So far, the year of 2018 has been a miserable experience for airline passengers, inflight staff, and the carriers that operate more than 87,000 flights in the continental U.S. every single day. From dead pets to exotic stowaways, flying the friendly skies can often feel more like riding a rollercoaster.
To ease your pre-flight anxieties, we’ve put together an epic list of the top ten air travel debacles since New Year’s Eve. Now, we’ve got to warn you, this list is intended to make you smile and elicit a laugh… but, if you are prone to the window seat jitters, these gems might just push you over the edge!
Flight attendant goes 100% out of control
A flight attendant calling the shots aboard a United Airlines/Trans State regional flight in May 2018 was allegedly acting “out of control” when she confronted a passenger. According to a witness on the flight, the attendant seemed “intoxicated” and “mentally unstable.”
After pictures and and cellphone video of the incident surfaced online, Trans States Airlines said it was aware of reports of the flight attendant’s “erratic behavior” and that the situation was under investigation.
“As a gesture of goodwill, we have compensated all customers aboard the flight and we apologize for any inconvenience or distress this may have caused,” United Airlines said in a statement.
Attendant kills puppy by stuffing him in overhead bin
This was the single worst episode in a laundry list of mishaps at United Airlines. When a family’s French bulldog puppy was unceremoniously placed in the overhead bin by an insistent flight attendant, they complained, but ultimately were overruled.
The dog died on that flight from Houston to New York in March as a result of inadequate oxygen.
United apologized for the dog’s death, calling it a “tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin.”
Woman screams she’s going to kill everyone aboard
A woman on a Southwest Airlines flight from Portland to Sacramento went berserk and began yelling that she would “kill everyone on board” after she was caught tampering with the smoke detector in the bathroom.
The woman allegedly wanted to covertly smoke in the bathroom during the flight.
Valerie Curbelo, 24, was arrested after the plane landed safely about half an hour after the incident.
Woman forcibly ejected from Southwest flight
A woman was forcibly removed by police from a Southwest Airlines flight after she claimed to have a life-threatening animal allergy.
There was one pet and one service animal on board the plane.
A fellow passenger recorded the incident with her smartphone and the video went viral after it found it’s way on to Facebook. The vid shows angry police officers grabbing the woman’s arms and holding her by the chest as they push her down the aisle.
Southwest eventually said in a statement that it was “sorry for how the situation was handled.”
Pandemonium breaks out near the check-in counter
After Spirit Airlines cancelled nine flights at the Fort Lauderdale airport, agitated customers broke out into a massive brawl.
The cancellations stemmed from a dispute between the carrier and its pilots.
OMG. There’s a snake on this plane!
A stowaway snake caused a massive commotion when it made its way onto an Alaska Airlines flight via an unsuspecting passenger’s carry-on bag this March.
A flight attendant discovered the snake and then fearlessly placed it into a trash bag for the duration of the hour plus flight.
Entire JetBlue flight deplaned over a silly cake
An entire JetBlue flight had to exit the aircraft this May over a birthday cake! The airline claimed a family stowed a birthday cake in a bin reserved for emergency equipment and then refused to move it.
The upset family said it moved the cake but was removed from the plane anyway along with everyone else.
“After the customers refused to speak with a team leader about the situation, the Port Authority Police Department was called and the entire aircraft deplaned,” a JetBlue spokesman said.
The other passengers eventually were let back on and allowed to continue their trip. The family received a refund.
Epics fisticuffs erupt aboard a Delta flight
Two people, including a flight attendant, were injured on a Delta flight from Seattle to Beijing when a passenger lunged for the exit door. Apparently, the man was attempting to make an in-flight departure from 30,000 feet.
This photo shows the aftermath of the intense brawl that really freaked out the rest of the other passengers. A flight attendant reportedly broke a wine bottle over the man’s head in an effort to stop him!
Giant rabbit discovered dead after flight
A 10-month-old, 3-foot-long black continental rabbit was discovered dead after flying on a United Airlines plane in April.
An airline spokesman said in May that a satisfactory resolution had been reached with the bunny’s breeder. The rabbit, named Simon, was flying from the U.K. to his new owners in the United States.
The airline had no comment about a threat of legal action from the would-be future owners of the rabbit.
Screaming and bleeding doctor literally dragged from United Airlines flight
In April, United Airlines faced a another major backlash when a video appeared online showing physician David Dao being forcibly removed from an oversold flight.
In the harrowing video, Dr. Dao can be seen screaming, bleeding, and crying as officers dragged him down the plane aisle. The passengers don’t know what to do or say!
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has since apologized and subsequently changed airline policy on bumping passengers from overbooked flights.
Dao and United eventually reached a confidential settlement.
Well, folks… there’s your list of the ten most nightmarish air travel debacles!
We hope you laughed a little, were a tad amused, and passed on the hilarity to your friends, family, and neighbors.
While it’s true that we’re a long ways from the “golden age of air travel,” things are not quite as dire as they might seem. So the next time you’ve got your ticket in hand and your carry-on strapped to your back, remember that it could always be worse.
What’s your craziest air travel experience?