Why do these people decide that short plane rides are the best places to unleash their most disgusting habits? Does the claustrophobia get to them? Are they angry by the in-flight movie? Whatever the reason, either something goes horrifically wrong, or these people let their freak flag fly in the most unexpected ways. Content has been edited for clarity.
Frightening Surprise Awaits Her
“I was saying goodbye to the last of the first class passengers. At this point, I was like a polite and methodical robot. It was the middle of the night, my feet hurt, I was tired, and I was trying my best not to sound sing-song. It was the last night of my nonstop coast-to-coast run for the month. This flight had been long and difficult. For one thing, the passengers drank way too much and they had become overly rowdy. We’d been forced to take a two-hour layover at O’Hare for the ground crew to repair an engine problem. As an apology for the delay (and with the best of intentions), the captain told us to open the bar, once we were back in the air. My thoughts kept wandering elsewhere. I was really looking forward to my four days off before the next cycle, when it would begin again for another month. The flights I was scheduled for next month would actually get me home at a decent hour. No more ending my shift at two in the morning! I would feel so used up and washed out by the end of those shifts. I had made some plans to join my three roommates on my days off to go sight seeing all around San Francisco, and the thought of my adventures was getting me through saying goodbye to this final section of people.
As I got off of the plane and walked through. the deserted parking lot, the icy tendrils. of fear prickled the nape of my neck. There was nothing in the lot to be scared of, so why did I feel this way? It wasn’t until I got to my car that the fearsome feeling started to make sense. I noticed the broken glass below the driver’s seat of my car. What I didn’t notice was the man hiding down in the backseat. He must have found my airline parking sticker, entered the car, watched for the plane to land, and waited. Just as I opened the car door, a vicious flash entered my field of vision. This man came at me with a punch to the face. He held a knife between us, as if it was an amulet for good luck. He let out some more rage-fueled swings and shouted at me to shut up or he would take care of me. I barely heard the rest of his words, and I didn’t even feel the punches. Blood-curdling screams rang out into the night, one after another. I didn’t realize that they were mine.
‘The screaming is what saved you,’ the officer told me, later at the station. That and the elderly couple who found me running and screaming down a busy two-lane road with cars whizzing by me in both directions. Thank goodness that couple stopped their car and convinced me to get in so they could take me to the police station. They even stayed behind with me, sitting on a bench in the hallway, waiting to see if there was anything else they could do for me. I remember hugging them and wishing my mom and dad were there with me. It turns out that this mysterious assailant lost all interest in me once I started screaming like a mad woman. He ran away, fearing that he would get caught. The police never did catch him. I wasn’t able to give them much of a description to go off of. I walked into the airline terminal the following day and quit, wearing my cuts and bruises like my husband’s medals from Vietnam. I did feel the punches that day, and somehow I knew that I would never be the same.”
Freak Show In The Bathroom
“I’ve worked for three different airlines across the country. Each of them has been full of the most truly insane people I have ever encountered in my life. But my worst two stories are truly disgusting. One time, I was flying with passengers from Chicago to White Plains, New York. As I was pushing the beverage and snack cart down the aisle, this lady was using her tray table to changer her baby. I was bringing my cart back up the aisle when the lady tried to give me the warm and mushy diaper. I gingerly picked it up with two fingers, politely letting her know that I would have to clean the whole cart after disposing this before I would be able to come back and offer her any drinks. I can still picture that oozing diaper so vividly in my mind.
On another flight from Chicago to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, one of the passengers let me know that she had just had surgery. I made sure that I would give her extra attention. About thirty minutes before we landed, she came out of the bathroom and told me that she had made a little mess. I wasn’t expecting the freak show that I discovered when I opened the bathroom door. I found poop smeared literally everywhere. It was all over the toilet, the walls, and somehow even the mirror. The cleaning supplies that we had on board wouldn’t even begin to handle this ‘little bit of a mess’ this woman had left. Thankfully, the airport that we docked at had some pretty heavy-duty chemicals that came in handy. Thank goodness some of the employees were willing to help me clean it all up!
“Not Enough To Make Me Burp”
“People seem to lose their minds and all sense of reality when they step through the door of an aircraft. I have had people wanting to know what altitude we are at before we have taken off. I have seen people push their vomiting children through the business class curtains so they don’t have to deal with the mess. I have seen a woman try to stick her baby in the overhead compartment. I have seen people handcuffed on the tarmac and brought on board, kicking and screaming after being deported. I’ve seen Janet Jackson eating only caviar and stipulating that no one should pass by her on her side of the aircraft. I’ve seen Demi Moore request a pineapple to be carved on board. I’ve seen people who have never used a working toilet before and have no idea how to use one, which never ended well. I’ve had people ask if it’s possible to open the window at 40,000 feet. I’ve had people ask where the specific toilet is for U.S. Passport holders. I’ve conducted an ECG on a passenger over the Indian Ocean. We often get complaints about turbulence and demands that we should make it stop. I make a point of calling the pilots to pass on such hilarious requests. Once, I had a passenger chastise me that the tiny aircraft-sized cans of coke they were served were ‘not enough to make me burp’. One passenger asked me if it was possible to book a massage during the economy flight. Once there was this lady who handed me a tea cup to clear away. She asked me to wait as she pulled these long, loose strands of hair from her head, balled them up, and popped them in the teacup. It was so weird. Another time, a passenger heartily blew their nose on a linen lunch napkin, and they tried to hand it to me while I had no gloves or tray.”
Paradise To Nightmare In An Instant
“We were over the eastern seaboard on a flight from West Palm Beach to New York. We were flying in one of the most perfectly clear and calm nights that I had ever experienced. There was no bad weather, no turbulence, and we could see around us for hundreds of miles. Now this was way back in 1987, during a ‘dinner’ flight. All the flight attendants were serving full meals. Believe it or not, people used to be well-fed on airlines. The trays included fancy three-course meals, real metal utensils, and drinks served in glass mugs. The senior flight attendant I was working with was over in the forward galley in first class, mixing drinks. The rest of us were patrolling the aisle in economy, refreshing drinks and serving extra dinner rolls. With no warning whatsoever, we suddenly encountered the worst turbulence that any of use had ever experienced. For thirty seconds straight, everyone was slammed up and down the cabin. The entire staff was terrified. The plane sounded like it was coming apart. How could things have gone wrong so quickly?!
It stopped as suddenly as it had started. What resulted was a massive garbage dump that everyone was sitting in. Imagine one hundred and twenty meals and all of their place settings, drinks, and glasses slamming up to the ceiling then back down to the floor. Now imagine this happening maybe six or seven times in a row. I could hardly find a place to step, the aisle was so crammed with the wreckage. The other flight attendants had been seriously hurt. One broke his ribs. Another was on the floor near the aft galley. I had to move her away because all the closed soda cans they were lying next to were spontaneously exploding form being shaken up so bad.
Amazingly, every single passenger was wearing a seat belt, so not a single one of them did the whole ceiling to floor to ceiling bouncing routine. Not one of them complained to us. They could clearly see how much we were struggling to recover. Some of the passengers even helped us flight attendants clean up! We finally landed, and all the passengers remained seated while some of us staff members in better condition helped the injured flight attendant get off the plane and get to an ambulance. We had an accident investigation conducted on the airplane, but no one ever could explain what happened. No other aircraft experienced a similar ripple in the area that night. It was a total mystery. Always keep that seatbelt fasted while you’re in your seat. There is always a risk of horrendous turbulence while in the air.”
Better Jump Out Immediately!
“With over thirty years as a flight attendant on a mainline carrier, this was just one of many, many unusual things that I have seen at work. I was seated in the back of the plane, where my view of the passenger cabin was restricted. We had just started to slowly drive to eventually begin takeoff, when I was surprised to hear the phone line from the cockpit. I answered the phone, and I heard the captain tell me, ‘The tower just informed me that I have a man on the right wing. Would you please quickly investigate and advise?!’
I quickly agreed, and I flew into the cabin, where to my utter disbelief, I saw the window exit open on the right side. The passengers had their faces glued to their windows in the area, staring outside. There was actually a passenger with his briefcase, crouched down on his wing. He was desperately trying to hang onto the wing as the plane continued to slowly move forward. I ran to the phone to confirm that a man was on the wing and that we needed to stop this plane immediately. It turns out that the passenger was spooked by one of the engines. The right wing engine would occasionally be ‘torching’, which is when it burns off a little extra fuel after starting. It was usually brief and difficult to see, but it was just a weird fluke that wouldn’t affect the rest of the flight. No idea why it terrified this passenger so much, and no idea why he took his briefcase with him! I could never have predicted this insane response. We stopped the plane and carefully got the passenger back onto the plane. He continued with us to his destination without another word! It was so difficult to not burst out into laughter each time I passed him up and down the aisle. I have no idea what was going through this guy’s mind.”
He Served Who On A Private Plane?!
“I took a year off of college in 1973 and signed on as a flight attendant with World Airways, which was an international charter. My group was the first group trained to work their new 747. Our training was in Oakland, California. We had to fly to Dallas to get the 747 safety qualified at the American Airlines 747 simulator facility. I was the only male in a group of fifteen beautiful flight attendants. We had to take a commercial flight out of San Francisco to go to Dallas. We were all at the gate ready to be boarded when we were notified that the SFO to DAL flight was cancelled. This nicely dressed middle-aged man came up to me, introduced himself as Wendell Ford, who was the then-governor of Kentucky. He said he and his entourage, which included KFC’s Colonel Sanders, were doing a good will tour in California. He had a private jet that the group used to return home to Kentucky, and they had to stop in Dallas to refuel. He asked me if we would like to hop aboard their plane for the ride to Dallas. When else would I get an opportunity like this?!
To make a long story short, the governor and his staff were party animals. The drinks flowed, inhibitions lowered, and the get-together turned into an Animal House type of party. Since I didn’t drink, I decided to go to the back of the plane to take a nap. As I walked to the back, I noticed a huge bed. And, in the bed was Colonel Sanders, who was getting ready to go to sleep. He was very kind to me. We talked for about thirty minutes and then he nodded off to a deep, sonorous sleep. I spent the rest of the flight awake because I couldn’t sleep, due to the partying up front and the snoring in the back. Wendell Ford eventually became a US Senator, and he promoted himself as a strong family values man. Without making any judgments, he was a real party animal and many of the girls were not shy about indulging his passions. I’ll never forget that flight.”
She Got Exactly What She Deserved
“My flight attendant friend told me of the worst family he ever dealt with on a flight. At one point, a mother told her young child just to poop in the aisle space next to their seats. Apparently, the mother was too lazy to take the son to the toilet on the place, which was quite literally only a few feet away. After this child did his thing, the mother pressed the call button. My flight attendant friend was the one to first encounter it. The mother casually told my friend, as if this was a normal job duty, that he needed to clean up the poop on the floor, because her kid had just gone. My friend looked at her like she was crazy, and he told her that SHE needed to clean up after her son, this was all her fault. This mom also happened to break a ton of health codes and regulations. Also, who just lets their kid do that?!
The mom tried to give hm the excuse that her kid couldn’t wait, and kids will be kids. But once the other passengers around the ares started realizing why it smelled so bad and overheard the conversation, they started yelling at the mom and wanted to move to other areas. My flight attendant friend briefly left and returned with lots of paper towels, some gloves, bags, and wipes. He dropped all of that into the mom’s lap. My friend, along with many other staff members, basically stood there and made sure that she cleaned up the area.”
How Did The Plane Move On Its Own?
“Back in 1983, I was working on this flight going from Tampa to Atlanta on a Delta plane. It turns out that Atlanta would experience one of the worst storms the city had ever seen in the past ten years that night. Seven tornadoes were reported o Hartsfield itself, and the terminal was jam packed with panicking people when we finally arrived. The turbulence was unbelievably severe, and everyone on that airplane was holding their breath in anticipation. When our plane finally arrived at the gate, we tried our best to corral people into waiting for their turn to get of of the plane. We were not successful. The plane was rocking, even while we were parked. I had just made the transition from the airplane to the gate when I heard someone yell, ‘Jump!’ I suddenly turn around. I see that the plane had actually gone airborne and was placed on top of a fuel truck. Evidently, once everyone had left the plane, a small tornado had picked our plane to mess with! Once everyone was taken inside to safety, we learned that the flight we had just gotten off of was the captain’s retirement flight. What a wild end to his career, he almost didn’t make it!”
Heartbreak 30,000 Feet In The Air
“I was working on a crowded flight, when one of the passengers actually passed away on board. It was a late-night flight from Detroit to San Diego, and the cabin lights had been dimmed. Almost everyone was nearly asleep. Everyone sitting around this man had noticed his breathing had become increasingly labored and noisy, until it suddenly stopped dead. A bunch of the passengers pushes their call buttons at once, and several of us staff members quickly came over to assess the situation. It didn’t take us long to check his pulse and realize how serious this situation was. One of my fellow flight attendants asked over the intercom system for a doctor on board. We found one who got to work, but none of his methods seemed to help. The doctor laid the man out on the floor and performed a tracheotomy, to see if he could get this man breathing again. It was very messy and bloody, but sadly was unsuccessful. Other passengers were getting sick and crying, and the staff was pretty heartbroken as well. The one potentially positive thing that happened during all of this was that our flight moved to the front of the landing queue, rather than having to circle for two hours due to gate congestion. At least we were able to take the body away as soon as we landed. Unfortunately at the moment of landing, when the pilots turned on the thrust reversers, all the blood on the floor flooded towards the cabin floor, and the body began to slide towards the blood. The doctor was able to grab the guy’s ankle as the body slid by. Once we came to a stop, we were met with several ambulances and teams of EMTs. Everyone had to walk through a very sticky floor to get off of the plane. There was a short obituary in Newsweek the following week about that man. Apparently, he had been an actor on some early cowboy television show, and he had been an anti smoking activist in his retirement.
Given this experience, I have now read a lot about in-flight deaths over the years. Apparently, about two flights are diverted for medical reasons every day in the United States. Over the years, the placement of defibrillators on most large planes has decreased the number of in-flight heart attacks and deaths, which is what probably befell this man. Clearly, this can’t have been the only time that this sort of thing has happened, but I’ve never actually met anyone else who has encountered this sort of thing.”
How Did She Even Get Hired?
“One of my coworkers on board the plane was pretty new to the job. About midway through the flight, this toddler dropped a piece of bread onto the aisle from his meal, but he didn’t notice it. The young flight attendant pushed past me and stood in front of the toddler. The mother tried to apologize politely, but that didn’t seem to have any effect. The other flight attendant huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. It was very early in the morning, and about eighty percent of the passengers were asleep. The cabin lights were dimmed, and all the window shutters were drawn down. The flight attendant, without anyone else besides me looking at her, scolded the child, picked up the piece of bread, and ate it from the aisle floor. I gasped, because it was so sudden and weird. Didn’t she know how gross those floors could be? After popping it in her mouth, she moved away to continue her regular duties. It was beyond weird.
Later on, I noticed that she was sitting down a few rows beyond that family, on the floor, in the middle of the aisle. She was chatting to a female passenger, who I assumed was her friend because they had been talking nonstop for quite some time now. The attendant was blocking my path to get to the nearest bathroom. I almost tripped and fell onto her on my way down the aisle. I was just staring at her in amazement. She completely ignored me! I stood there for a few seconds before turning away and returning to my duties. I could use the bathroom later! this attendant didn’t get up until a passenger asked her about it. I definitely needed to have a talk with our supervisor once the plane landed!”
Cramped Airplanes Set The Mood
“A lot of the things that I experienced on board could have been categorized as weird. But the one thing that baffled me is how people assumed
that being on board is as good as sitting in your bedroom in private, as if you’re not surrounded by one hundred other passengers. There was a couple siting in the emergency window exit row, which featured ample leg space. So imagine my astonishment when I walk through the cabin, just to be greeted by the sight of the lady on the floor kneeling with her head bobbing up and down on the guy’s lap. The gentleman in question didn’t hide his excitement at all. You could hear his groans and moans. Although the rest of the seats were unoccupied in that row, the other passengers finally caught on with what was happening. A few curious gentlemen simply make a trip to the bathroom to check the scene. Suffice to say, each one of them took a lot longer in the lavatory afterwards.
Another one involved another couple on a different flight. This flight was half full. This couple decided to take the last row’s seat. After meal service, we dimmed the light so passengers could get some sleep. Not long after, I heard some commotion from the last row of passengers. As I was sitting at aft attendant seat, I peek my head and saw the couple sitting on top of one another facing each other. They were both rocking away, and the clothing was coming off fairly quickly. I think some people really need to learn that the cabin is not their personal bedroom, unless they were trying to put on a show for us. When I tried to stop the second couple from whatever they’re doing, they were mad at me and threatened to bring this up to the office. I simply reminded them that with all the witnesses I have on board (basically the entire cabin), the airlines can sue them for misconduct instead.”