25 Most Unbelievable Passenger Stories From The Aviation Industry
Working in the aviation industry can be an exhilarating and sometimes unpredictable experience. From pilots and flight attendants to ground crew and air traffic controllers, these professionals witness a myriad of events that range from the extraordinary to the downright bizarre.
In this Reddit thread, individuals who work in the aviation industry have shared some stories, offering a glimpse into the fascinating and often surreal world above the clouds.
A fully naked woman just walked through the terminal and tried to walk through security like she wasn’t fully naked
Family friend who was flight attendant on South America to USA international flights. She said someone tried to get boarded with their service animal….a Kangaroo. Service Kangaroo and their human were denied boarding. Still can’t work out how they got through the airport.
As a baggage handler I once had a shipment of live Alaskan crabs escape their container on the ramp. Flights were delayed. Turns out those guys scatter when they panic and try to hide under anything and everything.
In no particular order: A 400 lb woman who sh*t herself in her seat and proceeded to leave a little turd trail down the aisle as she got off the plane. (She wasn’t being inconsiderate. She literally had no control over her bowels, could barely walk yet couldn’t fit on the aisle wheelchair so was forced to hobble off the plane with the help of two other people, all with s**t falling out of her clothes. Terrible experience for all involved.) Various injuries sustained by coworkers. A bad slip on ice resulted in a nasty concussion. Another guy got his hand lightly mangled by the baggage loader. A drunk guy tried to force his way onto a jet bridge after he was denied boarding. I was at the bottom of the bridge and started preparing for a physical confrontation to prevent him from illegally boarding the aircraft. It didn’t come to that, but I still got to watch the cops drag him off in the ~~patty~~ *paddy* wagon (apologies to my Irish friends). Cool weather/natural phenomena. Lighting, thundersnow, meteors, even a tornado. Windblown luggage going on an adventure… and almost rolling onto an active taxiway. Eight large duffle bags, all checked by the same passenger, full of nothing but oranges. (Edit): That cargo bin smelled fresh as f**k. An over-packed bag that split open. Not a super rare occurrence, but this one being full of bdsm gear and other such items was a bit of an outlier. A baby goat, horse semen, dead people, and dead people parts regularly shipped as cargo. A flight from another airline diverted to my station after all that airline’s ground workers had left for the night. There must have been a serious miscommunication because that really should not have happened. The plane sat at the gate waiting for help that wasn’t there. At some point, an over wing emergency exit was opened, and the escape slide deployed. Big, expensive problem that I’m glad I wasn’t a part of. And finally, just the sheer amount of both valuable items AND disgusting s**t people leave in seat back pockets. Phones, tablets, wallets, watches, purses, keys, headphones, flash drives. But also spilled drinks, half-eaten food, chewed gum, dirty diapers… Guys, if you’re flying, how about just don’t put anything in there, okay? In fact, don’t touch the seat back pocket at all. Don’t even look at it. It’s not for you. Leave it alone.
A plane I got on once almost left without half of its aircrew on it.
Little girl had an emotional support rooster in a tutu. This was shortly before the airlines started cracking down on what kind of animals could be in the cabin during flight.
Not airline but Im a helicopter engineer. North sea Oil and gas
We got asked by a pilot, “what’s the max weight for the cabin step”
Assuming the pilot is away wanting it for a joke we say no idea, couple hundred KG….. Pilot dead pan looks at us and says no he needs to know. Ok fine, we go checking the manuals and eventually find it’s 200kg max load.
Next he says what’s the max weight of a cabin seat.
Again, we think what the f***s he on. But we go back to manauls and find out that it’s 220kg.
Ok thanks, says the pilot. “I’m asking because my next flight has an unusual passenger……. A SEVEN FOOT 7 INCH….. 185KG MAN!!! this guy was from Fiji, and they are built different. This guy walking out to the aircraft looked like he was away to pick it up and play with it… Never see a walking land mass of a human like him since.
The amount of sex in that small bathroom. Geez
Saw the pilot walk into the passenger area and say ” I’m not flying this piece of s**t ” and get off the plane , and all the passengers followed him
Someone had the tip of their finger cut off when closing the door to the plane and didn’t say anything until the flight landed at the arrival gate and when the door was opened the chunk of finger fell out. The staff then said, “oh yeah, that’s my finger. you can throw it away.”
I saw a person get eradicated by the blade of a helicopter.
I saw someone almost lose their leg to an exploding tire.
I saw a guy lose his finger to a jet rolling over it.
I saw a guy have his leg squeezed like a tube of toothpaste because he fell in front of a tire. Then they had to roll it the opposite way back over him. They saved his leg, and he still walks.
Worked in operations at IAH for a while, one of our pilots landed with passengers at the wrong airport.
When I was a ramp rat in the 90’s we were servicing the airplane as people embarked. The pilot came over the speakers and spoke about the flight details and said we will land in Dallas in approx 1-1/2 hours. He then said if you’re on the wrong flight please get off. Dead silence and 3 minutes later the pilot and co pilot exited the airplane as they were the ones on the wrong flight.
I don’t work in the airline industry, but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night. Anyway, my idiot aunt smuggled a monkey into the US from Mexico. Her plan was to keep it under her shirt until she got through customs. She is a big woman and it was a small monkey. Anyway, the monkey started running around the cabin, and crew and some passengers were trying to catch it. The monkey was a bit of a biter, so it was a huge stupid s**t show.
Emotional support scorpion is probably up there on the list of crazy. Dude was unable to state the emotional support he derived from the scorpion. It got even more fishy when we told him he would not be allowed to board with it and he said he would just throw his buddy in the trash.
We had a guy drinking out of hotel Shampoo and lotion bottles. He got upset when we questioned him saying it wasn’t alcohol. I said “Sir, if it’s not booze, I have many more questions for you”.
There were two suitcases checked in that were full of nothing but weed.
Worked at the airport, flight had just got off the ground. Pilot calls in “uhhhh hey we are coming in for an emergency landing…..the exit door just got sucked into the plane” so door was sucked in. I had someone in that seat be really wishy washy about whether or not they wanted to be in the exit row so I moved them. Probably would have killed them if they had stayed, door completely destroyed the seat.
Coffin with dead body inside being left out of the flight due to overload without notice neither to us nor the family and the family realising it by seeing it while the plane was leaving and screaming to us…
A grandma had an oversized pair of scissors, she wanted to take them with her. Instead of putting them in her checked in bag, she decided to put them in her shoe. So out of all options she decided that smuggling is the way to go and got the cops called.
Not in the industry, but boarded a Northwest flight many years ago. A lady in the emergency exit row (a couple of rows behind me) called the FA back and said “I can stick my arm out of the plane”.
I look out my window and sure enough, she’s waving back at me.
Takeoff was delayed while they called maintenance to re-seal the exit window.
Image source: monkeywithawrench13
Was on base maintenance for my national airline carrier in 2013 or so. Aircraft was scheduled for take off, and the pilot followed procedure per the usual. The chocks come off the wheel, the engine spools up and taxis to the runway. Except the ground personnel didn’t clear the chocks in time because he didn’t follow procedure. They’re often poorly trained or not at all as part of cost cutting. Pilot spooled up the engine and sucked the ground personnel straight into the turbofan. His torso was pinned against the fan cone, shredded his limbs and head right off. We spent the next 2 weeks decommissioning the engines. Damn near 5 Mill USD bill. He got a pension of about 400 USD per month. Now I know what it’s like to powerwash someone’s bones out of complex machinery.
Image source: ProbablyChe
Worked as ground crew. 2nd day on the job we were issued a notice to gather. So when you check in every morning you’re supposed to always take a breathalyzer test to prove you can like you know, ride around the tarmack, use pushbacks etc.
For whatever reason this dude hadn’t taken it/got past without taking it.
He was not sober.
He was tasked with pulling a 370 into a hangar.
He eyeballed it for whatever reason.
So here we are watching a video of this absolute loon break the whole wing off while damaging the hangar in the process.
Because he was drunk, insurance doesn’t kick in.
We were promptly told that christmas bonuses might be a bit smaller
Image source: anon
I always get stuck in the last seat, directly in front of the latrine, because I book flights last minute for work. Flight attendants usually sit nearby. I asked one that question one time. She just smiled and said it would be unprofessional to share those stories.
I kid you not, 30 minutes into the flight, some large dude came waddling down the aisle while blasting out gurgly squelchers. He was all grimaced, sweating, squinting, and exclaiming “oh no oh no oh no oh no.” He paused right as he was fumbling for the stall door when I heard his a**s violently jettison 5lbs of forbidden honey mustard directly into his pants. We made eye contact. Purest dread and regret. He squashed himself into the stall and didn’t come out for most of the flight. He left a puddle in the aisle which quickly fumegated everyone from row 24 back. The flight attendant took out a can of lysol and sprayed it.
As we were leaving the plane, the flight attendant said “that was in the top 3.”
Image source: Doogiemon
Coworker of mine worked as a baggage handler for 25 years.
Early in his career, a family was trying to get their grandpa onto a flight that loaded on an outside ramp. He was in a wheelchair and was waiting on people to help him up when it started raining.
My co-worker watched as his person in a wheelchair was just getting rained on and when people were finally ready to board him on the flight, he was dead.
The thing was.. he was dead for 2 days already and the family was trying to get him home the cheapest way to bury him and not pay to transport the body…..
Needless to say the family got into a lot of trouble and my coworker said he still remembers seeing a person in a wheelchair just out in the rain for 10 minutes.