As I recover and scroll through my photos, it got me thinking about some of the strangest events that have happened whilst flying. Some embarrassing, stressful and down right weird. I am sure most travellers have an interesting story to tell. So here are some of mine that date from a youngster to more recent events… hope they make you laugh a little.
Dad took us, his three daughters on our first trip to France to meet our gorgeous French family. On the flight to France, he washed my sisters clothes and proceeded to hang them on the back of the seat – I was mortified, as another boy that I knew, was on the same flight.
On the return journey from France – whilst changing flights and airports in Mumbai – Dad grabbed our luggage transferred us to the domestic airport and as we were checking in for our next flight, a distressed gentleman approached us to say we had his suitcase – upon closer inspection he was right. This however meant that we were missing our suitcase which was now back at the international terminal – So dad looks around finds a seemingly nice French lady in the terminal and proceeds to leave us kids with a complete stranger as he heads off to retrieve our suitcase… hmm not very responsible parenting dad.
Los Angeles to London as a 16-year-old:
I was leaving the US after spending a year as an exchange student and making my way to Europe to my French family. I was on standby to fly on the now defunct PanAm Airways. A friend had dropped me at the Airport and I gave her my last $20 US to help pay for taking me to the Airport. From memory I was left with about $8 US in loose change. As I settled into my long haul flight, I was handed a headset, only to be told that I had to pay for it! So I gave my last remaining change for it. Then realised that I had the worst seat and could not actually see the screen – Thankfully the flight attendant took pity on me and returned my loose change on landing.
India to Melbourne as an 18-year-old:
As an 18-year-old I decided that being part Australian I had to come and discover my heritage. So I packed my bags and flew to a country a I knew very little about. I flew Singapore Airlines and was very impressed by the food and service. However during the leg from Singapore to Melbourne we made a stop in Adelaide (apparently due to a pilot strike and it was not on my itinerary) So as we landed into Adelaide, I was about to disembark like so many other passengers, but something did not seem right, so with great embarrassment asked the passenger seated next to me if Melbourne had two Airports. She had a good chuckle and proceeded to explain that Adelaide was in fact a city a fair distance away from Melbourne. Red Faced, I sat back down into my seat very quickly…. hmm not sure how my mum would have collected me from ‘Adelaide Airport’…
Europe to Australia…
On a flight from Europe to Australia, I think I was on an Alitalia code-share flight, when about 20 minutes prior to landing this lovely elderly lady, collected her bags and stood at the exit door ready to disembark… trouble is we had not landed yet. Reminds of landings in India where all passengers clap and cheer.
Melbourne to Buenos Aires – with Mr. Techno
Aerolineas had released the most amazing travel agent deal that would take in Argentina, Iguazu Falls, Rio, Lima, Bolivia – how could we pass this opportunity. (This was way back when airlines offered perks to agents). All set requested our NON smoking seats and we were ready to set off on our big adventure. Melbourne – Auckland leg, no issues smooth flight. Auckland – Buenos Aires, the minute we were airborne the packs of cigarettes came out. Well, we were seated in the last row of Non – smoking so the guys behind us were lighting up like there was no tomorrow. We kicked a stink with the flight attendants to be moved…they just ignored us. The passenger seated next to us then says ‘ are you bothered by the smoke? ‘ ‘Hell yeah was our reply’ – so he lights up his cigarette. After a tantrum by moi, we were offered new seats much to the annoyance of the poor New Zealander who lost the two spare seats next to him.
No offense to smokers, but glad most flights are non smoking nowadays.
Melbourne to Rome with 5 & 8-year-old
This was probably the most challenging of my flights ever… by myself and my two gorgeous boys. I was mentally trying to prepare myself on how to handle luggage and two kids by myself on a very long journey. I am fortunate to have kids that are generally well-behaved. I travelled with as little carry on luggage as possible. The kids stayed awake most of the flight Melbourne – Kuala Lumpur entertained by movies on demand and their Nintendo DS games. Ok I could do this, well maybe not… as we descend into Kuala Lumpur my eldest is sick – but bless him, he was sick in the most discreet elegant way possible. The layover in KL as a battle as we rushed from one toilet to the next. I had not packed spare clothes. As we board flight number two for Rome, I pray that the flight is not too packed and no one is to be seated next to us. No such luck, the most immaculately dressed Italian gentleman sits next to us – as he realises where he is to be seated his face tells a million words ie not happy. I said my little prayer and my gorgeous boy held himself together for the rest of the flight and slept.
A lady that was seated two rows behind us, happened to check in at the same hotel as us in Rome and praised my children for how well they behaved on the flight – A very proud moment to get such a compliment (who says children shouldn’t fly)
Moral of the story however; please pack at least one set of spare clothes for kids and yourself.
Melbourne – Nairobi via Dubai
This is my strangest experience ever on a flight, and I still get a laugh out of it. A work colleague and I were headed to test run one of our work trips in Kenya. We were booked on Emirates, which I was really looking forward to as I had never flown with them. I had asked my manager to contact the Emirates rep to ask for an upgrade to business class. ( We always ask, yet I’ve never been upgraded) The rep advised that there was a good chance, so as an agent you are asked to dress appropriately for a potential upgrade. All set to go, as I check in, make my enquiry about the upgrade and the check in staff virtually laughs at me. So resign myself to the economy class flight, as we are about to land into Dubai after a 14 hour journey, the flight attendant asks me to re-confirm my name, and all I can think is yes please I will get an upgrade on the next leg. The flight attendant then returns a few minutes later with a box – inside is a beautiful full-sized chocolate mud cake with ‘Bon Voyage ‘ written on it. I shared it with a few fellow travellers and walked around Dubai Airport holding my cake.