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anniereborn's avatar

What interesting things have you seen happen while flying?

Asked by anniereborn (5403 points ) April 7th, 2014

While flying in a commercial jet, what kinds of crazy, disturbing, interesting things have you seen happen?
Earlier my partner and I were discussing how he would totally freak out with his fear of flying. I could just picture him screaming about and the flight attendant offering him free drinks to keep him quiet.
Personally I haven’t witnessed anything like that. But, I don’t fly very often.

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26 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I flew to the Dominican Republic on Air Dominicana The passengers all cheered and applauded when we landed safely.

anniereborn's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I’ve seen that happen several times. I always find it fun.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Well, we started to land and all we could see was jungle. No buildings, no sign of life, so we were looking at each other and hoping there was a runway somewhere. But that was a really fun trip.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Flying from the MidWest to the West Coast, over the Rockies, I chanced to look out the window and saw another passenger jet flying the opposite direction pass us at the same altitude within a couple of hundred yards of each other!

Coloma's avatar

Nothing noteworthy, unless you count the super drunk, some sports team, guys once, on a flight from LA to San Diego that had to be seriously chastised by the flight attendants. lol
My last really looong flight to Asia in 2010, was uneventful. We departed SFO at midnight after a Xanax and a double Bloody Mary, I was good to go. haha
Slept for about 6 hours out of 13ish, then I just wandered around the plane while everyone else was asleep.
Oh…the extremely suspect yellow sauasage served for breakfast by Air China was eventful, as in a rousing discussion of what the hell went into a yellow sausage, it looked like a giant Banana Slug. No, I did not eat the yellow sausage. lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

Like people on the plane? Not much. Outside the window however….

Seeing a sunrise from a plane is always nice, I’ve also seen storms below the plane and saw lightning from above, that was pretty awesome.

@Adirondackwannabe Here is a timelapse of my flight to St Thomas it was literally just ocean.. ocean…. ocean….. holy crap we landed.

jaytkay's avatar

1)
Once I boarded a plane and found a woman in my seat. I said “I think you’re in my seat” and we compared tickets and we were both assigned to the seat.

OK, I think, no big deal, I don’t care where I sit. I signal a flight attendant and say “we are both assigned the same seat.” The other passenger FLIPPED OUT and started yelling at me and the flight attendant. “You can’t DO THIS to ME!” We retreated to a safe distance.

The pilot came back and told the woman to get off the plane, and she did, muttering curses the whole way out. The flight attendant diplomatically said the woman had “been unhappy” inside at the gate, too, so the outburst wasn’t entirely surprising.

2)
Flying cross-country once I happened to wake up while we were flying over Colorado. I had binoculars, and looking down I saw my mom’s childhood home, which my great-grandparents built in the 1880s. It’s in a tiny town in the mountains, next to a lake and a church, so it was very easy to recognize even from 30,000 feet.

3)
A friend of mine was flying to Chicago O’Hare but the plane was diverted to Chicago Midway. After a short stay on the runway, they took off and flew the last 15 miles to O’Hare. That would be fun in a full-sized airliner. There should be a commemorative pin or patch for that.

Coloma's avatar

@jaytkay Sheesh..I think I would have told that nutcase woman where to go.
1st class to hell! lol

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@El_Cadejo That was cool. It’s ocean, you’re getting lower, and there’s no land until the runway appears.

Coloma's avatar

Does having my dog and pet bunny sent to Philadelphia instead of Albuquerque count as eventful? It certainly was eventful for them. ^&&$#@*&!!!

Blondesjon's avatar

I once watched a man swallow his own head.

eno's avatar

Obese woman paid for two seats.

flip86's avatar

I’ve never flown. I respect gravity too much.

gondwanalon's avatar

I was on a loaded airplane last year sitting toward the front of the plane just behind the first class section. We were ready for take-off when I hear people talking loudly in the back of the plane. I couldn’t tell what was being said. Then I heard very loud laughter then silence and a long long wait (like 30 minutes) while nothing happened. Sudden two big men came onto the plane and escorted one of the passengers off the plane. On the way off the plane one of the big men turned around and announced “We don’t mess around” and there were some cheers from the back of the plane. I just sat and wondered what the hell just happened?

gondwanalon's avatar

And another time when the plane landed in Seattle, they could not get the front door to open. So the made us exit the plane through a small door in the tail of the plane and climb down a ladder and walk across the runway tarmac.

gondwanalon's avatar

Also the following is copied from my travel journal from a trip to the Galapagos Islands:

“Everything was going great. Such a smooth trip!” I thought as I stood in line to get our boarding passes on the LAN-Ecuador airline (Quito, Equator airport). Then A woman working for LAN told me “Your flight has been cancelled… We notified everyone two months ago by e-mail (a lie)... You are scheduled for a flight tomorrow…come back tomorrow at 1630 p.m.” Then she said “I’ll try to get you on a flight to Lima to Miami tonight (another lie). (No one at LAN offered us a hotel room with food & transportation) ..Wait here, I’ll be right back.” (another lie she never came back and ignored me when I saw her later). I waited there for over half an hour while Fay (my wife) talked to a manager in the LAN office for help. Meanwhile there were 2 power outages. Standing in the dark, I called Fay on the walkie-talkie and said “We gota-get-outa-here!”. When the lights came back on, the manager said that she could fly us to L.A. that evening at 10:30 but not all the way to Seattle as that route was too expensive. In order to get home without paying more we would have to come back tomorrow for the cheaper flight to Miami. So Fay said “Just get us to L.A. and we’ll pay to
get the rest of the way to Seattle. So we got on the plane to L.A. And while in flight, we planned a diabolical retaliation on LAN and it worked.
9–24-2008
As soon as we arrived in LAX, We went to American and United Air Lines and got their support that LAN Air Lines was responsible for returning us home. American even made reservations for us on Alaska. With this support we went to LAN at LAX and politely
(with smiling faces) requested a ticket for Seattle. The LAN people were very nice and also smiling and said that they would have to call LAN at Quito. We waited there standing in place for 45 minutes. While we waited Fay read her novel and I did leg exercises. We were there so long that 2 sets of security guards asked us why we were there. Finally we were told that Quito only authorized the L.A. tickets because we said that we were only going to L.A. So with smiling faces we said “Oh no, there must have been a miscommunication” (a big fat juicy lie, yeah!!!). Then while the man wrote out our tickets by hand I told him “I’m sorry for making your job more difficult” (lie). And he smiled and sail “It’s no problem.” (lier). They act so friendly while they treat you badly. As we walked away with our tickets, I thought that you have to be strong, have infinite patience
for world travel. When we stepped onto the terminal at SEA, I got down on my hands and knees and kissed the ground. It was good to be home. I looked at my watch and saw that our total
trip time from Quito, Ecuador was 19 hours an 4 minutes. Not too bad.
P.S. While waiting for “EZ Airport Shuttle” to take us to pick up our car I saw a strange looking coin on the ground. I picked it up for a good look. It was “One British Pound”! That’s about 2 US $’s. Well it just another indication that Karma is still working

jaytkay's avatar

@Coloma Does having my dog and pet bunny sent to Philadelphia instead of Albuquerque count as eventful?

Ummm, it’s pretty obvious what happened.

‘I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque!’

rojo's avatar

Coming into London on a foggy, overcast day we were surrounded by the grey mist; it was like staring into a jug of milk. Suddenly there was a break in the clouds and in the clearing was an English castle/great house in all its glory but as quickly as it appeared, it was gone leaving us to wonder if we had really seen it or whether it was but a ghost of the past.

A glorious moment and a thrilling taste of splendors yet to come.

never did find out what it was. anyone have any idea what building with crenelated stonework might be on the flight path to Gatwick?

Smitha's avatar

On a recent trip to my home country on Emirates, I had one of the loudest snorers EVER sitting beside me. I could even hear him snore through my noise blocking headphones. All we can do during such situation is just write it off to one of the many crappy things we have to deal with as part of air travel.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Once, on a flight from Chicago to Columbus. there was a muffled explosion under us (I was sitting directly above the left wing and left side landing gear) on takeoff.
There was no announcement from the cockpit and we left to wonder what had happened. The best guess was that one of the tires had experienced a blow-out.
Sure enough, when landing at Columbus Airport the pilot managed to land the plane on just the right side landing gear, and then the nose and finally the side with the blowout.
It was done superbly and there was cheering from those of us who had been aware.

Cruiser's avatar

I was in a plane on 9/11 and we were forced by the FAA to immediately make an emergency landing at the nearest airport. There was nowhere to put all the airplanes and we were stacked wingtip to wingtip on the taxiway. It was surreal to see that and see people looking out the windows with a mix of panic once we found out that terrorists were flying planes into buildings and we were stuck sitting in one for another hour and a half.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

Restroom abortion. Followed by a lot of spewing. And a nigh unanimous consensus to never speak of such things again. People and their reactions are amusing.

Pachy's avatar

This, and I pray to God it never happens again.

Coloma's avatar

@Pachy Haha…that was a great TZ episode with W.S.

Pachy's avatar

Thanks, @Coloma. I still get the jitters when I’m on a plane and remember that episode. The remake years later with John Lithgow, while technically better, wasn’t anywhere near as good.

“Portrait of a frightened man: Robert Wilson, 37, husband, father, and salesman on sick leave. Mr. Wilson has just been discharged from a sanitarium where he spent the last six months recovering from a nervous breakdown, the onset of which took place on an evening not dissimilar to this one, on an airliner very much like the one in which Mr. Wilson is about to be flown home – the difference being that, on that evening half a year ago, Mr. Wilson’s flight was terminated by the onslaught of his mental breakdown. Tonight, he’s traveling all the way to his appointed destination, which, contrary to Mr. Wilson’s plan, happens to be in the darkest corner of the Twilight Zone.”

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I’ve seen people bring children on flights more than once.

WTF?

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