Category Archives: Weird Airline Stories

Woman Stung by Scorpion on Iberia Flight

A woman traveling from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Madrid on Iberia was stung by a scorpion during the flight.

She was bitten on the arm and, upon arrival in Madrid, was taken to a hospital where she spent the night for observation.

The A340 was quarantined so it could be disinfected and the scorpion could be found and put on a plane back to Costa Rica. Presumably he would have to pay the full Y fare for the last minute booking.

3 Airlines Tell Woman She Is Too Fat to Fly; She Dies While Awaiting Flight that Will Accept Her

Hm…what’s the best way to summarize this?

A woman weighing more than 400 pounds is in Hungary and needs to get back to the United States for medical treatment (she has kidney problems and diabetes….and weighs 400 pounds). She books 3 seats on a KLM-operated flight for the first leg home. Oh, speaking of legs, did I mention that she only has 1 leg? I should’ve mentioned that. Anyway, she gets onto the plane but there is no seatbelt extender large enough for her. Also, she is told that the seats won’t hold her.

Anyway, she then drives to Prague where she intends to board a Delta plane, but she is soon told by Delta staff that the wheelchair that the airline uses will not hold her weight.

Finally, she purchases 3 tickets for a flight on Lufthansa. When she goes to board that plane, staff are unable to lift her out of her wheelchair after struggling for half an hour.

Two days later the passenger dies (full story here, though let me note that some of the photos are kinda unpleasant), and now her family is preparing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the 3 airlines.

I have absolutely no idea what the moral of this story is, but as a blogger I think I’m now obligated to note that had she purchased her ticket with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, she would have earned double miles. (Now the blogger police won’t come and get me).

SAS Pilot De-Ices Wings with Whiskey

Because of SAS’ financial troubles, the airline has been flying its aircraft with full fuel tanks under the assumption that it may not be able to purchase fuel when the plane arrives at its destination.

That policy caused an unusual scene at the airport in Alicante, Spain, when the combination of full fuel tanks and colder-than-expected weather caused icing on the wings. Because icing is unusual in those parts, the airport did not have de-icing equipment available.

But the captain thought on his feet and sprayed 3 bottles of whiskey (sorry, it’s in SwedishNorwegian, but there’s a translation here) over the wings, which removed the ice, and the plane departed just an hour late, returning to Stavanger, Norway, without incident (though smelling like a drunk).

Air France Crew to Passengers: Does Anyone Have Any Cash to Pay for Fuel?

An Air France flight from Paris to Beirut made an emergency landing in Damascus, Syria, last Wednesday after running low on fuel. The flight had circled for some time because demonstrations at the Beirut airport had caused flight diversions. The fuel situation was serious enough that Air France decided to land the plane in Damascus, which is seeing its own share of domestic unrest.

But when the plane landed, the flight’s crew made an unusual request: they asked passengers to check their wallets to see if they had cash that the crew could use to pay for fuel at the airport. Economic sanctions against Syria made payment for fuel challenging, and an Air France spokesperson called the measure “unusual” and said that asking for the cash was simply a precautionary measure.

Eventually the airline found another way to pay for the fuel, so they did not need passengers to pitch in for gas money (like they were your big brother driving your 14-year-old friends to the movies.)

Oddly enough, this is the second time an airline has hit up passengers for gas money in the past year — you may remember this story about a Comtel Air pilot asking passengers to put up 150 Euro each to get from Vienna to Birmingham.

Silver Airways Plane (Flying for United) Lands at Wrong Airport

A Silver Airways Saab 340B on its way from Morgantown, WV, to Clarksburg, WV, landed at the wrong airport on Tuesday of this week. Silver Airways had only been flying the route since August 2nd, and the pilots mistakenly landed at Fairmont, WV, instead of Clarksburg.

The airports are about 11 miles apart, and look quite similar from the air (apparently), and the towers at the airport were unmanned in the evening when the incident occurred.

The 11 passengers were taken to Clarksburg by taxi.

Kenya Airways Refunds $1,400 to Woman Who Sat Across from Corpse

Think you’ve had a bad seatmate?

Kenya Airways has refunded a passenger the $1,400 she paid for her ticket after the gentleman who sat across from her on a flight from Amsterdam to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, died midway through the flight.

The non-dead passenger, who happens to be a reporter for Radio Sweden, reported that a gentleman (then in his 30s, now not in his anythings) was seated across the aisle from him and did not look well prior to takeoff. Said she, “He was sweating and had seizures…” I think I sat next to that guy the time I flew from Delhi to Dubai overnight. That’s neither here nor there.

Several hours into the trip the seizures stopped and airline crew and passengers tried unsuccessfully to revive him. No luck. Crew laid him across the seats in the middle, directly across from the aggrieved Swede.

Upon return from her holiday in Tanzania she wrote the airline and, to their credit, they refunded the cost of her ticket.

Pakistan International Airlines Carries Passengers in Toilet

I really wish there were some more details here, but here’s what we know:

– Pakistan International Airlines (also commonly referred to as PIA) flight from Lahore to Karachi, Pakistan.

– Plane is overbooked.

– Captain tells 2 passengers, who would’ve otherwise been bumped (do they have a bump policy in Pakistan?) that they can ride in bathroom.

– 2 passengers ride to Karachi in bathroom.

The end.

Stinky Diaper Causes Flight Diversion in Australia

A Qantas flight from Darwin to Brisbane had to divert to Mt. Isa because passengers reported smelling smoke coming from the bathroom.

Flight crew took precautionary measures and landed the 767 at the small airport, which typically does not handle planes of that size. Passengers were reportedly forklifted (whee!) off the plane. On a positive note, the airline bought everyone pizzas.

Upon investigation, it was determined that the smell in the toiled was, in fact, a dirty diaper. In fairness, flushing a dirty diaper may have clogged up the toilet and caused overheating, which would have led to smoke. Or, a baby poop just smelled bad.

Qantas brought in a 737 to carry passengers the rest of the way to Brisbane.

(I apologize, as the original article was written in Australian — I’m just assuming that “nappy stuck in loo” means that a toilet was backed up from a diaper. It may also have something to do with a koala bear, a boomerang and Paul Hogan.)

Thanks to long-time OTR reader Brenda for the heads up.

Captain Locks Self in Bathroom, Inadvertently Causes Terror Scare

It’s worth reading the whole story here, but the captain of a Chatauqua Airlines flight from Asheville, North Carolina, to LaGuardia got stuck in the lavatory of the small plane and, in a ridiculous series of events, ended up causing fighter jets to be put on alert.

After the captain was stuck for a bit in the bathroom, he banged on the door for a while until one of the passengers heard him and came over to the bathroom. The captain told the passenger (who, it turns out, spoke with an accent of some sort) to go knock on the cockpit door to alert the co-pilot what was happening.

The passenger banged on the door and asked the co-pilot to open the cockpit door. That freaked out the co-pilot, who called air traffic control to tell them that a man with a Middle Eastern accent was banging on the cockpit door, demanding to be let in. Hilarity ensues.

The captain eventually opens the door to the bathroom, the whole thing is straightened out, and Zack Morris learns his lesson about not being honest with Mr. Belding (sorry – that was Saved by the Bell).

Did a Boston-Based Folk Singer Get Kicked Off a United Flight Because He Was Reading a Book?

A folk singer from Boston named Vance Gilbert says that after he boarded a United Airlines flight on August 14th he took out a book about World War I aircraft and started reading. Shortly thereafter, 3 crew members from Shuttle America, which operated the United Express flight, came on the plane and asked Mr. Gilbert to come with them. They then asked him about the book of planes, examined the book, then let him back on the plane. Gilbert then says that he “silently wept” during the rest of the flight.

Gilbert posted this on his blog, and the Boston Globe has picked up the story. This both seems incredibly bizarre yet also plausible. I’m not exactly sure why he was so upset by it – crazy security-related stuff happens all the time, but for its part United said they are looking into the incident.