Frequent Flyers Recount Their “Flights from Hell”

Have You Had a "Flight from Hell"?With most international travel off the cards for the foreseeable future, many frequent flyers are reminiscing about past trips and longing to get back into the air.

At this time, it’s easy to think about long-haul travel through rose-coloured glasses. But as any frequent traveller will know, long-haul travel is not always as fun as it sounds.

Most of us have experienced that ostensible “flight from hell” that was truly awful. Sometimes it’s due to unruly fellow-passengers. It could be a flight that was significantly delayed, diverted or flew through extreme turbulence. Or perhaps you were unwell on board.

Following on from a long-running thread where Australian frequent flyers discussed their favourite Boeing 747 memories, another thread has emerged where members have recounted their personal “flights from hell”. Drunk passengers and decrepit aircraft are common themes, but some of the stories to emerge in this thread are truly shocking.

ayebee had a curly experience flying Qantas from Los Angeles to Melbourne via Auckland…

After dinner I went to recline my seat to be informed by the fellow behind that if I reclined my seat he would “kill me”.
Not long after I noted the FSD circulating and had a quiet word with him about the situation.
Good for me that said passenger behind me was invited to a “better seat”, somewhere forward, so rest of the flight went OK.
However, when I saw the FSD next morning in Auckland he looked a bit harried and let me know the passenger had later assaulted another passenger, broken someones glasses and had been taken off the flight in handcuffs.
Seems I had dodged a bullet.

LadyC‘s “flight from hell” was actually a party flight. One of the Mexicana crew members on this flight from Los Angeles to Mexico City was retiring, and they decided to put on a mid-air celebration. While some may have enjoyed this, having cabin crew playing trumpets and singing in the aisles is the last thing LadyC wanted after connecting from a long-haul Economy class flight from Australia:

After a haul in Y from MEL-SYD-LAX followed by a 2 hour processing through immigration, a few more hours waiting at LAX, then I caught a flight to MEX with Mexicana. One of the FAs was retiring after 20 years service and this was her final flight. So the crew decided it was a party flight and after take off, they started playing trumpets and singing and walking up and down the aisle, regularly offering everyone tequila shots and drinking themselves. It was loud and it annoying. This went on for the whole flight, was not fun and felt quite unsafe. I was very pleased to get off that plane.

OATEK‘s nomination was a flight that he actually slept through. But his wife did not…

We set course for Europe a few years ago, and the aircraft was hit be severe turbulence. The plane was rocking and the passengers were suffering, some from knocks when caught in the open or in the toilets. One woman was violently ill, and several passengers were taking to other seats where they could lie down. The turbulence persisted for several hours, and we only came out of the rough air when it was time to begin the descent.

It was at this point that I woke from my slumber to be berated by the passenger next to me for sleeping through the whole experience. I said a meek sorry and then mused about breakfast only to cop another ear full. In the end I had to say sorry dear, it won’t happen again.

Have you had an experience that could be described as the “flight from hell”? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Flights from Hell


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]