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Flights from Hell

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This thread is really fun reading - all frequent fliers have had their share of hellish flights - screaming kids, unfriendly airline staff, missed connections, long delays, flu-like lurgies on board, seemingly not-airworthy planes, "near" misses, etc etc .... we can all relate .... I have been unable to think of one which trumps those already mentioned. So let's start a thread on "flights from heaven" - just need to think of one or more ...

But while I'm here - here is my list on the hell list:-
  • Food poisoning on an Air France flight from Martinque to New York circa 1971
  • Another case of food poisoning on KLM from Toronto to Amsterdam circa 1985
  • A near miss on approach to HNL in the 1990's
  • Sitting in Y on LH from Asia to FRA when an Aussie in shorts, wife-beater T-shirt and thongs sat beside me and produced a liter bottle of Bundy from his carry on and proceeded to consume the lot ..... FA just brought him coke on demand ..... eventually he fell asleep. This was in the late 80's ....
  • ..... and the list goes on
 

Seat0B

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Ah, vomit in aircraft. Having instructed at Pt Cook, I’m sure Straitman can relate to that.

Doing a manoeuvre that takes the aircraft into the vertical until you run out of airspeed, and experience zero g (hammerhead, or stall turn). Bloggs cuts loose with breakfast in the middle. Some very inventive control inputs follow, as you attempt to ensure the glob of doom stays over his side, and preferably returns to its owner.
Also need to be sure to go cold mic before hitting the old carrot sac!!
 

Happy Dude

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I was once upgraded to F on MH from KUL to BNE. The guy in the seat beside me knocked his pre-take-off champers on to me and I spent the whole flight damp and stinking like a brewery. I soldiered on and managed to scoff enough caviar to get some rear end fireworks and a hell of gut ache. Looking and smelling quite the vagabond, I got a little extra attention from customs as a result.

But a worse flight was had just after 9-11 from LHR to BKK on TG. I had a king-size barney with check-in regarding the La Pavoni Europiccola lever coffee machine I had as hand luggage. Such an item, with all its pointy metal bits and the heightened anxiety around security, was considered dangerous but they relented and allowed it on. But check-in chick had the last laugh by sitting me next to a big fat b'stard who had not bathed in some time. BFB proceeded to drink at least 15 beers while staring at me and cascading over 'my side' of the arm rest the whole flight. It was really off-putting and I can still recall the smell (a kind of melted plastic and cheese mixture). The kicker was that because the airspace over Afghanistan was off limits the flight was several hours longer.
 

poopiepoo

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Feb 24, 2020
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1, SQ AKL - SIN 777 Y
Everything seemed normal after we boarded, PAX happily chatting away, stowing bags in the overhead compartment.

I was already seated on the bulkhead (aisle / exit row) when a severely horizontally challenged woman approached the cabin. The cabin suddenly fell silent. The silence was deafening. Everyone was praying their seat was not next to hers.

My heart sank when she proceeded to take the middle seat next to me. The chatter then continued, most of it, of relief except mine. Believe it or not, she could not fit into her seat at the first attempt. Finally she managed to shoehorn herself into the seat, flexing the armrest into my space, her width had already encroached whatever little width left on either side of her.

I think it violated some safety code necessitating a fit a able bodied person on the exit rows, not to mention the balance of the aircraft sitting on the side vs the center. I don't know how she got past check-in and even the gate dragons.

Meals were served, I started and as was halfway through my salad entree at the corner of my tray, within two blinks of an eye, she had wolfed down her entire meal. I offered her my individually wrapped single serving of cheese.

To top it off a clumsy and comparatively less overweight mum on the middle section, spilled juice all over me at the start of the flight. I remember it being a very uncomfortable sticky flight.

2. BA EZE - London 777 Y
I board to find a single very attractive friendly slim young woman sitting next to me. This luck was not to last, as a man from the Nigerian consulate, wreaking of something stale and rotting, claimed his rightful seat next to me.

A slight consolation was that the IFE in his assigned seat did not work and he moved 1 seat away. I could still smell him.

It was my smelliest flight.

The flight out of EZE also served a nice beef fillet (something even rare on many NZ and QF flights in J today!).

I am almost certain, that attractive lady was my future wife to be, but fate stepped in and dealt a cruel blow.
 

PineappleSkip

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It was my smelliest flight.
I can't think of anything particularly awful among many awful inflight moments, so have no remarkable stories. But by this yardstick, every flight I ever did on PX would have been from hell.🤭 Although J was usually less hellish than Y

Cheers skip
 

Dale Eastham

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Ah, vomit in aircraft. Having instructed at Pt Cook, I’m sure Straitman can relate to that.

Doing a manoeuvre that takes the aircraft into the vertical until you run out of airspeed, and experience zero g (hammerhead, or stall turn). Bloggs cuts loose with breakfast in the middle. Some very inventive control inputs follow, as you attempt to ensure the glob of doom stays over his side, and preferably returns to its owner.
I willingly (but unwittingly) committed myself to such a flight once; having once been fortunate enough to secure myself the spare seat in an RNZAF CT4, I made the mistake of telling the pilot "I'd done a bit of flying myself" (rookie mistake if ever there was one). What ensued was a series of what he assured me was routine maneuvers for military trainee pilots, but instead to me felt like a particularly violent attempt to emulate the Red Bull Air Racers.
Managing to keep myself composed I was grimly determined to not let any growing discomfort show. However, the hammerhead was the (grinning) pilots' piece de resistance & finally had the desired effect on me - luckily into a sick bag. The one & only time I've actually been sick in a plane to this day.

He was kind enough to offer to hide the sick bag for me on our landing so my wife didn't see it & laugh - it took her about 2 seconds to figure out why I looked as white as the clouds however!
 

jb747

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However, the hammerhead was the (grinning) pilots' piece de resistance & finally had the desired effect on me - luckily into a sick bag. The one & only time I've actually been sick in a plane to this day.
Zero g, followed by the flick in whichever direction the pilot had chosen, was somewhat harsh on stomachs.

There was another variation... If, as you neared the point of running out of airspeed, you put the control column all way forward, and to one side, and simultaneously fed in full rudder in the opposite direction, the aircraft would 'tuck under' and start to rotate. It's an entry to an inverted spin. It was actually a banned manoeuvre in the RAAF, but there was a provision for low level display pilots to be proficient in it. Which let idiots like me do it. Loved it, but I recall that neither the CO, nor the CFI were so keen when they came along as passengers.
 

Julesmac

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Catching a flight back from LHR-MEL I was in the exit row in Y. A small dark foreign woman (I'm going to say eg Romanian) sat next to me. In a singlet top so the black hairy armpits were visible. OK she looked like she had a couple of tarantulas shoved in there. And she stank. Not just smelly she absolutely reeked. I thought I'd be throwing up before takeoff and the thought of hours stuck next to her was awful.. I managed to catch an FA's eye and quietly explained the problem. She could't quite hear me and leant over, her eyes watering as she copped the full effect. She asked me to sit tight and she'd fix it. Once the seatbelt signs turned off she beckoned me over, so I was happy at the thought they'd reseat me somewhere down the back. But no, she whisked me into J where I was very comfortably looked after ALL the way home. Maybe sometimes it's how you ask. It did take a few glasses of bubbles to drown the lingering smell in my nose though
 

jb747

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I'd forgotten about those planes. They were very tired at the end and I don't think the crew enjoyed them.
From the cockpit perspective, they weren't too bad, but the cabin crew never liked them. They simply weren't set up for the job they were doing.

When they first arrived, the pilots were going through one of their periodic cycles of unpleasantness with management. If I recall correctly, someone thought it would be a good idea if we came in and did the required training on an unpaid basis. Something like that anyway. Needless to say, the vast majority were not particularly interested in that deal.

So, as the first in service date gets closer, the messages from on high became more strident. Eventually, it was pointed out to us that if we didn't do the training, then we couldn't fly the jets. This message was repeated, in a somewhat higher tone of voice every couple of days. The penny then dropped. If the pilots didn't do the training, the jets weren't going to fly. More strident messages. First flight is due on Monday. On Friday afternoon, somebody works out that a couple of hundred pilots aren't going to come in over the weekend. So, on Saturday and Sunday, the necessary facts had been reduced to ONE PAGE, and that sheet was couriered to everyone.

As it turned out, the engine installation was identical to the 747. The differences in the cockpit were trivial, and could be worked out just by having a look for a minute or two. The biggest difference was something that was not covered in any of the paperwork. The aircraft flew, just like the GE 300s that we'd been flying for years. But the flare...now that was different. Over the first couple of days, I expect the passengers were treated to a number of solid arrivals, as we all worked out the required method, which was the opposite of the GE 300s. In those, you could close the power levers rapidly, as soon as you started to flare. But, if you did that in the RRs, you'd arrive, no matter how nicely judged the flare was. Basically the RR's thrust would wind down appreciably more rapidly than the GE, and the GE also had more residual (idle thrust). So, the new technique was to flare, then slowly wriggle the power levers back to idle. That gave us three totally different landing techniques. One for the 200s, and then one for each of the different engines on the 300.
 

Milboo

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Hairiest experience was in a 5 seater coming off my parent’s island. Had to use the top strip (east - west) due to the wind. Flew over the cliffs and caught a massive updraft and the plane goes nose up. There were tears. Pilot later told my father that it was a close one and worst take off he’d ever experienced.

Then there was the time we landed in the 3 seater on the grass strip. Heavy rain overnight apparently. Landed and bogged and plane nearly flipped forward. My mother, me and the pilot had to remove all the weight from the plane and then push it out!

Worst commercial flight was JFK-LAX on Delta. Was sick (3 days and $800 at a US doctor later I had sinus infection, ear infection, strep throat). Was bumped out of my exit row seat for a status pax. Moved to last remaining seat. It was out of service as wouldn’t stay upright. IFE did not work most of the flight. Saving grace was the flight attendant who took pity on me and fed me from J and plied me with hot lemon and whisky free. When I disembarked, she’d waited for me to give me a hug and help me to my connecting gate. But never felt more awful in a flight, with bad ear pain.
 
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