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Flight Attendants Describe Their Worst In-Flight Experiences

Updated March 2, 2018 588.9k views16 items

Flight attendants do more than serve pretzels and small cans of soda: they inform passengers of safety measures, break up mid-air fights, and handle a number of other delicate tasks while dealing with turbulence at 30,000 feet. All of this results in some interesting tales about life working up in the friendly skies.

These flight attendant stories, as chronicled on Reddit and other outlets, include some of the scariest things that these vital employees have witnessed. After reading the flight attendant stories here, you'll think twice about slamming that button for service.

  • Broken Nose Over An Armrest

    From Redditor /u/waterbadger:

    "I am a flight attendant for AA. A few months ago, two men sitting next to each other started getting very physical over the arm rest. It escalated quickly and one guy ended up having his nose broken. As if this weren't stressful enough, there was a pregnant women near them that obviously was in danger of a stray punch. On the street, you can just walk away, but its quite terrifying when everyone looks at you to sort it out!"

  • Grandma Was Dead The Whole Time

    From Redditor /u/That_Bass_Guy:

    "My mother was a flight attendant for 26 years, and the strangest thing that happened to her (besides the frequent 'sir, please, you have to stop masturbating') was an elderly woman who got rolled on the plane with her granddaughters (in their 20s).

    My mom immediately noticed something was off, as people in wheel chairs need to be taken on to the plane ahead of time. The granddaughters would not leave her, not so weird, but the grandma was asleep so she couldn't answer questions. Eventually, they try get her on the plane, with much convincing from the daughters. Turns out, halfway through the flight, they discover the woman is dead. When the plane landed everyone got interrogated to make sure she died 'naturally,' and it turned out the granddaughters knew the whole time and we're just trying to get her to America cause moving dead bodies internationally is difficult. They almost got away with it if it wasn't for those meddling flight attendants."

  • Ice Was Built Up Behind The Propellers

    From a former Redditor:

    "There was freezing rain in Ottawa one night and due to the direction of the rain it fell behind the prop covers. Freezing there overnight, it was missed during de-icing. As soon as we took off I felt the entire plane rattling. I watched my coffee cup dance as it sat in a cup holder in front of me. I remember the plane leveling off very quickly, and then the blinking red light came on and EMERGENCY lit up on the panel.

    We went through the TEST briefing and the captain sounded incredibly stressed, though he did say it would be a non-emergency landing.

    We landed without incident, and later found over two pounds of ice built up behind the props, and four oz. was considered bad for balancing.

    I was two weeks on the job, and I remember being so calm and accepting in the air. On the ground, after debriefing, however, I finished a pitcher in five minutes."

  • Fumes In The Cabin

    From Redditor /u/itzBACON:

    "When I flew in the Navy (was Aircrew, not pilot), we had smoke and fumes in the cabin. One of our batteries was pouring smoke out of it, while we were over the Pacific about halfway to Hawaii. Luckily we caught it in time to prevent thermal runaway, but just barely.

    We were preparing to drop the battery out of the radio access door on the bottom of the plane by dropping to below 10,000 feet, where I'd strap in using a harness specifically for that task, and drop the battery out of the hatch. By that time we had already made it to Hawaii. Never have I seen so many emergency vehicles in one place. The emergency crew ran over, yanked the battery out, and threw it in a big barrel of water."