive me up the wall. Maybe––maybe––the ocassional crying baby, but it was never too egregious to put a damper on the whole experience.

There are people out there who do not share my good fortune, sad to say, as we were all so painfully reminded once Redditor aw_thomas10 asked the online community,

"What has been your worst experience flying on a plane?"

"After about 10 minutes..."

"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 proper crash landing procedure."

I would have thought there would be hysteria, but everyone became deathly 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 dead. 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 die 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 police 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."

XelaNiba

"The smell..."

"This was when I was 10-11 years old. Went on a 9-hour flight and had the middle seat. An older woman sat in the window seat and had a horrendous smelling perfume on. The kind that gives you a headache in the first 10 min. She went to the restroom and re-applied her perfume every couple of hours. 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."

DudeAbides29

That bad, huh?

I pray I never have to smell something so horrible. My stomach can be delicate enough.

"The mushrooms stank horribly..."

"On a 13-hour flight, my neighbors were a very old man and his wife who declined to eat any of the airline's food, instead eating some kind of fermented mushrooms they'd brought in a jar with them. The mushrooms stank horribly, and each time they opened the jar it immediately woke everyone around them up and then the smell lingered in the area for a while."

RobertoBologna

This sounds like reason enough to get your alcohol comped. Wow.

"The seat recliner was broken..."

"12+ hour flight. 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."

26PointMax

Potato chips?!

These airlines can be cheap as hell...

"The saving grace..."

"Child 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 and 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."

fanaticfun

Sassy flight attendants are one of my favorite things about flying. They truly make the experience. They don't tolerate crap from anyone.

"I was on a small commuter plane..."

"I was on a small commuter plane (think about 20 seats, single file the length of the cabin), and we hit a wind rotor (I think that's what it's called) off the mountains. It felt like a giant baby grabbed the plane and shook it like a rattle. Hands down the worst turbulence I've ever felt. Other than that, my trips have been rather uneventful."

humanitymonster

I'm pretty sure I would have vomited.

Quite sure.

"Thought I just felt terrible..."

"I unknowingly had a sinus infection when flying from Greece to Italy. Thought I just felt terrible from a hangover. About 20 minutes into the flight my eardrum starts bursting and leaking fluid. It was some of the worst pain I've ever felt. The pressure subsided a bit once we landed in Rome but I had almost 100% hearing loss in that ear until the swelling went down 4 days later. I chug Sudafed like crazy now if I feel any sort of congestion prior to flying."

Ameriace

"I had a lot of ear problems..."

"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."

MadamNerd

"I was seated..."

"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."

DrunkenGolfer

You see, this has the makings of some kind of Final Destination accident. Thankfully it didn't become that. That would have been bad.

"Paid extra..."

"Paid extra to have an emergency row seat on a seven-hour flight to London once. I got to my seat and there was a life raft attached to the door that took up all of my knee space. It was worse than having a regular seat and I had been charged extra for it. Needless to say I did not enjoy my flight.

I was able to complain about it later and get the upgrade refunded. The experience still sucked."

CyanManta

After reading these, I truly feel blessed that I've never had an experience so bad that it ruined the flight. I am counting my lucky stars. The rest of you? Well, I'm not really a praying man, but pray for you I shall.

Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!


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