Some seriously crazy stuff can happen at 30,000 feet with no help available (perhaps the reason so many great horror movies have been made… yes, I am talking about Snakes on a Plane.). But usually that stuff is made up. Well, I am here to tell you that sometimes you can’t make that sh*t up. Take for instance the dude who passed out drunk and had to have his junk put back in his pants by flight attendants with metal tongs. Oh yes, that really happened. So did an emergency landing because a woman would not stop singing Whitney Houston songs.
Unfortunately, not all of these stories are light-hearted and funny. Some are tragic, the result of nature, man, or fate. Any way you slice it, though, up in the air is not the place you want to be during a WTF moment. Well, that is not entirely true. I found myself wishing I had been there on more than one of these occasions (and praying I never would be for others). The reality is that these tales are endless. It seems that some kook somewhere is always thinking up new ways for news to be made, or that some harebrained klutz somewhere else inadvertently makes news without even trying. And once in awhile, the stars align and that news happens in-flight.
One in every 604 flights involves some kind of medical emergency. There are approximately 50 medical emergencies per day in the air, many of which are minor. And aside from emergencies, any flight attendant will tell you that the craziness she sees on a day-to-day basis is truly stranger than fiction. From the mile high club to a dog poop emergency to celebs peeing in the aisle to a murder-suicide that brought a plane down and everything in between, the following 15 stories will have you seriously questioning, what the f***?
15. A Flooded Plane
A few years ago in 2014, a plane literally flooded. Now there is one I haven’t heard before! A Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia was forced to turn around after about an hour in the air. Apparently, there was a leak in the plane and because it had been raining, it got so bad that water flooded the aisles. The pilots had no choice but to return to Los Angeles. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown from the show Community was aboard this flight and called it “scary”, and said it looked like a “river through the aisles”. This being a two-story aircraft, the leak from the first class on the top floor was so bad it leaked through their floor, and began to “rain” onto the economy passengers below! The pilots said that although it was undoubtedly scary for the passengers, there was no concern for their safety, and they turned back for the sake of comfort, not danger.
14. “Crappy” Flight
Yes, pun intended. A US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia did not go as planned for the passengers on board. It all started when a service dog pooed in the middle of the aisle in June of 2014. The smell intensified throughout the flight, as the plane had run out of paper towels and the poo was right in the middle of everything. Those poor people sitting right next to it! Passengers both near and far from the doody complained of feeling physically ill because of the smell, so the pilots made an emergency landing in Kansas City, Missouri, where the mess was cleaned professionally, and then they were back on their way east. The flight had already been delayed in Los Angeles for two hours because of fuel issues, so I can imagine these poor people were not too happy that day. I would not have been a happy camper, I can say that much.
13. Largest In-Flight Theft Ever
I honestly do not even know how this is possible, but it obviously is, because a passenger on Emirates Airlines had $260,000 USD stolen while in the air. It is called possibly the biggest in-flight theft ever, and the cash and two watches were taken from a carry-on bag in the overhead bin. The victim of the theft was Mustafa Saci, 39, a watch merchant from Turkey. He was sitting in economy class on the long-haul flight from Dubai to Hong Kong. This happened in May of this year, and authorities were called to the airport to begin an investigation upon landing at 6:00 AM. There has been a string of thefts such as this- though none quite as huge- involving criminals who pose as passengers and then steal from the people they “stake out” on their flights. I, for one, do not get how people can pull something like this off; you’re in a capsule in the sky, with nowhere to run or hide. These thieves sure are ballsy.
12. “I Will Always Love You”
This one is just seriously WTF? One passenger on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to New York in 2013 (anyone else beginning to think the problem may be that all these flights originate in Los Angeles…?) refused to stop singing the Whitney Houston song “I Will Always Love You.” A classic love song, to be sure, but much of the wtf-ness of this particular instance depends on just how tone deaf the singer was. Because let’s be honest, it would be way worse to have to listen to that song if the person was a terrible singer. I am guessing she was not the greatest. Just a hunch. Anyway, the plane made an emergency landing at Kansas City International Airport after the Federal Air Marshal on board subdued the woman and put her in handcuffs. I am smiling just thinking about this ludicrous scene! The singing culprit was later released without charge, but American Airlines refused to fly her to her final destination, so she was SOL in that department. If you ask me, she got off easy. Moral of the story: never fly without your ear plugs.
11. Gerard Depardieu Pees In The Aisle
I am scrunching up my nose on this one (and again, kinda wishing I could have been there to see it… but not too close). It is hard to picture a talented and respectable actor such as Gerard Depardieu doing such an obnoxious thing, but then again, Hollywood surprises us every day. This “situation” occurred in 2011 on an Air France flight when flight attendants told the French actor that he had to wait to use the toilets. The flight bound from Paris to Dublin was delayed and sitting on the tarmac when apparently, nature called. He was told he had to wait until after takeoff, so he proceeded to urinate in the middle of the aisle, in front of all of his fellow passengers. The plane had to return to the gate for cleaning, which delayed it another two hours. I am going to guess Gerard’s popularity, at least with any fans he may have had on board, went down a notch or two after that. Oh, mon Dieu!
10. Murder-Suicide Leads To Plane Crash
Now this is a WTF incident that is not all fun and games like Gerard Depardieu’s antics. One disgruntled former employee of USAir ended up killing all 43 passengers and crew on the plane. David Burke had been a ticket agent who had been recently fired for petty theft of $69 in cocktails and was suspected of taking thousands of dollars in other thefts. So he bought a ticket from Los Angeles to San Francisco on a flight he knew his manager was on, then boarded the plane with a loaded gun, bypassing security with his un-surrendered credentials. This was back in 1987 when security, even on board, was more lax, so that is how he was able to shoot both the pilots, as well as his manager, a flight attendant, and himself. The plane crashed into a rocky hillside in central California, and there were no survivors. That is messed up.
9. Passenger Chokes To Death On In-Flight Meal
…And then his girlfriend had to sit next to him for nine hours! Can you imagine? I cannot fathom the horror of losing someone you love so suddenly, then having to remain trapped in a celestial tube for any amount of time, let alone nine whole hours. Wow. That had to be traumatizing. Here is what happened: Flying on Jetstar (a low-budget subsidiary of Qantas) from Singapore to Auckland, 31-year-old Robert Rippingale was taking his girlfriend Vanessa Preechakul to meet his parents in New Zealand, where he was from. An hour and a half into the 11-hour flight, Robert was eating dinner and watching a movie. He began to choke and at first Vanessa, an architect, did not realize that was what was happening. But then she started screaming, and two nurses and a doctor performed CPR, but were unsuccessful. His body was moved to the crew rest area, but Vanessa did not want to leave his side and was allowed to sit with him for the remainder of the flight. This took place in 2011.
8. Woman Sneaks Onto Plane To Have Baby
I feel like this is a new and different level of WTF. Maybe it is because we are so desensitized to things like murder and theft, but this story is really out there to me. I think most people, myself included, would be terrified to risk having a baby mid-air, or anywhere there is not guaranteed to be a doctor and medical equipment (and morphine). Having a baby is terrifying even with all that stuff, but in October of 2015, a Taiwanese woman who was 36 weeks pregnant “snuck” onto a China Airlines flight from Taiwan to Los Angeles. I say “snuck” because she did not tell the airline how far along into her pregnancy she was, knowing they would have refused to allow her to fly. Her motive? So she could have the baby in the U.S. She was in labor at 30,000 feet, and thank God there did end up being a doctor on board, who safely delivered her baby girl. The plane diverted to Anchorage, Alaska, but while on their way, the mother (known only as Jian), refused to lie flat or cooperate with the doctor because she wanted her baby to be born on U.S. soil so they would qualify for automatic citizenship. She kept asking if they were in America yet. I get wanting a better future for your child, but risking the baby’s health (and her own) like that is insane! She could have very well not been so lucky and had no future to better in the first place. SMH. Jian was deported back to Taiwan without her baby, who stayed with a family friend since she was too young to fly (lol- she was born flying!). The baby got citizenship.
7. Elderly Yoga Turns Plane Around
A 72-year-old man named Hyongtae Pae of South Korea caused quite a disturbance on United Airlines flight 903 in April of this year. The plane was headed from Honolulu to Tokyo, and was about 90 minutes into the flight when he freaked out after being told he could not practice yoga in the aisle. He had not wanted to sit in his seat during the meal service, and then went to the back of the plane to do some yoga. Even his wife tried to help out the flight attendants by telling him he could not do that, but he shoved her for “siding with the flight crew.” They had been in Hawaii celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, but the celebratory spirit (and likely, any amorous feelings for his poor wife) had long disappeared by this time. The man also bit and head-butted a U.S. Marine passenger trying to help restrain him. He even threatened to kill one passenger, and yelled out that “There is no God!” He later explained that he had not slept in 11 days. The plane turned back to Honolulu, and he was released on a $25,000 bond and ordered to stay in Oahu for a mental health examination.
6. Woman Sexually Assaults Another Woman
Change the first “woman” in the title to “man,” and this would not be so WTF (sadly). Assaults are not so uncommon on planes these days, but rarely do you hear of a woman violating another woman like this. And that goes for anywhere, not just in the sky! This year in May, an otherwise very normal looking 26-year-old woman named Heidi McKinney was arrested for “in-flight molestation” of another woman on her flight from Las Vegas to Portland. She was accused of touching the woman’s breasts and genitals. It was not consensual. When the Alaska Airlines flight landed, McKinney was arrested and charged with third degree sexual assault and her bail was set at $2,500. Alcohol may have been a factor. State prosecutors have said they will not pursue a criminal case against her, but have referred it to the U.S. Attorney’s office, as Federal prosecutors typically handle crimes that have occurred aboard an aircraft. The above is Heidi McKinney’s mug shot, and a selfie she took on a previous trip to Hawaii.
5. Metal Tongs Used To Tuck Man’s Junk Back In
WTF, am I right? Well, obviously, this man was inebriated to the point of being passed out. But let’s begin at the beginning. One flight attendant who writes an online series called “Confessions of a Fed-Up Flight Attendant” writes under the pen name “Betty.” Betty says it is not uncommon for people on flights to Las Vegas to get more drunk than on other flights. On one such flight to Sin City, a drunken passenger passed out in the lavatory, fell backward, and wound up on the galley floor, with his fly open and his privates hanging out. How embarrassing! After a long talk amongst the flight attendants about what to do in this unprecedented situation, they ultimately decided to use the long metal tongs they use to serve bread in first class to move his business back into his britches! Betty says he did not feel a thing or wake up, and I am left wondering if the dude ever even knew what happened. And again I say, I wish I could have been there for this WTF moment!
4. Real Life Snakes On A Plane
I’m not gonna lie, I loved Snakes on a Plane. Was it a tad on the ridiculous side? Maybe. But no one can ever call it preposterous or implausible ever again. This is because it really happened! In December of 2013, a passenger on an EgyptAir flight brought with him a deadly cobra! The man was a 48-year-old Jordanian national who made his living selling reptiles. That day, he smuggled a venomous snake onto the flight, and it got loose. The plane spiraled into chaos (figuratively, that is) as people freaked out and the highly venomous snake slithered around the aircraft. He even bit his handler! The pilots had no choice but to make an emergency landing, and they could not take off again until the plane had been thoroughly cleaned and fumigated. The Jordanian man said he was not hurt, just scratched, and refused treatment. Ok, so maybe it was not exactly like the movie, but I would have felt better had Samuel L. Jackson been on board anyway, because that is a little too close to the storyline for comfort!
3. Pervert Spy Cam
Gross! How horrible is it that nowadays we have to worry about creeps putting cameras in bathrooms, even on freaking airplanes? In 2006 American Airlines flight 24 made an emergency landing in Kansas City, Missouri (that is like the hub for emergency landings!) because a “spy-cam” was found inside one of the lavatories. At first no one could tell what exactly it was, and teams on the ground prepared themselves for the worst case scenario: an explosive device. Passengers were whisked away in buses and explosive experts boarded the plane. Luckily (strange that this sentence begins with “Luckily”) it was just the work of your everyday pervert. However, after all the passengers were interviewed by the FBI, they still had no idea who was the culprit! Someone had managed to violate the privacy of a ton of people unnoticed, as well as bring down an entire airliner, and he didn’t get caught (I am assuming it was a “he-” sorry guys!).
2. Struck by Lightning
According to my dad, who has been a pilot for a major airline for over three decades, getting struck by lightning while flying is actually not that uncommon. However, I think for most of us, it would be a terrifying experience, one we would be scarred for life by. Forever. Because it is extremely loud, and shakes the plane. I think my first thought would be that a bomb had gone off. In April of this year, one passenger caught on video the moment their plane got struck by lightning, just after taking off from Heathrow in London. In this instance, the sky flashed bright red like blood (kind of a WTF on its own). A plane on its way in from Prague was also struck. The video was taken from a plane coming in for landing from Iceland when it got trapped in the thunderstorm. It landed safely after being hit on the wing, although everyone was pretty shaken up. Some passengers even said there were sparks on the wing that was hit, and photos of the plane make it look like it is fully on fire, at least from the ground. Super scary!
1. Kris Jenner
Enough said? Usually just her name is more than enough to invoke a WTF thought in my brain, but this story needs a little more ‘splainin.’ In this case, Kris Jenner was mortified after a flight attendant congratulated her on the loudspeaker for having sex on the plane! Sure, celebs often brag about being in the mile-high club after the fact, but this was practically during the fact, as in moments later! In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, Kris calls the experience the “most embarrassing moment” of her life. Yikes, that’s pretty bad.
About one year ago in 2015, the Kardashian matriarch and her then-husband Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner were caught doing the deed on an American Airlines flight, but they thought they had gotten away with it. Kris says they had sex in the bathroom, and when they came out no one said anything. But then at the end of the flight, the flight attendant got on the loudspeaker and said: “Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Jenner! You’ve just joined the mile-high club. We’re so proud of you, and we decided to give you a bottle of champagne! Yay!” Needless to say, Kris may have been humiliated, but everyone else was probably laughing their asses off. I would have been.