Crazy Passenger Stories

September 24th, 2009


I’ve noticed several of my Twitter friends who fly for a living discuss their favorite crazy passenger story so I thought it was fitting that I include my own.

I was on an overseas detachment in the Mediterranean and we were almost ready to rotate out as our replacements were coming on station within a couple days. The flight schedule which had been extremely busy had settled down and we had a small mission to go up to Rota, Spain to pick up some cargo. Our first leg out had nothing scheduled on it and we picked up some Space A (available) passengers to take to Rota with us. Space available flights are a good deal for active duty (on leave) retired military and their families to fly in military cargo aircraft for free where ever the flight is going to as long as there is available space for them.

Our flight was a red-eye flight and we would be flying overnight. The terminal provided us with 4 space available passengers and one pallet of space available cargo. The passengers were a were a guy who was on leave and a family of 3. The father was in the military and the mother and their 6 year old daughter. From the moment I saw the mother, I could tell she was a nervous flier. She seemed very uneasy about the idea of flying and inquired a couple times if the aircraft was safe. I assured her that we were flying in was the newest in the fleet and was quite safe. She inquired about if it was safe to fly with the weather being so bad. The weather was a small rain shower with absolutely no convective issues associated with it at all. I assured her again that we were quite safe and would be on top of the rain and anything else very quickly and we would do our best to make sure we found some smooth air. Something told me that she was going to be having issues later but I needed to finish my preflight.

Take off was normal and we began to quickly climb and penetrated through the first layer of clouds. As is quite normal we bumped a little until we got through them. Almost as soon as we had gone through them the flight attendant in the rear called up front and said that they were having an issue with one of the passengers who was ‘totally losing it’. I told the crew that I’d be back there to help out and upon getting back through the cargo area and almost into the passenger compartment I could hear the shrieking. When I opened the door I saw the woman clutching her daughter to her breast with almost a death grip as she was emphatically yelling “AHHH, WE CRASH! WE DIE!” I walked up to her and asked if she was ok and she kept yelling as if the wings were going to fall off. Just then we penetrated through a thin layer of clouds as we continued to climb and the sight of the wing tip strobe lights made her go delirious. As she was already worked up to a frenzy the strobe lights made her think of lightning in the clouds and then she started to get sick. Thankfully one of the flight attendants gave her an air sickness bag and she filled it up immediately and tried to hand it back. The other flight attendant came up with a big trash bag and gave it to the woman who began to vomit into it multiple times.

The whole time this evolution is going on the woman’s husband (who was sitting across the isle from her) was doing absolutely nothing and practically ignoring her except for the occasional comment “Honey you need to just calm down.”

We obviously landed in Rota in the morning without any issues and as we were getting ready to start our descent, I saw the lady leaving the aft lavatory with her makeup running down her face and looking completely wrecked yet she still was dutifully toting around her large trash bag.

The one I felt the most sorry for was their kid. I kept thinking that poor little girl will be lucky if she doesn’t grow up and inherit her mother’s phobia of flying.

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