From kicking and screaming kids sitting on the back, to a passenger clipping his toenails that went flying all over the plane, travellers share the worst experience they had on an airplane.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
Circling Atlanta because it was covered in a severe thunderstorm. We went round and round for over an hour, this was after a 4 hour flight from Phoenix. Pilot comes over the speaker with “folks we’re out of fuel so we’re landing now.” We started the descent and it went pitch black. It was dead silent in the cabin. You could hear alarms in the cockpit and the engines over revving like they were going to explode. It was terrifying. We would suddenly drop every few seconds, just straight down, and a startled gasp would echo throughout the passengers but they still stayed quiet. The pilot came back on and said we were about to touch down and to brace for possible impact. When we landed it felt like we just dropped 30 feet down instead of gliding down to the runway. You could hear the tires screaming on the wet pavement. Finally we came to a complete stop and just sat there for what felt like an eternity. Then we slowly started taxing around to the terminal. The pilots came out and greeted people as they got off the plane. A couple of women hugged them. Most men shook their hands, I certainly did. When I shook their hands I could see that they were soaking wet from sweat. I think that’s what affected me most, this wasn’t routine for them and they were probably just as scared as the rest of us.
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.
At the end of my trip to Canada all I had was a hoodie, no clean T-shirts. I chuck everything in the hold of the plane except my iPad and headphones. So I am queuing with my boarding pass and this dude behind me makes this weird sound but I’m British (so obviously I don’t turn round). Get on the plane and the air conditioning is cold, like, REAALY cold, so I pull down my sleeves, put my headphones on and pull my hood up.
Yeah. So anyhow, that dude had been sick in my hood.
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 towards 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.
An overnight flight – checked in online with an aisle seat but didn’t realize it printed as middle 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.
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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, where 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 dump all over the front of me. Stunk up the cabin badly – had to go into the bathroom and try to get it 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.
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 and 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 sooth her and let her fall asleep and 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.
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. They couldn’t land, as we were right above the desert, so they just kinda 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 and I was 50% excited and 50% terrified that I had seen dead person feet.
Lady behind me brought her kid who screamed the entire 4 hour flight. Kicked my seat. Screamed some more. Had a tantrum and was climbing over the back of my seat and shaking it furiously. Meanwhile, the mom is just sitting there smiling, not even apologizing or trying to correct the behavior at all. I had the worst headache when we got off.
I was once on an airplane sitting in first class. There was a man sitting in my row that was clipping his toenails and they were FLYING in all sorts of directions. He then proceeded to take that long metal thing on toenail clippers, clean out his toe jam, and wipe it all over his seat.
He wins the most treacherous human being award.
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Two to share
One – I got food poisoning from chicken on a flight over to Ireland. It was wholly unpleasant.
Two – I asked for a vegetarian meal on my way home from the same trip (I learned) and they forgot to have any veggie meals. So they gave me fish. I explained that I actually don’t eat fish, so they took my meal away. I asked if I could have at least the bread and salad, but it was a no go. Note: I had spend the night before at the airport and hadn’t eaten in about 12 hours by the time I boarded the flight. Then the flight couldn’t land so we were in a holding pattern. Then, at customs, I found out that my bag had incorrectly been marked as having live poultry, so I had to go through extra screening.
Happened to me a few weeks ago coming home from California. The plane is on the runway and we take off at full speed to get in the air. All of a sudden at the last second the pilot SLAMS on the brakes. It was terrifying. Had to wait an hour for them to see what was wrong and spent the entire flight wondering if every bit of turbulence was something wrong.
I’m not fond of flying to begin with and this was my nightmare fuel for months after. On a trip from Portland OR, to Las Vegas in December of 2005, the pilot comes on the radio about 15 minutes after take-off and tells us we’re about to hit a really rough patch of turbulence and that nobody can get out of their seats. I’ll never forget his words “This is going to get rough folks, I’m sorry, but we’ll be ok.”
For the next 2 hours, I experienced exactly that, the worst turbulence I have ever experienced on a flight. This wasn’t just minor bumps, this was up and downs and big dips into massive air pockets. The lights flickered a few times, luggage compartments opened and stuff fell. I was sitting in the rear and all I could hear clinks and clanks of the flight attendant drink trays. It was awful. If you’ve ever seen the airplane scene from the movie Almost Famous, that’s what it felt like, for 2 hours.
7.5 hour indirect flight (1 stop, no plane change). I knew I’d be starting my period in the next couple of days so I was being overly cautious, checked right before I got on the plane and everything was fine. Plus, I can always tell exactly when I start my period because my cramps are horrendous. Put on a pad just in case. Good to go.
Literally within minutes of taking off, boom. Horrific, soul-crushing, tiny-demon-juggling-knives-in-my-uterus level cramps. The painkillers I packed were in my checked bag. There is no way to sit on a plane that makes it any better. The entire experience was just constant, excruciating pain. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t vomit. It was so bad, I couldn’t focus enough on anything (movie, book, etc.) enough to distract from it. I just sat there and held back tears and waited for death. For SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS.
No flight has ever felt so long. I haven’t taken an indirect flight since.
Was on an Emirates flight and went to the toilet. Opened the door and lo behold! This girl was riding this guy, who was sat on the toilet. After a few seconds of eye contact with the blond-haired girl, I didn’t really feel the need to go to the toilet anymore and threw up (I was quite young and didn’t know what they were doing). My parents found me and saw what was happening in the toilets, and they, well, had words with the couple.
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Having the flight be delayed several times due to “ground operations at O’Hare” from 8am all the way to 5pm at the airport, then finally board the plane only to sit there for 2 hours and be told that the “crew had timed out” so they went to find another crew.
Another hour later, they announced they couldn’t find another crew today, and we all have to de-board the plane.
Then back in the airport they announced that the cancellation was due to weather so they would not be issuing any sort of credit or hotel reimbursement etc.
Got stuck on the tarmac in Toronto for several hours because the people at Paris airport let a bunch of people on the plane without going through security for some reason? I think they were transferring from the Middle East somewhere.
After waiting forever on the plane they brought an x-ray truck and searched everyone on the tarmac. It was on the news. Not a terrible experience but still kind of sucked.
Another time I got delayed 12 hours because Trump was in his plane at the airport during the campaign and I guess that meant no one else can fly?
I was on a work trip, 5 months pregnant with 2 male colleagues. In the terminal right before boarding they announce “we want to inform you all ahead of time the rear lavatory on the plane is broken.” My seat was closer to the front, so my pregnant waddling self did not worry. They failed to inform us the rear lavatory was the ONLY bathroom on the plane! No bathroom, 5 months pregnant, 3 hour flight trying not to lose my urine in the seat next to my boss.
A few years ago I used to be a DJ and got a few gigs in other cities, there was this great gig where I went with 4 other guys and we got wasted but went to bed relatively early, except for one of them who kept binging almost until our flight back.
It was a hot city and we stayed on the runway for a while. At some point I looked over and he was pale, looking like he was dying. The stewardess noticed him, said we couldn’t fly with a zombie and canceled the take off.
The protocol was that a doctor from the airport had to check him, but there was a doctor on board that checked him with a stethoscope and said he was fine, so we took off and he drank tons of water on that hour flight.
When we landed, the doctor said he was an OB Gyn who knew he was wasted, so he half guessed the diagnose just to get going.
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Being a foreigner, I was in Copenhagen, waited for my flight for six hours with a killer flu. I felt like I was hallucinating or loosing consciousness most of the time, couldn’t keep my head straight.
Finally the boarding time had arrived, we took our seats on the plane and… waited for 2 hours. Meanwhile the pilot was announcing there was something wrong with one of the engines, and mechs are trying to repair it. After 2 hours they decided to change the plane and redirected us to another gate. This also took some time.
Meanwhile being sick and lacking self-confidence, I couldn’t explain my severe situation to anyone or ask for help, so I had to keep my head up and follow the people from the previous plane without fainting.
It felt like an eternity.
I’d recently gotten dumped by the person I had thought I was spending my life with, but already had tickets bought for a trip. So I went. On takeoff there was a huge amount of turbulence and the plane was shaking so much I thought it was about to come apart in mid-air. And I suddenly realized… I didn’t care. I even welcomed the thought of it. I realized that the last half year I’d only kept going because I was, pardon the pun, on auto-pilot. I understood that nothing meant anything to me anymore.
I’m better now.
I was on a plane from Vancouver to Toronto. I had the window seat. The passenger next to me was begging me to switch seats as she wanted to take some photos out of the window. Reluctantly I agreed to switch places with her even though I really wanted something to rest my head against while I sleep during the flight. I was seated in between her and her husband. I had asked the husband if he would like to sit beside his wife, but for whatever reason he refused. I’m a bit shy so I couldn’t insist any further The whole flight consisted of the couple loudly conversing over my head. The worst part was, about 30 minutes into the flight, the husband decided to take off his socks and shoes. The smell was so bad. I didn’t have the courage to ask the man to put his shoes back on, but lucky the passenger in front asked a flight attendant to tell the man to put his shoes back on.
The lady never ended up raising the window blinds to take pictures.
Ate dinner at a restaurant in Newark Airport. Boarded plane bound for Oslo (approx. 8 hours). Two hours in I’m just chilling and watching movies when I suddenly start feeling weird. I’m cold sweating and just not feeling my general self. I decide to try and walk it off and just splash my face with water in the restroom. Suddenly I am projectile vomiting EVERYWHERE in the bathroom. When I was done, more vomit was outside the toilet than in it. I had food poisoning, and the next six hours were living hell. It was so bad that I don’t even remember it anymore, I just zoned out between running to the bathroom (and knocking asking the person to please come out if it was occupied) and sitting back in my seat listening to classical music with puke bag in hand to try to calm down. 0/10 would do it again. As a bonus I had also vomited a bit on myself, so the poor people sitting next to me had to smell it the rest of the way as well.
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Was trying to fly home to NH from New Orleans for Thanksgiving while on a break from college. I had a layover in Knoxville. The layover flight got delayed because they were having a terrible snow storm and we had to wait for it to pass before we could take off. 5 hours later, I’m in the air headed home. Flight goes mostly normal for the 2 1/2 ish hours it was supposed to last. The pilot comes on and says that we should be making our final decent towards the airport. I’m thinking it’s probably another 30 minutes or so before we actually touch ground. 20 minutes go by and the pilot comes back on. He tells us that the storm we had to wait out in Knoxville moved faster than they thought it would and was now over the airport and keeping us from landing. He told us that, instead of diverting us to another airport like Logan or maybe to New York, they were turning the plane back around and going back to Knoxville! And we did! Got back to the Knoxville airport about 4 1/2 hours after we had taken off. It was completely dead. They gave me a voucher for a local hotel and got me on a flight out the next day. The next day (Thanksgiving Day) I was finally on a plane back to NH. My luggage however, was not. I had to have my dad come pick me up at the airport at like 6 am and drive me to the closest Walmart to buy new clothes so I had something clean to wear to Thanksgiving at my grandparents because apparently the ‘Alcatraz Psycho Ward – Outpatient Facility’ t-shirt I used to wear while flying, wasn’t really Thanksgiving/Family Holiday appropriate.
It was a small twin-prop (maybe 15 seats) from a regional airport to an international airport, with only three passengers. The three of us had met in the departure lounge; we were all in our early 20s – two guys and one girl. We walked out onto the tarmac together and boarded the plane; the girl was nervous because it was her first time on a small plane. We reassured her that there was nothing to worry about.
The plane took off and a few minutes later, the copilot pulled back the cockpit curtain and told us that we could unbuckle, but that there was likely going to be some turbulence on the trip. I took off my seatbelt, raised my armrest, and turned around with my feet in the aisle so I could see the other two and said, “see, it was fine.” At which point we hit an air pocket, the plane dropped, and I flew up and hit my head on the bulkhead. The plane came up again and I slammed down into the aisle landing on my knees and bashing my head into the floor.
I started laughing, the other two started laughing, and the copilot was yelling back asking if I was ok. I was fine, I climbed back into my seat, and suggested that maybe the other two should leave their seatbelts on. The rest of the flight was uneventful, and the three of us had the most amazing conversation about… everything.