10 Crazy Things I Saw on My Last International Flight

LAX to London on American Airlines 777-313The other night, my wife and I flew from Los Angeles to London on American Airlines (story). We were seated in the first row of economy so it gave us a great vantage point to see all kinds of crazy things passengers do. So much so that my wife recommended I write a post on 10 of the crazy things I saw on my last international flight. I’m sure you’ve seen all kinds of crazy things too, so please share your stories in the comments below! Here are the 10 things I just witnessed, in the order I saw them happen.

1. Older guy screaming and yelling
As I was taking my seat, an older guy in his late 70s yells something to his wife like he was out of his mind, then roughly pushes the passenger in the aisle so he could get to the bathroom. I thought for sure he was going to be a problem and I would either end up restraining him over the Atlantic or we’d be forced to do an emergency landing in Iceland. Fortunately, he was well-behaved after my evil eye.

2. The nose picker
Our seat mate was a young adult (maybe early 20s) but when we saw him pick his nose and then eat it, we decided not to engage him in conversation. It was pretty off-putting.

3. Putting bags on top of others
The lady sitting directly behind me boarded the plane really late and then had to scramble to find overhead compartment space for her bag. The flight attendant offered to put it in Business Class but she insisted she wanted it close to her (which is smart). Then she just threw it in a bin that already had bags in it. She didn’t try and move them to the side but rather threw her suitcase on top of the bags that were already in there, no doubt crushing whatever was in them. Hopefully, nothing valuable was harmed due to her carelessness but that’s unlikely.

4. Passenger FaceTime-ing without headphones
An English woman, probably in her late 30s, took her middle seat across the aisle from me and started FaceTime-ing her boyfriend back in England and she’s doing it WITHOUT earbuds, speaking at full volume. I felt like ripping the phone out of her hands and throwing it down the jetway. But one can only dream.

5. Passenger gets up just before pushback
The woman behind me decided to get up right after the flight attendant said they need everyone in their seats for pushback. She didn’t give a sh*t. She needed to find her book and it didn’t matter to her if it meant our plane losing its departure slot.

6. Opening overhead bin three minutes after takeoff
Three minutes after takeoff, that same clueless FaceTime-er got up to take something out of her carry-on bag, which was up in the overhead bin. One can only hope it was her earbuds or Emily Post’s book on etiquette.

7. Woman walking around business class carrying a large poodle like it’s a baby
After takeoff, the flight attendants put the curtain up between economy and business class, which is always a sad moment when you’re on THAT side of the curtain. At least it was see through so I could see them serve ice cream sundaes and good stuff like that. But the craziest was a woman who kept going into the bathroom with the oversized poodle she was holding like a baby. I love dogs but I ain’t taking one to the bathroom with me each time. I wonder if it was potty trained?

8. Drunk passenger
Towards the end of the flight, a passenger walked into the lavatory with one of those mini bottles of alcohol that they must have received from the flight attendant and then walked out looking for a place to toss it. Taking a nip behind the wife’s back? I have no idea. The worst part was that he eventually put it on the ground underneath the flight attendant’s jump seat instead of giving it to the flight attendant who was literally right next to him collecting garbage.

9. Not bringing a sweater
Even though it was 78F when we departed Los Angeles and it was forecasted to be 70F in London, when I saw my nose-picking seatmate walk on with just a tank top and no bag or sweater, I knew he was going to be bumming. I guess he didn’t realize that planes can sometimes be so cold that I end up wearing a winter hat in the summer time. I looked at him mid-flight and the guy had the blanket wrapped so tight I could see the outline of his tank top. I had to give him my blanket so he wouldn’t get frostbite. Planes get cold – especially by the window, even more so by the exit row.

10. Gabby flight attendant
The flight attendant across from me on takeoff and landing was super cool and she told me some crazy stuff (more later). But another flight attendant decided to stand in the aisle and talk to the woman behind me for 20 minutes in a super loud voice mid-flight while everyone was trying to sleep.

-Bonus: This isn’t something I saw by my new flight attendant friend told me that one of the craziest things she ever saw was a passenger wear diapers on a plane because they didn’t like using the germ-infested lavatory!

These weren’t by any means the craziest things I’ve ever seen on flight but they still were pretty crazy. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen on an international flight?

Johnny Jet

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About the Author

Johnny Jet

I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

26 Comments on "10 Crazy Things I Saw on My Last International Flight"

  1. On a flight from Paris to the US, I saw a Hasidic Jew completely undress (in the aisle) and re-dress in his prayer robes and then go near the mid-section door and start chanting his prayers.

  2. I have a tip on dealing with a loud facetimer/mobile phone talking:

    Eavesdrop on them. Loudly.

    People HATE IT when you eavesdrop and then talk about them. For example, Facetimer says to her boyfriend the TSA line was awful. Tell you wife (loudly) that yeah, you had such problems getting through too and talk about it. Then facetimer talks about meeting her mother-in-law where she’s going. Say to your wife you need to buy some presents for your mother too when you land, etc. Basically, hop into this woman’s conversation by talking to your wife about everything she says.

    If she says “excuse me!” you can say that a conversation isn’t private if it’s on speakerphone.

  3. Enjoy your news letter…..and weekly visits with Leo Laport…….keep it up

  4. My WORST in recent memory: seated in 7A, united exit row where the flight attendants sit directly across from you in jumps eats. Middle seat guy next to me gave foot massage to flight attendant in exchange for free booze. In my face. Then he got upset when he tried to score a mini bottle for me and the guy in the aisle seat (who was also disgusted) and we both said no. And yes, it was one of the few times when I did fill out the post flight United survey.

  5. On our KLM flight from London to Houston my wif and i were sat in a row of 3. The inside (window) seat was occupied by a respectable looking and sounding Scandinavian. We chatted for a but, as you do, and everything was going well. I noticed he had several of the free drinks with dinner. He even asked for ours as I don’t touch the stuff. Yes, i know…very unusual for a Scotsman, but i have never been able to enjoy spirits. He then became agitated and was trying to persuade the flight attendant to part with more alcohol. I know things were getting trick when rather than asking for us to move to let him out to the aisle, he clambered over the back of the seats. We were in the back row with a bit of space between us and the cargo hold of the 747. He dissipated for a while and came back with a few more mini bottles of wine he has stolen from the galley. By now he was drunk. he became angry, loud and argumentative. There was still 4 hours left of the flight… Fortunately he fell asleep and we managed the remaining hours without any incidents, but it was a scary time. Alcohol and altitude don’t mix

  6. Was on an Air Lingus flight from JFK to Dublin and noticed a woman struggling to stow her large and heavy duffle in the overhead compartment while her husband sat and read a book. A female flight attendant attempted to help her but couldn’t lift it. The FA asked the husband if he could give them a hand but he rudely retorted that it was her job to do it since shes the FA. The FA shot back that he should help anyway since his wife was struggling and he absolutely refused. The shouting match ensued. On that same flight, my husband and I were in the middle portion of the plane in the middle seats and both got up to use the bathroom at the same time so as not to disturb the woman in the aisle too much. When we got back, we had returned at separate times which made that lady rather angry. She let us know in a very rude and angry tone that the next time we needed to use the bathroom we should plan it out better. I gave her piece of my mind and she didn’t say a word to me after that. Worse flight ever!

  7. Two comments – on the plane and American not the passengers:

    I just looked at the seat map for the American 777-300. They are calling 9 across main cabin extra. Yes more pitch but 9 across is the standard on other airlines (even United which seem to the airline everyone loves to hate). And the have 10 across in the 23 rows of “normal” economy. I’m a bit disappointed the email and this article didn’t point this continuing overfilling of economy. Yupe passengers are weird but pushing humans into 17″ width for over 8 hours is going to cause lots of strange behavior.

    Okay I’ve flown in many exit rows. Maybe more leg room than domestic First – but I doubt you had 78″ leg room like first class on your international flight!

  8. OMG, I would not have wanted to be seated next to the passenger you heard about who wore diapers on a long-haul flight. :O

    (although I do agree that airplane lavatories are gross)

  9. I’m intrigued by the people who don’t bring ANYTHING to keep themselves occupied. No entertainment, books, magazines, or anything else to keep busy for 14 hours. That’s just cray.

  10. The craziest thing I ever experienced happened to me. Years ago, we were in Cancun and bought a pinata at a local store. We brought it on the plane as carry on. Little did we know that the pinata had been paper mache’d over a balloon, and someone forgot to deflate the balloon. As we were ascending in flight, the atmospheric pressure got less and less, and the balloon got bigger until finally the balloon made a loud “pop”, much to the dismay of all the passenger’s aboard the plan. After everyone pulled their hearts out of their throats, we had figured out what happened.

  11. With well over a million miles Internationally, I have seen many weird things.

    On a Thai Air flight when I got stuck in a middle seat next to an older man who refused to put his carry ons in the OH bin. I called the flight attendant who was unable to convince him. She got the co-pilot who also was unable to do anything. (The Thai’s hate confrontation and loudness). I announced that I was not going to sit next to someone blocking my egress. Rather than confront the situation they moved me up to business class. Great outcome.

    On a trans- Pacific Philippines airline flight, two young children were screaming at one another for fun. I asked the flight attendant to do something about it which stopped the screaming for about ten minutes, I again complained only to be told there was nothing that could be done. At that point I went to where the kids were and asked who’s the parents of these two. One woman admitted to her parentage so I told her if they didn’t stop that I was going to start yelling at her and others in the area including the kids, I have a very loud voice and raised it only slightly at this point. I then told the kids if they didn’t stop I would come over and scream in their ears. End of problem.

    I have many other stories including a Japan Air flight when my seat mate unfastened his seat belt on a bumpy descent and ended up in my lap.Fortunately he was a small man. Another United flight when the person in the window seat refused to give up her coffee when we hit bad turbulence and the flight attendant had to strap in herself. A minute later the coffee ended up all over me on the aisle and the guy next to me. The woman never even apologized but did get very upset when I called her an effing idiot. I’ve also endured dripping vomit, drooling and snoring seatmates, being locked in the toilet for 20 minutes over the Pacific when we hit unexpected turbulence and the flight attendant wouldn’t allow me to go back to my seat. The good news is I have all these wonderful stories to tell when I’m with friends.

    • Wow! Sounds like you might have to do one of our Travel Style Q&As! If you are interested email me johnny AT johnnyjet.com

  12. On a flight from Athens, Greece to New York, I had three crazy things happen on the same flight. First, I was seated on a middle section aisle seat and was seated next to a newlywed couple. Behind us was a family with 3 children, 2 toddlers and an infant. During the flight the children were continuously kicking the seat back and reaching over and pulling our hair. The parents were doing nothing to try and control this behavior. This was only causing an issue with our row. Then the mother decided to change the baby’s poop filled stinky diaper right there in the cabin. Now the whole cabin was upset as the smell was nearly unbearable. At this point I looked over at the newlywed couple and asked when they were planning on having children. The new bride looked me squarely in the eye and said, “Birth Control”.
    In the seat in front of me there was a gentleman who was obviously a smoker as he was holding a cigarette in his hand, flipping it in his fingers and running it up to his nose quite often, but he was obeying the “No Smoking” policy. About half-way through the flight it was obvious one of the flight attendants was smoking somewhere on the plane as there was a strong smell of cigarette smoke every time they walked past us. You could see how upset this was making the smoker seated in front of me, but he kept his cool.
    Finally, when the plane landed and were waiting to deplane, there was a couple in the rear of the plane who was being very rude and pushing people out of the way to get off of the plane. The gentleman across from me on the aisle noticed this as well and when the couple reached us we refused to move and stopped their rude behavior. We then told them, “In this country we exit the plane in an orderly fashion so everyone leaves the plane safely”. While they didn’t like being told this, they did stop pushing and exited the plane in a safe and orderly fashion like the rest of the passengers.
    I travel a lot for business and I have many examples of poor behavior, but this flight truly stands out as one of the worst experiences I have encountered.

  13. On a flight from Amsterdam to LAX we flew Economy Plus on KLM. Nice upgrade from Economy with a little extra room, but not first or business class. We were in a row with only 2 seats and had a slight isle against the galley (we were behind the galley). The couple in front of us decided to take over the entire area with all their overhead packages brought down and thrown around (we asked the attendant to have them put their stuff in overhead). The lady ended up laying down on the floor in front of their seats and kept her seat back all the way back making our area smaller when she was not even reclining in her seat. The attendant asked the lady to get up from the floor three times throughout the flight.

  14. Getting her dressed, brushing her hair, and things of that nature, brings us closer together as a couple. The woman who eats her husband’s ashes.

  15. I was on a Bangkok airways flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Camboadia, on final descent an elderly lady decides to use the restroom (seatbelt sign in already on). FAs were a little flakey and I guess they didn’t notice until it was way too late. Lady took forever and finally, as FAs were about to sit they noticed. Wheels are now down. Ended up telling the lady it was too late to come out, plane landed with the woman with the lavatory. I doubt this would have been allowed to happen in the US.

  16. Got off a SWA only yesterday. 20 something gets on totally full flight pretty much last, with a guitar. Makes a stink about no overhead space left. Starts taking other people’s bags out of overhead bins and setting them in the aisle, puts guitar up, leaving 3 bags in aisle and sits down. That’s it? FA sees what he’s doing and deals with it but still…

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