While flying can be an overall enjoyable experience, the presence of certain factors and individuals can transform it into a distressing ordeal. A user asked the forum, “What’s the most horrifying thing you’ve experienced on a flight?”. Here are the top responses.


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“On Halloween night in 1994, I was on a United flight from Vancouver to Chicago. Back then, “Channel 9″ on the in-flight entertainment system let you listen to air traffic control.

That night, as we approached Chicago, I was listening to Channel 9 when suddenly ATC told all the other planes to quiet down. Then they started calling over and over for another flight – American 4184 – and asking the other planes if anyone else could see an ATR.

This went on for a few minutes, and then CLICK channel nine was switched off. I felt a chill go down my spine. When I got to my hotel, I switched on CNN.

Flight 4184 had gone down in a field in Indiana, and everyone was dead.”


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“Flying in a small 8-seater from the mainland to an island, when a kitten got loose, over the pilot’s shoulder and generally being frantic. Type of scene that disaster movies start with!”


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“As soon as the engines revved up for take-off, a woman started screaming like she was dying. The flight attendants couldn’t get up to go to her until the pilot rang the bell which was about 5-10 minutes later. She was screaming the entire time. Turns out her daughter put her on the flight even though she was terrified of flying.

An attendant held her hand the entire flight, walked her all the way to meet the other daughter, and told her never to put mom on an airplane ever again.”


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“On a red-eye flight, a passenger sitting across from me had a night terror. They woke up screaming, and thrashing, and didn’t recognize where they were. It was unsettling for everyone on board.”


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“This was in 2015 (luckily not during Covid as I probably would have been kicked off the flight). But suddenly, I felt a tickle in my throat, so I started coughing. But I COULD NOT STOP COUGHING.

No matter what I did, I could not get that tickle out. The people around me were understanding, but I decided to go to the back of the plane just to be courteous.

The flight attendants gave me ice, and that was the only thing that would give me any sort of relief.

We finally landed. That night I went to bed and woke up at 5 am with a swollen shut eye, huge lips, hives ALL over my body, and a tightness in my chest.

Turns out I was having a severe allergic reaction to something I ate(?) at the airport or something on the plane. My throat was literally CLOSING on the plane. That’s why the ice was helping because it was bringing down the swelling.

But here’s the weird thing. I’ve never been allergic to anything in my life before OR since that incident. So it’s a huge mystery. The hives also showed up in different places on my body each morning for two weeks afterward.

Edit- I’m going to add while everyone’s here, in July, I got bed bug bites on an airplane. They didn’t travel with me to my house (thank god), but I’m still scared of them on my skin since I had a bad reaction to them.

Honolulu airport also had recently shut down a terminal for bed bugs.”


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“On a flight to Hawaii several years ago. The man beside me started experiencing a heart attack. It’s the luckiest SOB I have ever met, though. The plane was full of doctors on their way to a medical convention.”


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“Took off after a 7-hour delay. The plane climbed for a little bit and went into a pretty tight bank turn. Captain comes on and says there’s smoke in the cabin, and we were going in for an emergency landing.

As we are coming in, there are the fire trucks and emergency vehicles waiting for us. Long story short it was a wiring harness for the coffee maker. Swapped it out without even having to deplane. Got free drinks for the rest of the flight.”


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“Spent a 5-hour flight from Sydney to Perth witnessing a man rapidly descend into a drug-induced psychosis due to the pellets of drugs inside him absorbing into his system from within.

The flight started out as normal, and as the man became more and more agitated, his speech became aggressive and incomprehensible to the woman beside him, with sweat starting to pour out of his body.

He then got up and started pacing up and down the aisle whilst going to the bathroom every few minutes to, I assume, attempt to reorganize what was inside of him.

This all came to a head when he was slamming the bathroom door open and closed, throwing his shoes out at passengers, and screaming at the flight attendants, “it’s just because I need food.”

Somehow, the poor flight attendants were able to distract him until we landed, at which point he pulled out a small silver spoon from his back pocket, kissed it, looking up in the air in a “we’ve done it!” way only to be met with approximately ten police officers and security waiting outside the plane who handcuffed and escorted him away.”


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“A woman died in the seat next to me on a flight from Australia to the US. She appeared to just be asleep but couldn’t be roused by her traveling companions. Eventually, the flight attendants laid her on the floor, and a doctor examined her.

After a few minutes, they carried her to the back of the plane. I later asked a flight attendant when we landed, and she told me the woman had died.”


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“I had a woman next to me on a 15-hour flight with two kids under 5. She sat next to me with the kids on the aisle, and the first thing she did was apologize for what was to come. It was terrible; stuff constantly knocked onto the floor, a drink spilled on my leg, but that was just the woman herself. She soon swapped seats, and the kids just did normal kid stuff.

They were not so bad at all, aside from the occasional accidental bump when they squirmed, while she continued to drop stuff on the floor: food, drink, phone, basically anything on her tray table was going to be on the floor sooner or later.”


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“During landing.

It was very close to land when the plane went high up in the air again. We figured there was a plane needing to depart or something. After noticing the plane was going in circles at a high altitude, we realized something was going on.

FA informed us that, as per pilot instruction, they would try to land again; however, we might feel some turbulence as one of the wings was not working properly. That thing that opens and helps reduce the plane’s speed when landing was broken.

It was nerve-wracking, and we didn’t know if we were going to finish landing; the plane was shaking like crazy at an intense speed. Thankfully, the pilot managed to maneuver the plane. Everybody was clapping.”


Image Credits: Roman Samborskyi, Shutterstock

“There were five different kids, none of which would have been over two years old, sitting in my near vicinity. When one stopped crying, another would start.”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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