Ever had a weird encounter in an airport lounge? Don't worry, so have these people!
People on Quora share the weirdest thing that happened to them in an airport lounge. Content has been edited for clarity.
Chris Really Needed That
“The first time I flew to Switzerland, I went with my mom for a long weekend. We were sat at the gate, waiting to board the plane. I was engrossed in my book. So much so that I hardly noticed when she got up and walked around the chairs towards an older couple. I was only half paying attention as she was talking to them (it really was a great book.)
Suddenly, everything kicked off. This must all have happened in the space of five or six minutes, but it felt like 20–30 minutes.
This man fell to the floor, and my mother began checking him over. His wife was hovering over her and a man jumped up to help. He quickly took over and began CPR. Everyone was panicking. A woman with grey frizzy hair ran to the desk and insisted they call for help. Blood suddenly was everywhere, coming out of his mouth. The ladies on the desk were saying they couldn’t leave, and the grey frizzy woman started shouting at them to call for an ambulance. I leapt up and climbed over the chairs to reach the wife while the guy was still giving CPR. I took the wife away and sat in between her and her husband so she couldn’t see; her name was Chris. Her husband had heart problems, but his doctor had told him he could fly. The medication was in their blue backpack. Suddenly my mother was beside me, so I told her to grab the blue backpack, as I continued to sit with Chris and hold her hand and keep her talking to me. The paramedics were here, and I hadn’t even noticed them come in. People started boarding the plane, but I stayed with Chris until a nice lady took over from me. They held the plane for us, and they brought us bottles of water and checked up on us.
It was scary because everything was happening at once. Even though I will never forget her name, the color of the backpack, the sight of the blood spilling from his mouth, the grey frizzy-haired lady, the dress I was wearing as I worried about flashing my knickers to a group of bikers as I vaulted over the chairs… I can’t remember the order things happened in. As soon as it was over, I was trying to piece it together. In my mind, everything happened separately but also overlapping itself.
Somewhere in there, the man doing CPR was relieved by a lady who was in mountain rescue before the paramedics came. I think that’s when my Mum came across to check on me.”
What A Kind Woman
“My father died in January 2017. His memorial was in February, and I traveled from LA there with my brother in Phoenix, but on the return, I was alone.
At the airport for the return, I lost it when the airport baggage inspector wanted to examine my carry-on for illegal items after I declared my father’s ashes were in there. I looked up the policy, and I was in my rights to not have it taken apart and the sealed box opened up. I lost it. I told her my father had done more for that state and for that airport than she ever will, that he trained to save lives and improved emergency services in that state and at that airport, that the CAP building down the road was renovated to be a better command center for looking for downed planes and missing people to respond to natural disaster, and out of respect his ashes should not be handled like contraband. I had declared what the box was and that was to be good enough.
She persisted. Opened it. Lifted the lid with one finger, peeked inside very briefly, and zipped it back up. And that was that.
It was early at Yeager Airport. Not many people were there and the waiting room for the flight to Charlotte to make the LA plane was empty. My scene with the baggage inspector left me drained. I went into the ladies’ room. It was empty. And everything hit me again- the grief overwhelmed me and I broke down finally in full grief rather than the begrudged pieces of it I had let loose with my family.
Suddenly, a woman walked in. Most people would have left or did their business and left without a word, but this woman immediately came to me and just held me, to give me comfort. She didn’t ask why I was crying so hard. She just held me, giving me wordless comfort for a moment. I apologized, told her that Dad had died and it just overcame me. She said there was no need to apologize. She was glad she was there to give comfort.
It was a moment of agape, a transcendence in normal human interaction, and one after the thoughtlessness of the baggage inspector I needed to remind me that the world had caring people in it. During the flight, I had to give my carry-on to the steward because the carry-on was full. I told him that the ashes of Dad were in it and he promised to take care of it himself. The flight back was full of moments like that.
I was without the love of my family on that journey, but the love of strangers I had along the way reminded me that we are all family.”
They Need To Work On Their Customer Service Skills
“I was on a three and a half hour layover in Charlotte this past August. This was the first set of flights using a wheelchair.
I was given assurances when I boarded in Newport News/Williamsburg (PHF) my chair would be delivered to me upon landing at Charlotte (CLT). After arriving there, they said, ‘No, you checked it,’ and refused me the use of my medically prescribed device.
I was swiftly wheeled to the gate where my next flight would be; CLT has these transporter chairs that had a grip that must be squeezed by someone propelling the chair for the traveler, the traveler cannot move in any way (essentially, locked in place). I was whizzed past a food court and any restrooms and placed next to a row of chairs marked with the wheelchair/handicapped symbol, facing the gate, and unable to face any of the transporters who would have to move me if need be.
I was far enough away from those at the gate (which served several other connecting flights in the interim) that I couldn’t converse with them to explain my situation…I needed lunch. Finally, they summoned someone who did take me to one and back, but it was still rushed. These people doing the transporting are programmed to do things quickly, not because they want the traveler satisfied, but because the more people they serve, the more tips they likely get (and I did tip an amount higher than the food court cost).
I was then wheeled back to the gate, and I had to eat using only my lap as a table…I did spill some things on myself and wasn’t able to move, as the chair had me slightly reclined, it was an effort to sit up vertically because my legs weren’t level in this chair.
I did locate a fellow traveler who was nice enough to wheel me to a restroom, as that was something I definitely needed during such a layover, even if I didn’t eat. Further, after landing at Omaha (OMA), because the chair was checked (against my wishes) I had to be wheeled from there to baggage claim, rather than just go under my own power, so yes, another tip. At least, this person actually conversed with me and made me feel like a human, unlike CLT where I was a rolling piece of furniture.
OMA did properly tag the chair at their end for the return.
I did complain to the airline; I did get 10,000 miles added to my record and it was determined that while PHF did check the box for gate delivery, they didn’t attach a special pink tag that would have more easily caught the attention of the CLT baggage personnel. I did inquire that CLT might have a policy of no gate delivery so that the individual transport personnel would have additional persons to serve (and receive tips from). PHF stated that they would properly use the pink tag now that an incident did occur with their error, and further, I should ask the personnel at any airport to affix that special tag for the same reason.”
All Good Things Must Come To An End
“I was on the phone in the Newark United Red Carpet Club trying to figure out a trip that involved going to Switzerland, and figuring out which ticket had the highest chance of being upgraded.
This scruffy dude was in the lounge and overheard me and said, ‘I can get you the cheapest business class tickets if you follow my rules.’
I was intrigued.
He offered to get me a coach priced ticket with a guaranteed upgrade to business class. I was leery but what the heck.
He sends me via mail my ticket. It was a normal coach class ticket with a coupon to upgrade to business class. The date on the coupon was expired and the name wasn’t mine. Both were scratched out and my information was written in. Yikes.
I got on the plane and went to my business class seat to be met a few minutes later by a stern flight attendant who said, ‘Follow me.’
I thought for sure I was being taken off the plane, my ticket cancelled and possibly more repercussions.
Nope, somebody wanted their wife to sit next to them which was my seat. The flight attendant took me up to first class where I had a wonderful flight. Nobody said a peep about my ticket. The return leg was business class without incident.
I used that shady dude for about six months. Some trips were really dodgy with things like a ticket to Sacramento but I was to get off in San Francisco and just walk away.
About six months later, the dude dropped off the planet. I assume he was arrested or banned or something.”
At Least They Improved?
“There were nine of us, work colleagues, flying together from Manchester to Japan. As business class travelers, we were allowed to use one of the lounges.
We all arrived separately, and the staff knew we were a party of nine. As we arrived, we were all seated together. I sat there, food in hand, and saw we were sitting at a table with eight seats. I mentioned this to a staff member, and she told me, ‘Don’t worry we have plenty more seats.;
My colleagues looked at me as if to say ‘just chill Steve,’ but I’d been in this Manchester business class lounge before, I knew what was coming.
Number nine arrived (Simon) and he was seated at a separate table at the other end of the room. He asked to be sat with the rest of us but was told we were on a table for eight and it was full.
As the staff member walked away, Simon picked up his chair, to move it on to our large table.
The staff member spun around and started shouting at him to put the chair back and sit where he’d been told!
You could hear a pin drop. Everyone in the room turned and stared. Simon meekly replaced his chair and sat where he was told, like a child that had been caught misbehaving Our boss just quietly stood up and walked off to find the lounge duty manager.
A few moments later, Simon was walking to our table with the duty manager behind carrying his chair for him.
The manager then asked us if we’d like more food (all free anyway in the lounge), and apologized to us for his staff members attitude.
I said to him I’d experienced similar treatment previously, it looks like their policy is to make people sit only where they’re told. He admitted it was to allow them to facilitate maximum numbers efficiently, but they were trying to be flexible with us!
Shocking policy, when dealing with professional people, traveling for business, with their employers paying many thousands of pounds/dollars for long haul flights. This happened two years ago.
Three months ago, we were flying on holiday to Japan as a family and couldn’t get into our preferred lounge. We had to book the one that I’d had the bad experiences in.
We entered with trepidation, we were greeted nicely and told we could sit anywhere we liked!
Well done Manchester Airport, much better experience than two years ago.”
Why Didn’t They Help Them?
“In the mid-70s my brother, 16, and I,12, were flying from Stockholm to our parents in Zambia, and we had a connection in Zurich to catch. We got the tax-free smokes for the folks already in Stockholm. Bad idea. Arriving at the gate in Zurich to catch the flight to Nairobi, I guess, we found that UN who paid our tickets and saved some and got us stand-by tickets. Our parents worked for ICAO and UNDP.
We didn’t get on board the flight. The Swissair staff tried to find new connections for us, but there was very few flights heading in our direction.
Realizing that we would be stuck a while, we also realized we had very little cash on cash. We only had a few dollars in our pockets. All we could do was make the best out of a terrible situation. The money got us a cup of tea each the three days at the airport. All I remember was the incredibly uncomfortable seats in the terminal. Not a single place to lay down except the floor, and in those days lying around on a terminal floor was not really acceptable behavior. At least that was how we were raised.
Finally, on the third day, we were booked on an Alitalia Flight. But due to heavy fog, the airport was closed and we had to take a long bus ride to Basel/Mulhouse where we boarded an Alitalia flight to Rome (I think). They served a fantastic ham and cheese roll that I will never forget!
I still can’t grasp how the Swissair staff could sit at their counters day after day looking at us two kids without even considering helping us out with food and lodging. I remember being surprised that I’d lost quite a lot of weight in just those three days.”
They Were Yelling, But For A Good Reason
“When I was 19, I wanted to learn Italian so accepted a job as an au pair in Catania, Sicily. It became apparent very quickly that what they really needed was a nanny (who spoke Italian) as the job was 12–14 hours a day with a four and six-year-old, sole charge
What became even more apparent was that whilst their mother clearly loved her job, she resented not being home with the kids and took it out on the au pair.
After five weeks, I gave in my notice. Life is too short. Rather than accept my notice (so they would have time to interview for someone new etc), the mother went into a screaming fit and insisted I leave the house that night.
So at 10 pm, I found myself in Catania airport with no cash and a plane ticket that I couldn’t use for another few days (flights to and from Catania weren’t as frequent back then!).
So I did what any resourceful young woman would do and looked for a quiet spot to wait it out.
Catania airport is tiny. There was a departures’ hall with two customs windows, and a few restaurants downstairs and a waiting area with a snack bar upstairs (may have changed by now). So I grabbed a luggage trolley, took my things upstairs, and went to sleep on my backpack to ensure nothing got nicked.
I spent the following day sitting on my pack and taking the occasional stroll around the building trying to ignore my stomach rumbling and then bedded down for night two.
Partway through the night, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and I was wide awake instantly.
It turned out to be a homeless guy. I explained I had no money to give him and he said he had seen me there the night before then started saying, ‘Police!’
Oh great, I thought
The customs officer duly arrived and asked why I was there. We went through explaining what had happened and why I was there. They asked if I had eaten and how old I was. When I said I hadn’t eaten for two days, they erupted. I was terrified! I thought I’d said something wrong as they started gathering my things, all still yelling, and asked me to come with them. Please bear in mind that I only had five weeks’ worth of Italian under my belt at this point!
So we went downstairs and into their office. I honestly thought I was about to be arrested for loitering and was desperately trying to explain that my flight was the following evening. At this point, a woman named Louisa arrived. Louisa spoke some English! Phew! She explained that the shouting had been the chaps all exclaiming how sickened they were that any Catania would throw a young woman out into the night with no money. I relaxed a little.
It was by now nearly midnight. One of the customs guys suddenly stood up and said, ‘He’s here, come with me.’
Completely bewildered, I stood. We walked back out into the main departures area and I discovered they had phoned the owner of one of the airport restaurants and had explained what had happened.
This guy rocked up in the middle of the night and opened his kitchen and asked me what I would like to eat! I explained again that I had no money and he just laughed and proceeded to cook me the most amazing pasta with eggplants that I’ve ever had! At 1 AM!
Having eaten, he handed me a note and said if I got hungry before my plane, I was to show the staff that note and they would feed me for free.
I then spent two hours in the customs office playing cards and drinking coffee! Louisa then said they had put a chair in the departure hall for me to have a sleep and apologized that they would need to wake me just after five as they would have passengers arriving!
So I slept. Fed and safe on a garden recliner with a blanket. Bliss!
They awakened me just after five with a coffee, and I went back through to the main departures’ area.
When my flight was called and I went to go through customs, much to my fellow travelers’ surprise I got hugs and kisses rather than my passport checked!
I remain, to this day, so grateful for them restoring my faith in people!”
She Won That Award For A Reason
“One of my colleagues in advertising was a very good operator, and was selected as one of the stars of the ad agency in Asia. She won an award to go for training to the head office in Chicago; apparently, only the best got that opportunity. She was really hyped up, and because she usually cannot sleep on flights she took a sleeping pill.
Now the problem was three things – one there was a flight delay announced, second she is very small, under five feet, and three that sleeping pill worked very quickly. She fell asleep in the waiting area, slipped down on the seat, and was not noticed when they closed the lounge after the flight had departed.
She woke up early in the morning to find herself locked in and had to bang on the door to get security to help her. She took the flight the next day and started at the training despite serious jet lag, no sleep, and a long flight. Too scared to touch sleeping pills!”
Did They Give Up Their Share Of The House?
“I was doing some work at an airport in Las Vegas when this couple sat down next to me. The dude was just yelling nonstop at the woman, about nothing I could figure out. I actually wondered if it might be an abusive relationship, but she kept giving him sass every few minutes and was clearly winning the argument.
I got tired of listening to them and put on my headphones. One Slayer album later, I took off the headphones and they were full-on getting divorced.
They were arguing over assets, ‘I’ll give you $40k for your share of the house. Don’t make me lawyer up!’
Then I looked at my watch, looked at the sign, and realized I had missed my flight. There was a gate change, and I missed it because I had my headphones on. I got on another one quickly, at least.”
So, He Was Never Really Late?
“Flying from London to Glasgow one time, I magically gained about half an hour.
The only ticket I’d been able to get for the trip was from Heathrow and I live in Northeast London. It’s the furthest airport from me so I never fly from there normally, and it wasn’t a journey I was familiar with.
This was before the Heathrow Express, so I set off early in the morning to get the Tube from the very end of the Victoria Line to the opposite end of the Picadilly.
Now the thing is that the Tube map is topological. So although it didn’t look that far on the map, the real-world stations get further and further apart the further you go out of town. And it was becoming obvious that I’d massively underestimated how long it was going to take me to get there.
Now, I normally like to be the most relaxed person in an airport so I try to arrive in plenty of time for a flight. But this was an early morning, so I’d left it a bit sooner than normal, and now it was looking awful.
I dove off the tube, headed into the terminal and looked around for details of my flight. After wasting a few more minutes I realized that I was in the wrong terminal. Shoot. I’m going to miss this flight!
So I barreled along to the right terminal, fretted nervously in the security queue,, and then ran as fast as I could to the departure gate. I waved my documents at the gate people, who seem extremely nonplussed at my arrival. Oh, god. I am ‘that guy,’ aren’t I? The one they’ve been calling because I’m so late?
I thundered down the tube bridge thingy and through the plane door, expecting to be tutted with all the passive-aggressive disdain that only a British crowd can muster.
But the plane was totally empty.
I mean literally no one on there.
The staff’s aloofness must have been them thinking I was a right pushy idiot at best, or some kind of lunatic at worst, rather than them being cross at me for holding up the plane. I found my seat and sat down in a kind of baffled daze.
About 10 agonizingly long minutes later, people started to filter on and sit down and I was mercifully swallowed into the crowd.
I have no idea what happened. The plane wasn’t delayed. I checked. It took off on its scheduled spot, but there was no way that I could have made it to the departure gate with time to spare.
I was flying with a colleague who eventually arrived and sat next to me, and asked, ‘Where did you get to, man?’
I had no idea how to answer him.”