Pilots and Flight Crew Reveal Disturbing Stories From 30,000 Feet In the Air


Being a pilot or flight attendant can be a pretty glamorous job if you consider the fact that they travel all over the world for free. They get to meet new people and even celebrities sometimes. They have lots of free time in the cabin to chat and gossip and serious emergencies rarely take place. But it’s not always good in the air with this kind of job.

There are some stories you may not even believe even if we showed you proof! The flight attendants and pilots in these stories have had to deal with nudity, dead bodies, rudeness and even feces. Here are the most disturbing stories you’ll ever read.

40. Fast Forwarding Bad Parts


This is by far the most bizarre thing to happen on my flight. Flying into LaGuardia, a large man was sitting in an aisle seat. He’s wearing his religious outfit, and has everything on. Mid-flight, he pulls out his laptop and starts watching adult videos. Not just any adult videos though, but 70s big bush videos. He’s not trying to hide it at all either.

As I’m walking down the aisle, I can see it from about five rows back. I stop, kneel down and tell him to put it away because everyone can see what he is watching, including the children sitting nearby. He gets all huffy and says, “It’s ok, I’m fast forwarding through all the bad parts.” I tell him I don’t care and he rolls his eyes and puts it away.


39. False Accusation


On a flight from JFK to Heathrow post 9/11, while the plane was about 4th or 5th in line for take-off a lady demanded to be let off the plane. We, attendants, naturally refused since the doors were closed and we were almost at the runway. The lady went nuts and called 911 from her cellphone and said she was being held against her will on a foreign airline and they were about to take off and she was going to be taken to another country.

In about three to four minutes, police and FBI vans surrounded the plane, pulled her out and grounded the flight pending further investigation. In the end, she was just a nutjob who ruined everyone’s flight.


38. Dead In The Air


The worst thing I ever witnessed was the aftermath of someone dying on a flight. This older lady with advanced lung cancer was flying out west to live out her final days. Well, she literally coughed up a lung on this flight. The plane diverted and then flew empty back to base to be cleaned. Blood was everywhere. At least one of my fellow flight attendants was on light duty for six months because of the psychological trauma.

We also had a passenger bring on a large garment bag which they later discovered had a dead body in it when it fell and partially unzipped. It was a very tiny woman’s body that was being brought back for a funeral, but the family couldn’t afford to send it a different way.


37. No Smoking


About halfway through our flight, the pilot comes over the intercom and says “Please come out of the bathroom, smoking in an airplane is illegal.” Naturally, this gets the whole plane on edge.

Turns out, it was an old woman who was completely naked and vaping in the bathroom while refusing to come out. We eventually had to break into the bathroom and take her out which then caused the woman to try and fight us flight attendants. She was arrested as soon as we landed.


36. Lightning Paint Job? What?


 There was bad weather going into St. Louis. We got struck by lightning, which happens, but we get priority to land because we can’t be sure what damage occurred. Once on the ground, I do a walk around and see the damage. The outbound flight, the last of the night, is canceled because the plane is down for what I would think are obvious reasons.

We didn’t have a hotel for the night, as we were supposed to take the plane back out. So while waiting for news from crew scheduling, we were supporting the gate agent. Man, people were PISSED. They were insisting we go. I point out the window at the melted wingtip and large scorch mark on the aircraft. One lady got in my face and screamed, “Do you think I care about your paint job?! Get me on that plane and get me home, or you’ll be sorry!” Needless to say, that lady didn’t go on any flight with us the next day.


35. Sanitary Eye Pads


I was working as a flight attendant and I came across this really stubborn male passenger who wanted a sanitary pad that he saw the other flight attendant hand over to a female passenger.

Guess what? He was convinced that it was an eye mask thingy you put on before sleeping. Arguing with him about it, I finally gave in and gave the sanitary pad to the guy who coolly removed the anti-adhesive and stuck it on his eyes and went to sleep.


34. Yikes!


I’m a former flight attendant. The most disturbing story I have is someone smeared poop all over one of the bathrooms during a 14-hour flight to China. It smelled putrid and was really unbearable.

Since the bathroom was really very dirty and smelly, we put up an out of order sign, but then a couple of hours later, someone had gone in and it wasn’t even cleaned up yet! We figured it was a kid and one of the parents had snuck in after.


33. Sorry, but There’s No Coming Back


I’m a pilot. We were going from Chicago to Milwaukee and were all boarded and waiting for the de-ice truck to come spray us because it was snowing. After waiting for over an hour for the truck, they finally spray us down and we start pushing back. As we are pushing, the flight attendant calls up and tells us there’s a lady that wants to get off the airplane. We tell her we can’t, so the lady then tells the flight attendant that her baby is having a medical emergency and has to get off. Fine. We pull back up to the gate and let her off, the baby looks fine, mind you, and we ask her if she needs paramedics. She denies medical attention and refused to take the baby to the clinic that is literally 50 feet away. They had checked bags, so we had to call rampers to dig through the cargo hold to find their bags.

Finally, we had them off and we were getting ready to go again, about 2 hours late at this point. As we were getting ready to close the door, the gate agent ran up and said that when the lady found out that we were the last flight up to Milwaukee, she begged to get back on the airplane and come with us. The captain and I looked at each other in shock, told the gate agent there was no way in hell she was getting back on the airplane, and got out of there.


32. T*tties for Kitties


This didn’t happen to me, but my godfather. So he has been a flight attendant since the late 80s, and over the years he’s had some great stories. One time, one of his passengers brought her cat on board in a pet carrier. At first glance, this woman seemed to be the stereotypical crazy cat lady.

However, she took crazy cat lady-ness to new frontier when it came to the cat’s feeding time. Instead of cat food and a bowl of water, this woman pulls out her breast and proceeds to breastfeed the cat. I don’t want to think about how much that must have hurt. Needless to say, my godfather was unamused and firmly asked her to stop.


31. Love Affair


I was getting ready on the plane I am scheduled to work on and they called the other flight attendant, since she was just waiting around. When she was on the way to the passenger’s area, she sees her husband with another woman kissing his face. Sitting together, on the plane in matching shirts! What I could tell from the screaming match that erupted, he’d told her he was going away on business to some other place than where this plane was headed. The cheapskate didn’t even pony up for a different airline because he could fly for free on his wife’s.

The worst part? Her supervisor led her off the plane and as he was chastising her, told her she would likely lose her job over the “public display.” I really hope she didn’t. I spoke to the supervisor on her behalf to try to explain, but who knows.


30. Who Got Banned?


I’m a flight attendant and there’s this lady who wouldn’t stop talking on her phone. She talks loudly and it was really disturbing. So I asked her to stop and guess what? She told the person on the phone that she was about to “knock this crazy lady out” (referring to me).

She was removed from the aircraft, but then jumped the gate agent on the way back to the terminal. The best part, she had kids with her the whole time. Also, she got put on the no-fly list by the airline forever and every other airline that day.


29. The Poopy Jacket


This happened to another pilot at our company; we fly small planes with no doors between the cockpit and the cabin. We usually put our jackets behind our seats, so a passenger sitting in the front seats could easily grab them without us noticing.

At the end of one flight, he noticed that the passenger on the left front seat was sitting on his jacket; it very odd, but whatever. The passengers deplaned and the pilot went to pick up his jacket. That’s when it hit him! The passenger pooped on the seat, grabbed the pilot’s jacket and put it over the poop and sat back down on it! It was only a 20-minute flight! How badly did he have to go?


28. Unlimited Drinks, Unlimited Pee


I was on a flight to China and one of the passengers up in business class decided to take advantage of the unlimited drinks he was offered before take off. He got plastered. When the plane started to take off, he decided to take a sleeping pill to tide him over for the 14-hour flight we were about to endure.

Well, shortly after takeoff, the guy decided he needed to use the bathroom. He ventures back to where the stalls are – but shoots past them. He walks about three rows ahead of my row, whips out his member and pisses all over the row and the people in it. We had to move the passengers, rip out the seats, and monitor the guy for the rest of the flight. Whatever happened to him, I have no idea. I’m just glad he didn’t do it three rows down.


27. Please Sit Down


This was back in the 90s and it was a flight from London Heathrow to Orlando. There was quite a bit of turbulence and the seatbelt signs were on. A woman was arguing with us flight attendants; she was saying her child was feeling sick and weren’t we going to do something? We tried to help but asked her to sit back down.

Next thing you know, she’s run down the aisle past us carrying two small plastic cups of vomit. The plane hits an air pocket and lurches and the woman goes flying forward onto her face making the vomit go all over everyone in the vicinity. 


26. Sleeping In The Toilet


I was sitting on my jumpseat in the aft and was a little surprised to see this big guy awake and walking by me to the restroom. The 15-minute window came and went and the captain asked everyone to take their seats. The big guy was still in the bathroom. I knocked a few times and didn’t get a response, so I called the captain to let him know what was going on. For another minute or so we pounded loudly on the door and got no response, so it was time to break in. I shouted “we’re coming in” and got the door open, only to find him passed out on the toilet with his pants around his ankles and his junk dangling in plain view.

We ended up having to aggressively shake him awake. He finally woke up to see three women staring at him half naked on the toilet; very nonchalantly, he looked down at his junk and then back up at us before pulling his pants up and heading back to his seat without flinching or saying a single word.


25. Beauty In The Eyes Of The Offender


Several months ago, during a flight which I was unfortunately working, a man was so inspired by the goddess of a woman sitting next to him that he simply had to touch himself. In his seat. Just sitting next to her, indiscreetly touching himself in under a blanket.

The worst part was that the woman was with her boyfriend, who was also sitting next to her (the woman is sitting in the middle, on the left side was the boyfriend, right side near the window was the jerk guy). Good thing that her boyfriend caught the jerk guy and took a video as evidence. Law enforcement got involved. Awkward!


24. A Literal “Rest” Room


I had once an old lady who just came back from a cruise with her granddaughter (she was 90+). The old lady passed away mid-flight. Since there was no “real” doctor with us, it was mandatory for the attendants to continue with the cardiac massage until the end of the flight and she is officially declared dead; we had roughly five hours to go. After 45+ minutes the purser decided to stop it.

Here comes the sad part: If someone dies, our rules are to put them in the restroom. Have you ever been to a restroom in an airplane before? Well, it’s not a place to stay longer than necessary in, not even for the dead. The purser decided it was humiliating and we didn’t. So me, being one of the stronger flight attendants and him being the only male, had to drag/carry the old lady to the crew rest, where we have beds to sleep during our breaks, through the length of the airplane.


23. Well, He Seems Happy!


On one route, an adult with special needs epically exploded in his diaper in his seat near the end of the flight. We were at an outstation and needed to turn the flight quickly. Our ground agents did the best they could by changing out the seatbelt and wiping the seat, but we would have to wait until we were back at the main airport to get a crew in to clean out the crevices and whatnot. I placed an “out of order” sign on the seat, with the plan that we would move whichever customer had that seat and hope the others didn’t notice the smell.

I got busy during the boarding process, and when I went back to the area in question, a nervous-looking man type passenger had settled in the poop seat, right on top of the ‘out of order’ sign. I looked at him and we made prolonged eye contact but neither of us said a word. “He seems happy” was our crew’s decision as we left him in the seat and hoped for the best.


22. Rugby Team in Boxers


My father is a pilot and one time when he was flying a flight back to Australia, had the champion Australian rugby team on his flight. They rented out the entirety of first class, and the moment the flight reached cruising altitude, stripped down to their boxers.

Allegedly, they were some of the most polite patrons he had seen, but were just mostly naked. Though it may seem uncomfortable for others, at least they had the courtesy to book all of first class so other passengers wouldn’t complain.


21. Ride Of Our Life


We had a school group of young children sitting in front of the plane. On takeoff, one little boy leaned over into the aisle and threw up. The puke rolled and splashed down the aisle almost all the way to the back galley.

Another time on approach to Denver, we were struck by lightning. It was the loudest sound I’ve ever heard on a flight. I was on a Boeing 727 with a FA friend on the back jumpseat and all passengers turned to look at us. We were hugging each other and crying in a terrified way, which, as it turns out, only makes the passenger panic 1000xs worse. Thank God, the plane was fine and we landed safely.


20. Granny Surprise


I was working a pretty calm red-eye flight one night and killing some time in the galley gossiping with my colleagues. An older passenger comes into the galley to ask for some water and starts chatting up the rest of the crew. This passenger was pretty nice, talking about how she was a retired FA herself and they chatted back and forth. We noticed that the lady’s button-up up blouse was inside out and just mentioned to her that her shirt was inside out and that she may want to fix it. The old lady laughed and thanked us and then proceeded to take off her shirt in the galley with all the other flight attendants still there with her.

Mind you, the lady wasn’t wearing a bra or a tank top or anything under her blouse and we got front row seats to saggy old lady breasts – the kind that hung way low down to her navel. Everyone was kind of shocked and laughed nervously because we didn’t know how else to react to a surprise faceful of grandma boob. The grandma nonchalantly finished changing her shirt in the galley and eventually shuffled off afterward.


19. Little Social Cues


Flights to South Asia can be quite difficult due to some people having very little social cues. Unfortunately, it’s relatively common for people on these flights to not know how to use the toilet, or to use their hands to wipe themselves. I’ve seen it once where a man was sitting in his seat with poop in his hand, stinking out the entire cabin.

Eventually, we had to use the airline credit card (every captain has one) to buy a perfume from the duty-free cart and spray the cabin. We used antibacterial wipes and vodka to clean his hand and anything he’d touched. So gross!


18. Toilet Wash


I was an international flight attendant and once, there was this man with a long beard and a turban on the plane. This man clearly had not been on a plane before and was not used to all things western. This man went into the bathroom and came out with blue liquid dripping from his beard onto his shirt.

Yup, you guessed it right, he washed his face in the toilet. It may have been different from what you see in planes now since this was in the 80s, but lots of plane toilets have some shallow blue liquid at the bottom.


17. B00bie Show


I was a flight attendant for six years and one time, I had a rather large lady come up to the galley and ask me to help her fix her bra strap. As a female, I obliged and figured it would be a quick little hook job.

But, nope. She took off her shirt, her boobs hung in my face, and I had to stretch her bra around her back and clasp it up. I should mention we have cameras in the galleys, so the pilots got a nice little show.


16. Must’ve Been An Eye-Opening Experience


I’m a former flight attendant. One memorable disturbing experience I had was a man who had eye surgery and then got on our flight. Midway through the flight, his eye looked all bloody and was bulging out because of the pressure and he was moaning very loudly in pain.

Thankfully, the flight was short and we had emergency paramedics meet us, but, it was so gross and his screams and moans just made it worse and made all the passengers nervous. I hope this will serve as a lesson to everyone especially those who recently had surgery.


15. Life-Threatening Flash


When I was flying night helicopter strip tours up and down the Vegas strip, despite the video briefing which mentioned several times that no flash photography was permitted and my own verbal briefing mentioning this again, people would regularly take flash photos during the flight.

It just blows my mind that people would think it’s OK to temporarily blind the pilot who’s flying them. It’s like they want to risk their lives just to take a bad photo. In fact, all it is going to do is light up the glass in the helicopter and all you will see is the flash reflecting off it, causing a pretty bad photo.


14. Part Of The Job


We were coming into Salt Lake City and it was extremely turbulent. A kid had lost his lunch with projectile vomit. It got all over him and the passenger next to him and across the aisle on the passengers in the same row.

Yeah, I was cleaning vomit up with the powder from the kit and scooping it up with the scraper tool. Once at the gate and everyone was off, a cleaning crew came on and took care of the rest. I used to have a fear of vomit but after being a flight attendant, suddenly it’s not so bad.


13. Pillow Fight


Two men, one in his 30s and the other in his 60s, almost got in a fight on a more than half-empty flight from SFO to Osaka; the 60-year-old man was not happy that the younger guy was using the pillow from the empty seat.

The old man kept yelling “NO! One pillow per passenger! NO!” and trying to take the pillow away. The younger guy just had this “What the heck?” look on his face. Laughs were had (not by them) and the flight attendants and captain had to get involved.


12. The Moving Lunch


I work for an airline and one of our flights served lunch just after takeoff. One of the passengers asked, “Why is my Quinoa moving?” Turns out the salad served unfortunately came with complimentary maggots.

All the food served was taken back and nobody ate for the remainder of the 8-hour flight. As a flight attendant, I know so many dark secrets about airlines, but I was surprised that this didn’t make the news.


11. Actors Are The Worst Passengers


This didn’t happen to me, but my mom; she’s a flight attendant. In the 1960s, my mom’s route was LA-NY and back, it was a first class cabin so it always had a famous person or two; actors were always the worst for her. Most notable was being manhandled by Robert Goulet as he proceeded to tell the whole plane that he had an affair with her (didn’t happen). After my mom asked Lucille Ball what she would like to drink, Lucille Ball replied: “I don’t talk to servants.”

Johnny Carson was also a jerk to flight attendants. He would put a sign on his seat which read “Yes I am him, no I don’t want a drink.” My mom also said that musicians were always the most kind. Her favorites were Jim Morrison and The Mammas & the Pappas. She always said, if they seemed nice on TV, they usually weren’t. And those who had the worst reputations were usually the nicest.


10. D-d-d-d-dora!


I was stuck in the row across the aisle from a kid with Dora on a portable DVD player. The worst part for me was that after the family fell asleep (earplugs for the mom and dad) the crazy thing ended up looping on the menu.

Imagine, 30 seconds of D-d-d-d-dora music, before a 5-second reprieve, then it’d start again. The kid was in the middle seat with it on his lap and there was no easy way for me to get to it. It lasted about ten minutes and I was hoping it would time out and turn off before I woke up the Dad.


9. Yoga On Board


I’m also a flight attendant. One disturbing encounter was while I was serving beverages; this one lady get up and started doing yoga in the back galley. I get that on long flights you want to get up and stretch your legs a little and it’s no problem.

But on a 45-minute express flight, is it really necessary? Like, get out of my way so I can finish serving drinks to the other 70 passengers on board. Some people are really selfish sometimes. As long as they are comfortable doing it, they’ll do it.


8. Some People are Just Accident-PRAWN


I’m a flight attendant. Everyone was well into the flight, until when this guy in a nice suit had this liquid pouring onto him from the overhead cabin. The guy screamed out, “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!”

Without missing a beat, this little old lady with a thick southern accent says, “That’s my Shrimp!” Mind you, this was pre-9/11, so she was somehow able to get frozen shrimp on a plane. It was a rough day for that guy. Good thing, passengers can’t get shrimp through airport security anymore.


7. Pissed On


I’m a pilot and sometimes when I’m flying back and forth for five hours straight, I need to piss in a bottle. One of my coworkers had his junk slip out of the bottle while he was going full bore, and he pissed all over the instrument panel. You should have heard his desperation on the radio.

A couple of weeks later, for our bi-monthly rotation, a new guy took his plane, and we didn’t tell him that Greg pissed all over it like a jerk. Though the smell wasn’t that strong, the fact that someone pissed on it for sure meant we didn’t want to touch it. Sorry man.


6. Some Unique Passengers


I’ve been a FA for the better part of two years, and for the most part, it has been smooth sailing. I had a red-eye flight from Hawaii once where a couple decided to sleep on the floor at the foot of their seats. Not sure if there was anything going on, but the woman was outraged that my coworker asked them to return to their seats for landing.

Upon deplaning, she told my coworker that it was the worst service she’d ever had, because they’d been asked to return to their seats. You do get to meet some unique passengers. And pro-tip: it’s always better to sleep in your seat or across a bank of seats, rather than on the floor.


5. Yes, Insensitive Passengers Exist


I once had two unaccompanied minors traveling together. Just after we pushed back from the gate, the 8-year-old boy started to have a panic attack and said he couldn’t fly, so we pulled back to the gate. The pilot announced that we were returning to the gate so that paramedics could come on and take a child off the plane. He didn’t mention what the medical issue was, just that a child was sick.

One lady immediately hit her call button and very brattily, suggested that we better make sure that we hold the plane for her in Atlanta since we were obviously going to be late now. The whole episode amounted to maybe a 30-minute delay and no one missed their connections. One of only a handful of times I wanted to punch a passenger.


4. “You’re Just Mad Because I Didn’t Make Out with You on The Trip!”


This is more funny than disturbing, but when I was working a flight from Mexico, there was a “couple” in the back of the plane. They were obviously fighting, and then all of a sudden she shouts, “You’re just mad because I didn’t make out with you on the trip!”

Needless to say, everybody’s jaw dropped. I had to let the couple know that there was an abundance of children around them, and that they should watch their words. It was really hard to do it without cracking up though.


3. Plane Vanity


I was on a red-eye flight to London once and in the morning when everyone was getting up to pee after being asleep, this one lady decided to spend about 20 minutes in the bathroom putting her makeup on. 

How did I know? Other passengers got pissed and started complaining about the lady taking too long in the bathroom. When I knocked on the door, the lady came out with a full glam makeup on her face. Also, I know she wasn’t pooping because it didn’t smell like poop. There was so much hate.


2. The Family


There was only this one family on a flight and they were the worst family you could ever imagine. While we were taking off, one of the girls decides to tell me she’s terrified of flying. As soon as we take off, she decides to get up and walk to the bathroom. The entire family began switching seats at this time and were sitting on each other’s laps.

They then decided that putting napkins in cups would help with ear-popping; the family was just sitting there, with cups over their ears. As if they weren’t annoying enough, they kept asking me when they were going to be able to see the Hollywood sign. That’s when I felt like it was too much.


1. Barefoot Behavior


I’ve only been flying for a couple of months so this may seem tame compared to other people’s stories. I had a passenger in the first row take his socks and shoes and run his bare feet up against the bulkhead (the front “wall” of the aircraft).

If that wasn’t gross enough, towards the end of the flight he got up to use the lavatory without shoes. I think he needed some therapy. It was so disgusting considering the fact that the carpet is widely considered to be the dirtiest part of an airplane.

Hassan Washington

Hassan Washington

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