I think that we can all agree that air travel is often not the most pleasant experience. Many of us can share horror stories about frightening turbulence, stinky neighbors, or the seemingly obligatory crying baby that always seems to be sitting 1 row behind you, perfectly positioned to ensure you get zero sleep on your six hour flight across the a country.
However, what may people fail to take into account is that these mild inconveniences often pale in comparison to the trials of being a full-time Flight Attendants. Imagine being stuck inside a pressurized metal tube cruising 30,000ft in the air for 40 hrs a week, with some of the most annoyed, anxious, and downright rude people on earth and think about all the crazy stories you may be able to tell about your experiences.
Well, lucky for you, you don’t have to imagine. We scoured the internet far a wide and compiled some of the most wild, hilarious, and downright bizarre things that have ever happened in the air as told by real flight attendants. Enjoy
The Wet Bandit
“I had a passenger that was already pretty drunk when he boarded the plane. Maybe five or six hours into the San-Francisco-to-Sydney flight, the guy comes to the back of the plane. Even though we have a lot of bathrooms on this flight, he started urinating in the trash bag hanging on the door. We stopped him and brought him back to his seat.
That’s when we saw he had an open bottle of duty-free alcohol, and we realized he must have been getting more drunk during the flight. The rest of the flight we were basically force-feeding him food, water, and also trying to get him to sleep. As for the bag, we put it in a hazmat container and locked it in one of the bathrooms for the rest of the flight.”
When All Else Fails, Send the Captain
I was working a flight from Singapore to London where they give out pajamas. A group of 4 male passengers who were probably loaded on booze from an airport lounge stumble onboard and start acting like knobs almost immediately, demanding all sorts of stuff from us. Initially, we politely obliged them, as is our job to be kind and accommodating. After take off, 2 of the men head to the restroom, come back shirtless wearing just the PJ bottoms, and sat back in their seats to continue boozing.
We had the chief Flight Attendant speak to them after they argued with two of us for 5 mins about putting their shirts on. They argued with him as well. So we notified the captain of the unruly passengers. He actually came back to their seats and we watched him tear them a new one. It was brilliant, we’d have all clapped but we didn’t want the other passengers to notice. I gained a lot of respect for the pilot that day.
Never Mix Alcohol and Ambien
“A guy ran to the back of the plane and yelled, ‘Where are we?‘ He was clearly drunk, and I tell him we’re on the airplane, that we just left Dallas. Then he tells me that he got on the wrong flight.
I told him that he’s been through security and his boarding pass had been checked multiple times, he’s not on the wrong flight. But he was convinced that he was, and he didn’t remember going through security or getting on the plane. It turned out that he had mixed alcohol with Ambien.”
Find Your Own Pod!
“I was working a flight to London in business class, and there are these pods with pillows and blankets. A lady wandered up and I knew something was off — she didn’t look right. And then she crawls right into bed with a man in one of the pods.
He looks at me like, What is going on? I asked if he knew her and he said no. I tell her she needs to go back to her seat and she tells me that is her seat. I ask her again if she can return to her seat and she goes, ‘I do what I want.’ We eventually got her to leave though. I think she was on Ambien because these kinds of situations tend to happen when people take drugs like that.”
New Meaning To “Mile-High” Club
“I saw a couple go into the bathroom together, and at some point, the girlfriend came back to her seat and was freaking out and crying. I asked her if she was OK, and she said her boyfriend was still in the bathroom, but nothing she said was making sense. We got her boyfriend back to their seat, but a little bit later they were back in there again, and we could hear them having sex.
Then a line started forming so we needed to get them out of there. When they opened the door, we asked them if they had taken anything. It turns out they were both on ecstasy.”
Dude, Where Are Your Teeth?
“We were in the middle of boarding and a little old lady comes up to me in an absolute panic because she realized that she left her teeth in a bathroom in the airport. She was really upset because it was Thanksgiving, and she was visiting her family, and she needed her teeth to eat.
I spent 10 minutes talking to the captain and people at the gate to try and locate her teeth. They were found eventually, but the plane had to leave, so we had to FedEx them to her.”
The Flying V
“There was a lady in business class wearing a skirt suit and she fell asleep in her seat. The more she slouched, the higher her skirt went, and she wasn’t wearing underwear — her va-jay-jay was in full view. So I got a blanket and discreetly put it on her lap. She woke up and looked at me like I was crazy.
I walked away so I didn’t see her face when she realized her whole situation was out. I imagine it was a pretty embarrassing ordeal for her.”
What in the Weird?
“A guy boarded the plane and he was very drunk. He walked by another guy who had a bushy beard and a lot of arm hair, and started petting his arm hair and commenting on how hairy the guy was. Some other passengers told us about it and we escorted him off the plane. He was a really happy drunk so he got off without a problem.
Five hours later, our plane returned to that same airport and I found out he had only just boarded a new flight. There were several flights he was supposed to get on, but I think he missed all of those because he didn’t sober up in time.”
Obviously They Were From Florida
“I was doing a safety demonstration on a flight from Florida to London and I started to hear something buzzing. I thought it was a vibrator at first. But I went to the source of the sound, and it was this sweet little old man who was electric razoring his face. He had his tray table down and we were preparing for takeoff, so I told him to put his tray table up. He did, and kept shaving…
Later on the same flight, a lady pooed herself. Instead of asking us for a blanket and to put her trousers and underwear in a bag, she decided to wash her underwear in the bathroom sink. While cleaning it, she clogged up the sink with the mess and just walked away and left it. We had to block off that toilet because it was such a mess.”
No Shame in The Foot Game
“There was one passenger who took off his shoes and his feet smelled awful. It was so bad I wanted to throw up. The person who complained about his feet was actually two rows behind him — that’s how bad the smell was.
Then he put his feet up against the wall. At one point, he started clipping his toenails, and that’s when I asked him if he could do that in the bathroom because it was unsanitary for him to be doing that while we’re delivering meals and drinks. Then he walked barefoot to the restroom to continue clipping his toenails.”
Itching For a Ditching
I was working on an international flight when the plane began to make weird noises. As flight attendants sometimes we are so jaded to the weird sounds of the plane that we don’t even think twice when this happens. It lasted for a few more minutes before most of the passengers started to get a little worried.
I ended up contacting the captain to inquire if there was anything to be worries about. He told me that the plane had begun to suck volcanic ash into the engine and we were to prepare the cabin for ditching (crash water landing). I’m pretty sure the passengers obviously then suspected something since they had to put on those inflatable life vests at that point.
Luckily by some miracle, we were able to nose dive about a thousand feet in altitude and the ash cleared up before we had to ditch. It was probably the scariest moment of my career.
Thank God For Maria Bello… Wait, What?
Just after liftoff, this women rings her call light. “Very frantically, she tells me, ‘I changed my later flight to this flight and my brother is picking me up. I need to tell him that I’m coming early.’” I kindly took her brother’s contact information and had the captain call the ground to contact him. Shortly after I noticed her staring out the window talking to herself.
“When I said, ‘Ma’am?’ she began screaming at the top her lungs ‘YOU’RE EVIL!’ and started beating me with her pillow. I was stunned and desperately tried to make her stop screaming. I made the mistake of trying to touch her to get her to calm down. Big mistake — more beatings.” Another flight attendant stepped in, but it didn’t make much of a difference.
“I was about to call the captain to let him know we may have to turn around to LAX, when from the rear of the plane comes actress Maria Bello. From ER. She begins reciting the Lord’s Prayer over and over until the woman calmed down. It was all-together the weirdest moment of my life”
Oh…She Was a Dancer
“There was a woman who got angry at me because we didn’t serve her drinks fast enough. After she had her drink, she threw the empty cup at me, which hit me in the nose.
Then she broke down and said she didn’t understand why I had been so mean to her, because I didn’t serve her drink fast enough. She said something along the lines of, ‘You have no idea who I am.’ So my partner and I were like, ‘Who are you?’ And she just goes, ‘I’m a dancer.'”
“I Didn’t Know I Couldn’t Do That”
“There were two older ladies who were sitting, and every time we would walk by, they would look uncomfortable but wouldn’t say anything. … Only afterwards did we investigate. There was an older man who had some sort of foot fetish or fascination with these two ladies’ feet, so he had crawled in under his seat and you couldn’t see him then.
He was just kissing their feet and caressing and tickling their feet. They were so proper but so horrified that they were too embarrassed to talk about it. When Questioned, he literally said that he didn’t know he couldn’t do that. We obviously had him detained and arrested as soon as we landed for sexual harassment”
Booze + Pills = Jail Time
“This woman was de-boarding the plane and was trying to hand another flight attendant her full sick bag. She said, ‘You can throw it away in the terminal but I can’t take it’ because it’s a biohazard.
The passenger rips open the bag of vomit and throws it on my poor partner, then scratches the flight attendant across the face. The cops came down and met us at the gate. This is why you don’t mix booze and sleeping pills.”
And THAT is Why We Wear Gloves
“After a flight, I was cleaning the plane and realized a passenger had taken everything out of her seat pocket and put it on the seat. It looked like she was trying to cover something up. Luckily I was wearing gloves because I moved everything and there was a cow patty-sized turd on the seat.
It was obviously the most disgusting thing I’d ever had to clean off a seat. But be that as it may I could’nt help but think about how she did it without anyone seeing or saying anything. So diabolical I almost respected it. ALMOST
“I had two twin boys on my flight. Their mom was in such pain trying to deal with the boys on a two-and-half-hour flight. She said she wanted to apologize for the mess, and I was thinking they’d smashed up animal crackers or something.
I found out later that she’d spilled an entire container of baby formula on the seat, stuffed a soiled diaper in the seat pocket, left a half-eaten hamburger patty on the seat and one kid had even vomited in the seat pocket. There’s not much we can do about it, so we had to just block up the rows until we could get into the airport for cleaning.
Some flights have a mini stable in the back of the plane to transport horses. If the animals start to act up, they’ll be tranquilized to avoid damaging the plane or passengers—
However, one time the tranquilizer didn’t work. “The horse started freak out and when the handler came to take care of it, it kicked the handler in the head. It was such a crazy ordeal, we even had to supply medical first aid. We later found out that the passengers seated in the front of the plane could hear a horse scrambling about”
Limping Through the Terminal
It’s unsettlingly common to see items of clothing left behind on a flight. “The most random has to be the single and very expensive Christian Louboutin shoe. How the [heck] can you leave behind one shoe? Surely you would notice the limp you’d inevitably have as you disembarked, one foot six inches higher than the other.
The female passenger in question, a minor TV ‘star’, had been enjoying the perks of first class and was rather worse for wear as she got off the aircraft at JFK. Blissfully unaware she was missing a shoe, the crew thankfully reunited her with the designer heel before she reached the top of the air-bridge.
Polly Wanna Plane Ride?
As a Flight Attendant you deal with animals a lot more than you’d expect. About one in every 4 flights I work there is some kind of support animal accompanying a passenger. More often than not, it’s a small to mid-sized dog.
However on one flight I was thrown for a loop when a passenger boarded the plane with an emotional support parrot. I didn’t even know those existed. I prepared myself for a potentially annoying situation but It was actually kind of funny. The parrot did talk the whole time; but at least he would say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when we came around.
Halfway through a long flight a woman near the back of the plane started loudly complaining. I wondered over to ask what the problem was and she pointed at the potato and said, “Bad potato!”
It had been a long flight with a lot of weird stuff happening so at this point instead of entertaining this madness, I joined in. I speared the potato with a fork, wagged my finger at it and said, “Very bad potato! Naughty potato!”
I then carefully put the potato back on the passenger’s plate and told her, in my most reassuring voice, “I think you’ll find you get no more trouble from that particular potato.”
It’s Raining… Maggots?
We had just taken off on an international flight from Europe to the US when one of the overhead bins started raining maggots on the passengers below it — just pouring through…
Turns out that a passenger from Africa was traveling to the US via Europe, and had a whole dead fish filled with maggots wrapped inside a newspaper (apparently it’s considered a delicacy in some parts of the world). Needless to say we had to discard it into a Hazmat bag. It pretty wild to think he got that through security”
How’s This For a Boarding Pass
‘On a flight coming home from Vegas, this drunk man stumbles around the plane while boarding and ends up sitting down in a random seat that isn’t his.
So once the actual people who are assigned to that seat come along, this drunk guy starts snapping his fingers at me. Realizing his condition I do my best not to get aggravated. I ask to see his boarding pass in a calm manner and her just continues to snap at me, asking me to remove the rightful seat owner from ‘his’ area.
Finally we convince him to give us his boarding pass and after rummaging through his bag for about 3 minutes, he hands me a grocery store receipt…his behavior ended up delaying take-off about 20 minutes.”
Uncle Sam Is Drunk Again…
“I worked as a stewardess for several years in the 1980’s. My most memorable passenger was on a 1.5 hour evening flight. Visibly inebriated, he sang The Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America, and a couple of verses from Yankee Doodle for a while (30 minutes or so) before passing out until landing.
This already sounds strange, but the fact that it took place on flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg makes it even weirder.”
Exit, Plane Right
A few years back I was on a leg where this other Flight Attendant had finally had enough of her job. She quit while on we were still on the tarmac. So actually activated the emergency slide, threw her bag out the plane then made a swift exit!
The United Airlines flight had landed in Houston after traveling from Sacramento. This is not the first time this has happened. In 2010 another FA who worked for JetBlue started the trend by announcing over the loudspeaker that he had had enough after a woman had sworn at him about overhead luggage. He grabbed two beers, activated the slide and slid to freedom.