SWAG Saturday: $58 Amazon Gift Code for what is the scariest thing that has happened to you in the air?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

swag saturdays delta points blog

I hope you had a chance to check out the video in the morning post. As an aviation geek I really enjoyed it and I have a bunch more airports I need to visit now and have maybe found a use for all those extra points I have and am trying to points swag saturday amazon gift code

First the SWAG Saturday rules are HERE if you wish to look them over. Next we move on to today’s question for a shot at the $58 Amazon code above (thanks for using DeltaPoints Amazon link so I can give back).

I have had a few unique things happen to me in the air. One was on a KLM hop up from AMS to GOT. The next was a CRJ landing in CVG where I was gripping the hand rests due to snow, ice & what seemed like a full throttle landing (I asked and the pilot was an ex-Navy pilot)!

So for today, you have to tell us what your scariest thing that has ever happened to you either in an airport, on the way, in the air or part of the trip. Just scare us. If you have NEVER had anything ever scary, just say so (and you need to get out more 🙂 ) Have fun – René



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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Years ago, in the Northwest days, hit a bird leaving MSP. Took a pretty good chunk out of the wing and we had to circle, land, and change planes. That was interesting.

  2. Randy White Reply

    Was flying on a 737 in Venezuela on a Venezuelan airline and an engine blew up and feel off the plane. Polite apologized that he couldn’t continue to our Miami destination as he wasn’t allowed to fly over water with only one engine.

  3. Not really that scary but on a flight into Seattle once they tried to give us a meal about 4 or 5 times but there was a lot of turbulence and the food was going everywhere. We finally got the meal just before landing.

  4. DL Turboprop BHM-MCO in 1998. Terrible windsheer and turbulence into MCO. Enough so that my friend was turning green. Flown into EGE a couple of times. It doesn’t seem too bad.

  5. On a recent India-DXB Emirates flight, our aircraft had severe turbulence on the way to Dubai where the flight atleast went down a couple of thousand feet at one point before recovering. And to top it off when we were wheels down on the runway in Dubai, the pilot had to abort the landing and turn around. The pilot told us 10 minutes later that there was an A380 on the runway when we were trying to land!

  6. There was a power outage at the Madison, Wi airport right before flying home. Pitch black and people were freaking out

  7. On a summer flight from IAH or DFW to ACT (Waco, TX) before it was famous for David Koresh. The plane seemed to bounce around every which way during a summer storm. Secondly, on a flight from ORD to SFO there was a tail strike on take-off. Super scary sound and the plane turned around immediately for an emergency landing.

  8. Landing in Huntington WV back in the 70’s. Huntington is where the Marshall U. football team crashed. The 707 I was on almost ran off the end of the runway due to strong cross winds.

  9. I was on a flight from London to Brussels when the flight attendant started asking if there was a doctor on board. The woman behind me had overdosed on her Xanax and I turned around to see her eyes roll to the back of her head. She eventually was revived, but I’ll never forget her eyes.

  10. US Airways flight from MAD to PHL about 13 years ago. Hit with major wind shear within about 1,000 feet of the ground on landing. Plane felt as if it rolled at least 75 degrees. Pilot did a great job though and touched down smoothly without a go around!

  11. Flew from Kenya to CDG on kenya airways and the plane was accelerating to take off and just about to lift off when the flight attendant tells everyone that we are “rejecting the take off”. We circle back around and the pilot takes another go at it.The second attempt was scary. I thought we were going to die. What makes it scary is its Kenya Airways in Kenya.

  12. Bob Flanagan Reply

    11:30pm flight from MSP to LAS on Delta. First it was an hour late boarding. We push back from the gate and I hear the port engine start to spool up and BANG, flames shot from the engine and then just smoke!! No evac. Captain comes on and says ” As you notice we have a small engine problem and we have to be towed back to the gate” They had a replacement plane after another hour and away we went.

  13. Scariest was probably a plane struck by lightning. Damage was minimal though so wasn’t too bad of a flight.

  14. Landing at night in a turboprop on a snow-covered runway in Binghamton, NY in January. I usually like window seats, but the view that night was not comforting.

  15. I haven’t had anything scary happen on a plane or in an airport, thankfully.

    I did have a horrific experience traveling via boat in Belize, though. Long story short, I don’t recommend boating along the coast of Belize at night, without a light on your boat, in a cheap fiberglass boat, in rough seas if you can avoid it.

  16. Mine would be landing in Cusco, Peru. You come in fast through the mountains and have to make a quick descent to hit the runway.

  17. After finally being able to get a flight home to NY from FL after a massive blizzard socked in the entire northeast corridor for several days, our connecting flight from Tampa to Miami had to abort several landing attempts after finally touching down. I never wanted to just go home more in my entire life.

  18. I was in the Atlanta airport on election night 2000! That was pretty scary.

  19. When I was younger I took a flight in Thailand and was so drunk I don’t remember one minute of it. Kind of scary.

  20. The scariest thing has been sitting next to someone that was quite literally seconds from spazzing out.

    It was the return leg of a B6 trip to NYC and my seatmate put her head inside her shirt and was trembling, completely freaking out and acting like Shatner in that Twilight Zone episode.

    Lucky for me (and her?) we landed without incident shortly after that whole business started.

    The scary part (to me at least) was that there are a lot of things that you can’t control while you’re in the air… whether it’s turbulence or bird strike, but when you see “that passenger” that looks like they might freak out and make a scene, and they’re sitting next to you, all kinds of things go through your head. 🙂

  21. Sharon Jones Reply

    The scariest thing that happened to me on a flight from Newark to Milan was a hysterical screaming child with a Mother who didn’t seem to notice. And, of course, the flight was fully booked with no place to move.

  22. Landing at the old HK airport…scary but not as scary as the YouTube videos!

  23. I remember landing Mumbai in the middle of the night. I was very dazed after the long flight. The immigration guy looked at my passport and started calling on his radio in a panic. Finally someone came over, looked at me, made me turn my head one way and the other while comparing my face with a printout in his hand. Finally smiled and said I was free to go. Apparently I resembled someone on the wanted list! Scary!! I was actually scared that entire trip every time I walked bye a cop…

  24. Continental Express landing in winter during a snowstorm at Cleveland. After two go-arounds we made it in on the third try.

  25. I remember a flight from MSP to SFO on Northwest back in the day around Christmas time. Very bad turbulence the whole way. FAs never got a chance to serve drinks at any point in the 4 hour flight.

  26. I can’t say I’ve been genuinely afraid on a commercial flight. Nervous about a stupid landing maybe, but I always feel the odds are with me. I did have an instructor loop a Cessna a couple of times and do his best to get me sick. That worked, and getting sick worries me more than crashing.

  27. We were over the end of the runway in ATL and about to land, when the pilot had to abandon the landing and ascend. The engines made a groaning sound, which was very scary, and we went back up. The pilot announced that wind shear caused the pull up.

  28. Coming in for a landing in rural Congo and seeing a bunch of goats run across the landing strip just as we’re about to touch down!

  29. For me it was taking off out of Atlanta right after one of the summer thunderstorms. We got caught out at #3 for takeoff when it hit, and then took off shortly after it left the area. As we were climbing up, we hit some severe turbulance and it felt like we instantly dropped 25-50 feet.

  30. Would have been the regular turbulence on flights between Wichita Falls, TX and DFW in the summer.

  31. Scariest flying experience is flying ftom Puerto Rico to aua on a turbo prop
    Never again!!!!

  32. I do need to get out more… nothing really scary has happened to me…

  33. I would have to say a very turbulent flight right through the middle of a storm on a small regional jet when I was a kid.

  34. I was flying CDG>KBP on a Russian carrier about 10 years ago. The comm between the flight deck and the flight attendant station right behind me was left on so I cold hear some of the crew’s conversation from the flight deck. On the approach, there was a significant cross wind and the pilot would over correct and then over correct the other way so the air craft was rolling pretty heavily from side to side. And I could hear him saying in Russian, “Here we go…no to fare… ok good… No! too far! Bringing it back!”

    I thought maybe the stress was causing him to speak to himself but now I realize he may have been giving instructions to the copilot. Either way, one of the hardest and scariest landings I have ever experienced.

  35. Scary and hilarious…
    A few years back landing into Quito, Ecuador on an old school 757 we hit some serious turbulence. The oxygen mask fell but only for those on row 9. I was seated in row 10 adjacent. Saw them freaking out, and when I realized it was just their row due to the bump it was cause for some serious laughs.
    Needless to say the airbags did not inflate!

  36. The only thing was bad turbulence. I was probably a few minutes away from needing a puke bag.

  37. CRJ flight out of ATL began leaking oil and losing pressure; had to immediately return to airport….

  38. I had some pretty bad turbulence from ATL to MCO last Thursday….
    it was kinda scary

  39. Losing an engine over the open ocean and then doing an emergency landing.

  40. Severe turbulence and a very hard landing when flying from Rio to Iguazu.

  41. Back in the early 80’s as a kid we flew into Tampa on Republic Airlines. Pilot missed the runaway and immediately pulled up. All the lights flickered as he revved the engines and the sudden jerking up of the plane was not good for motion sickness.

  42. One Thanksgiving I was trying to get out of Minneapolis during a snow storm. First had to drive to the airport and almost skidded off the road twice, then had to deal with all the travelers, and lastly had to wait in line to be de-iced. Waited in line on the tarmack for 3 hours and them had to wait another hour to take off. I was sure we were going to crash because of ice build up!

  43. When I lived in Northern Michigan, it seemed like we always landed in flying snow with a white runway. Usually we had to wait to land until the runway had been plowed.

  44. My first flight when I was 4. I was sure that we’d never survive (before we even took off).

  45. Flight in Peru we landed so hard that we cracked the fuselage! Glad that happened on landing, not take off!

  46. Scariest might be a tie between crypt keeper flight attendant once, and landing in LGA after a fog/turbulance delay Circled NYC for about 1 hr in a huge cloud. older 75 with the flight attendant seat facing me in the exit row. When get out clearance to land and have to descend. the bump downward were so violent and sudden. that wasn’t the scary part. People started moaning all over the plane because of the turbulance. sounded like Shaun of the Dead. I’m iron tummy Tony on this flight plus the FA is looking right at me and me at her. A lot of pride on the line to hold my chunks and green face. Scary part: person in the last row of 1class lost the kibbles! heard her catch it in her mouth and then she found the bag and packed a sack lunch. It sounded so gross that a person in my row tossed the beans. As he did that I could hear three more bags rustling behind me. It was going to be a buffet of to go bags when we finally would land. I was afriad what it would be like if everyone emptied their tanks. Especially either me or the FA as we would have had to watch each other call Earl.

    Both those definitely beat out all the thumps and bumps, lightning strikes and drunk Vikings fans in MSP!

  47. Being the only passenger on a flight between Green Bay and Muskegon. It was a bit like a Twilight Zone episode.

  48. Any time I’ve landed in a turboprop while it has been snowing has been scary enough for me!

  49. Just flying in and out of San Diego, where I live 16 times a year.

  50. Recently almost missing my international flight due to slow customs. I hate running late.

  51. Got on a midnight flight ex TLV with a migraine, sitting in the bubble on DL. Right before takeoff a family with TWO small kids came boundng up the steps. Since these kids were already WALKING they seemed a bit big for “lap infants”, but lap children they were EXCEPT when they ran around the cabin yelling and banging seats which they did almost the entire flight while dad curled up on the floor by the exit RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY SEAT to sleep (of course constantly being “checked on” loudly by the two kids). So my scariest moments now ALL involve small children on planes (sorry you parents out there… I DO know not ALL kids are obnoxious).

    Oh yeah …. I guess the times I got shot at while flying for the Air Force also a bit scary (but mostly after the fact…WHILE being shot at a little too busy to be scared!)!

  52. After 14 hours of smooth flying from Sydney to LA on Virgin Australia, for some reason the last 10 minutes turned into a full hour of circling within a huge storm. I almost never get any fear when flying but this one had that feeling to it. People on the plane were near panic around me and I admit my pulse was racing. We never got any good explanation other than weather, which didn’t seem like enough to me under the circumstances.

  53. Last summer, I flew from Philadelphia to Raleigh Durham. It was a day time flight with LOTS of turbulence, and my neighbor was an inexperienced flyer. I was doing my best to act cool to keep her calm, and I said “hey, if the flight attendants aren’t worried, you shouldn’t be worried.” About five minutes later, during our approach, we experienced a gut wrenching drop. One of the flight attendants said, loud enough that we could hear three rows away, “[edit], what is going on?” Needless to say, my neighbor was freaking out for the remaining 10 minutes of the flight…and I wasn’t too comfortable either.

  54. Flight from MIA to JFK we tried avoiding storms and flew all over the place going up and down, etc. the flight map was sickening

  55. About 100 ft from wheels down another aircraft pulled in front of us. Full throttle emergency ascend. Never climbed that fast in my life. Crazy times! But also exhilarating!

  56. Scariest thing was when my plane from STL-EWR hit A LOT of turbulence while landing into EWR. The turbulence was unreal and I thought I was going to die…

  57. I had just dozed off on a flight from Akron to Atlanta. I was rousted by a small jolt and then the pilot coming on to alert us that the plane was having some technical trouble and we would have to touch back down in the nearest (sizable) airport. So we took a quick little skip over to Pittsburgh and then approached. I had no response other than still feeling a little sleepy. That is until we approached the runway in PIT and seeing that the flight was being chased by every emergency vehicle the airport could muster up. It seemed that the jolt that caused me to wake up was the loss of an engine and a sharp left and loss in altitude.

  58. iwantmoremiles Reply

    My husband and I got to LAX for our long await trip to Australia. After giving the attendant at the United desk our passports, she asked if we had our visas. Even though I do a fair amount of international travel, I had not even thought about needing a visa. My heart sank. Would we miss our flight, have to cancel our hotel trip and miss our tours? Luckily, they sell them at the counter and we were early (since it took quite awhile for her to complete the process) but for a few minutes I was scared that our trip was ruined. I almost started to cry.

  59. Bad turbulence on flight from Denver to Atlanta a few years ago.

  60. I thought about smoking a cigarette and what “Deltalina” would do to me!!!! Scary!!!

  61. Not too many scary situations, thankfully, but on my first flight ever from BWI to burlington, vt we had a bit of turbulence and the lady sitting next to me freaked out and dug her nails into the arm rest. Unfortunately my hand was already on the armrest, so I was left with quite an impression of my first flight and on my hand.

  62. I remembered a joke from the Desert Storm era. What’s the difference between a Delta pilot and an Iraqi pilot…? The Delta pilot has a higher kill ratio and the Iraqi pilot doesn’t drink!!!

  63. MSP is a Delta hub…let’s hope they keep it that way…if not…Scary!!!!!

  64. poorstudentblog Reply

    100 meters drop in a few seconds because of turbulence.

  65. Extreme turbulence made the flight feel like a roller coaster ride!!!

  66. Flying from Seattle to Vancouver. Pilot advised on take off that there would be no in flight service due to turbulence. Not only was it a rough flight, there was Zero visibility until we broke through the clouds in Vancouver two minutes before touching down. I felt totally disorient the entire flight.

  67. We hit the some pretty bad turbulence as we approaches LAS. Flight attendants all hit the floor. I was in the isle seat and one dropped to her knees next to me in the isle. She had a look of total fear in her eyes that’s when I knew it was pretty bad.

  68. Getting ready to board in DTW and the pilot came running out of the jetway. Turned out that an RV that was filming a commercial hit the wingtip when it was leaving. Two hours later we switched planes.

  69. The roughest ride I have ever experienced was on a turbo prop from IAH to LFT in 2006. I flew into IAH from AUS and was able to see the storm clouds fermenting as we approached Houston. The clouds became more ominous as I peered out of the airport window while awaiting my flight to LFT. I thought for sure my flight would be cancelled and I was fully expecting a tornado to hit IAH. We finally boarded the turbo prop and taxied out to the runway. Just before we made our final turn onto the runway the pilot happily announced that we were extremely lucky, since we were the last flight to be cleared to depart as the airport was shutting down due to the impending storm. Shortly after leaving the ground “the ride of a lifetime began”. I had experienced some very severe CAT flying between COS and DEN along the Front Range over the years and my son (who was in grade school at the time) still talks about a particular incident and he is 40 years old. However, this turbulence took the grand prize. It lasted for close to 20 minutes and people were screaming at the top of their lungs as the plane twisted from side to side and seemingly changed direction while taking huge dips. It seemed to me this was exactly what a cowboy experiences when he rides a bucking bronco. Some people were praying out loud and others were sitting with their heads between their knees in a crash landing position. At first I was scared, but then realized the pilot most likely knew the capabilities of the aircraft and if he continued the journey we were fine. As I look back, this was the most awesome flight I was ever on and it certainly beat any amusement park ride that I can recall.

  70. BOShappyflyer Reply

    Just some turbulence while flying over to Hong Kong. It jolted me awake from my slumber and it felt a little unsettling…

  71. Kathmandu to jomson. The flight was one of the most spectacular flights ever (view wise) but when we came in to land it felt like we were free falling we descended so fast.
    The fa handed out cotton balls for ear plugs. It was an experience!

  72. Really bad thunder storm a few years ago forced us to fly to BWI instead of DCA. Good thing i had someone get me in Baltimore instea of DC. Didnt want to get back on the plane that night.

  73. I got diverted for an avionics alarm once. The pilots tried to calm us down by saying it was still turning so we were okay. It was unsettling to say the least, especially when landing.

  74. Nothing too scary, but one time my neighbor spilt his coke all over my trousers :-/

  75. Turbulence on ATL-CHA rj aircraft. Other inbound flights turned around. Our captain took us in.

  76. Not quite in the air: sitting in a US Air turbo prop at LEX waiting for boarding to finish. Suddenly A/C and all power go out. Next I hear the pilot yell, as he stuck his head out the cockpit window: “Hey Bubba, jiggle that plug, will ya?”

    I spent the entire flight waiting for the plane to shut down and fall.

  77. I was on an AA flight ORD to LAS. The crew stated they had a medical emergency and needed anyone with medical training. I had worked in emergency services through college but had not been active in many years. No one came forward so I did. A 16yo boy was in distress and while attending to him lost all life signs, no pulse, resp….Worked on him with no real resources. Turned around and emergency diverted to Denver. Boy rebounded, Thank God! Parents informed me 2 days later he was doing fine. I have been in other airline emergencies where we had to divert and land but I have never been in a situation as terrifying and horrible as this and I never want to be again!!

  78. I was on a 747 flying from DTW to KIX several years back, and as we were taxiing, the pilot suddenly shut the plane down and we had to taxi back to the gate. The pilot announced that there was a mechanical issue, but they didn’t let us off the plane. Instead I see mechanics working on one of the engines outside of my window for over an hour before they announce that we’re ready to go (after having the boarding door closed for nearly 3 hours) and we take off. That made for a bit of an uneasy flight – I’m just glad we didn’t take off without the engine being fixed!

  79. I’ve had many scary fights. One was ATL to Buenos Aires. Turbulence was so bad that part of the overhead bin came crashing down on my spouse who was in the aisle seat. Not the contents of the bin, but the actual BIN. But what was really scary was when I was on the ground, watching the emergency vehicles gather on the runway about the time my then fiancé was to land on a Midway Airlines flight in MSP. they had been circling for an hour to dump fuel. He told me that they had to assume the “crash position”. All went well in the end. But….that was scary.

  80. charles alan satterwhite Reply

    The scariest thing for me involving a plane was a landing gear malfunction on an AA flight on the way to Quito. They landed in Guayaquil do to it having a better airport! then they offered the flight to Quito and I said no thanks. Too bad i wasn’t a mile-head till latter i think a well written letter to AA would of netted me 20k miles!. Also my mother’s taxi on the way to the airport in Managua ran into a horse and totaled the taxi!

  81. I hold a private pilot certificate (license) and the scariest thing was me learning stalls – the first time. Wow, gripping the armrest doesn’t even make the cut – it’s gripping the control yoke! After a few times it’s no big deal, but that first time, oh man. You’re essentially intending to “lose control” of the airplane. I believe I hit the pub later that evening …

  82. Kevin LeCavalier Reply

    While landing in Aspen flying on Aspen -Scareways- We hit a pocket of air and literally I saw the flight attendant leave the floor of the airplane and was quite thankful she landed back in one place without injury. This is why I always use the seat belt while seated. Scary stuff

  83. Almost went to Cuba! Summer of 1980 when there was a slew of air hijackings to Cuba. Was barely a teenager flying alone with my younger brother home on TWA from PBI. About 45 minutes into the flight, plane makes a 180 turn. Pilot announces that we have a mechanical problem and need to return to PBI to have it fixed. Suspicious why we aren’t just landing in Atlanta, where we probably are near. Around 45 minutes later, pilot announces that PBI can’t handle the problem so we’re going to MIA. Now we’re sure that this is exactly what a pilot would tell the passengers if we were being hijacked – MIA only 90 miles or so north of Havanna. Was quite relieved when we landed and I saw a bunch of Air Florida planes.

  84. On a flight from ATL to LAX. 737. I was in the bulk head row of economy comfort. A medical emergency for a person started to happen. The person stopped breathing (COPD). They had to ask for medical professionals. (This was directly in front of me). Two people came up. One was a clinical Norse the other a ER DR. They were able to revive her and we had to do an emergency landing in Dallas.

  85. Flying on a chartered Spanair flight between Barcelona and Granada. Severe wind sheer, torrential downpour…2 go-rounds, about 30 minutes of circling in moderate to severe turbulence, and finally a very rough landing. Wind and rain was so bad on the tarmac that they would not allow people out of the plane for about 20 minutes.

  86. Never anything too bad, but on a Russian plane one time just before landing, the co-pilot said something over the P/A that sounded like just muttering to me. My Russian partner, who is muslim, turned white and looked scared and said that what the pilot had just said were the words of a muslim prayer for some reason. We landed and everything was good, but we were a little concerned.

  87. Personally, nothing as scary as some posts. My dad worked at Midway airport in the 50’s for Braniff Airlines and saw a “bird” (as he called them) come in too low in the fog, clip a billboard and flip over. He got first hand pictures!

  88. Glenn (The Military Frequent Flyer) Reply

    Returning from the UFG exercise in Korea in 2004 on a World Airways charter 727. We had to land at an airbase in Japan because the plane was too heavy from all the overactive shoppers (not kidding). Next morning at zero dark thirty, we take off and immediately have an engine fire. Pilot declares an emergency and dumps fuel all over Tokyo. I was thinking he was nuts to do that, but someone explained to me that it all evaporates before it ever hits the ground. Circled back and landed at the same airbase. Waited a day for a new plane and finally got home. Just another day in the Service!

  89. It’s a little different kind of scary, but once on a flight into Vegas, the lady next to me was a tad over-served and wet herself and her seat. Trying to scoot by the wet middle seat getting off the plane was a rather scary proposition.

  90. Flying into Adak Alaska on RAA. Fog coming through the mountain pass. Looked out the window (clear, fog, clear, fog, etc.) to see what looked like the wing a bit to near the mountain. Then on the runway having no idea we were about to touch down. Getting off the plane I could not see the mountains which are located at the end of the runway. I then believed the nick name “Reeves Always Arrives” to the end of the Aleutian Island Chain.

  91. Being the plane landing behind the plane that hit a bird as it descended. We had an aborted landing in MCO with my young kids who were flying for the first time. Plane almost touched ground, then took off with roar of engines nearly straight up. Felt like I was on Space Shuttle.


  92. When a senior medical student I was flying on holiday when a traveler on the aircraft fell acutely ill. Long and the short of it is that another passenger on the aircraft was a licensed MD and deferred to my judgment on how to manage this ill patient…talk about scary.

  93. Happened way back in 1998 when we were making an approach to ORD from CDG. Rather than a smooth approach, the plane “dropped” a few times, like going down the stairs. Kind fun actually. Like roller coaster.

  94. I flew in winter from SLC-CDC. We were flying over high snow capped mountains and we experienced extreme turbulence. I had a window seat and saw the wings on the plane bounce so much u thought they were going to snap off. Thankfully we had a safe landing.

  95. a bad thunder and lightning storm. (not that it compares to Lucky’s flight though)

  96. smoke in the cabin on the way to Tokyo….they stopped the plane in Anchorage and we spent the night.

  97. Back in 84 while on a military charter flying Tokyo-Boston nonstop in a 747 SP. 53 pax on plane……1/2 the usual seats removed so they could fill it with extra gas for the long flight. Started rollout on runway……..electrical power failed just as speed for rotate was achieved. Plane died on runway. Sat on plane at end of runway for 2 hours, then towed back to gate. Waited 5 more hours to board with other 52 pax. Got back on same plane, took off without incident. Once at cruise altitude, captain got on PA stating that the “slight electrical problem”, that we “may have noticed” earlier was “temporarily” fixed, and to enjoy the rest of 18 hour flight.

  98. One time on a flight home from tel aviv on elal we had a sudden drop while breakfast was being served and it ended up all over the place

  99. I once had really bad turbulence for a long portion of my flight

  100. Flight from lga-stl was a big Airbus which had 15 pass, but our excitment ended when there was hard turbulence the while time. No beverage service, nothing. Had to hold baby tight with two arms whole time, so scary.

  101. A whole lot of tailwind coming in for a landing at my small regional airport. We came in at a higher rate of speed than I’ve ever experienced. Very hard landing and I can’t believe he got the plane stopped before it ran off the end of the runway. We all knew we were coming in too fast. Was quite nervous to say the least.

  102. Flying back from LGW to CLT – on descent into CLT, suddenly there’s a flash and a boom. Nothing happens to aircraft, but pilot comes on (think we were below 10,000 ft) and notes that every now and then there will be lightning on the way in. Thinking we were struck, and the aircraft’s return let to LGW was canceled.

  103. Had a flight SLC to ANC back in the early 90’s. Took off with no issue, but upon climb out started hitting turbulence as the plane was pitching to make its turn. The turbulence lasted for about 5 minutes and each drop was a good 40-50 feet with some coming in rapid succession. Had items falling from overhead and things rolling around on the floor. The only flight were I thought we were going down for sure. My finger marks are probably still on the armrests.

  104. Flying to Atlanta through typical summer thunderstorms a few years back, and we had two aborted landings, both of which felt like the back of the plane was fish tailing because of the crosswinds!! Never been happier for a diversion to BHM…

  105. Military pilot Reply

    When I was learning to fly before USAF pilot training, I got caught in a heavy aircrafts wake turbulence on short final in anchorage. We managed to go around and in the process my instructor slammed his face into the dash and started a gushing blood from his nose and lip and I could feel my legs weaken an had a death grip on the stick. When we landed and the maintenance guys came out to look it over, they asked him why he hit his head, his reply was the ultimate Burn! “If you flew with him(me) you would do it to”

  106. Flying ATL-PIT a few years back and had to make an emergency landing back in ATL due to an engine malfunction. What made it fun was that I was in the window seat in the emergency exit row. Flight Attendant came up to us right before landing to go over all of the safety instructions again and what to do if the pilot said to evacuate but luckily it didn’t come to that and we landed with no issues.

  107. Absolutely nothing and I fly Delta exclusively. But it has been fun reading all of the comments! 🙂

  108. My first earthquake experience while waiting to board in Santiago. Flying Pluna to Curitiba.

  109. On a flight from Guatemala City to Tikal, as we were taking off about a pint of water poured out of an over head compartment labelled ” Emergengy Life Raft” We were all wondering if it was from the last time they had actually used the raft. Not that scary but funny and a little unnerving.

  110. Flying on a float plane in the North woods of Ontario with a bunch of 55 gallon drums of gasoline. I worked for a lodge and employees always were flown in with supplies. With a pilot that was still in High School or looked like it.

  111. Nothing “hail Mary” scary but 1) As our LH flight was landing into Istanbul from Munich, a huge fire erupted in a terminal building near our runway. Planes were parked there and you could see guys running away cause they thought it would blow – the flames/smoke were increasing exponentially. Our plane does not abort, it lands and comes to a stop. With typical German process compliance, the pilot says “Thank you for flying Lufthansa. We wish you a pleasant journey.” and says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the raging inferno on the left side of the plane. About 5 or 10 minutes pass, he finally comes on again and says “As you can see, there is a little bit of fire on the left side of the plane. But the terminal house is OK, we will deplane at the far side of the airport.” Which we do – get off the plane at the most distant gate, everyone goes through customs and collects their luggage, then they closed the airport. Later we found out it was a cargo area that was near (but not part of) the passenger terminal. 2) I was on a NW 747 flight roaring down the Manila runway at full throttle…and the pilot slammed on the brakes. Hard enough that some minor stuff was airborne in the cabin. Pilot comes on and says “Sorry folks, during takeoff a light came on. And we can’t fly with that light on.” He never mentioned exactly what failed, but we sat there for 2 hours while some guys worked on one of the engines. The plane did eventually get airborne, but I think it was very revealing that NW switched our plane after arriving in Narita (normally, the same plane takes on fuel and continues to DTW).

  112. Flying ORD to DTW many years ago, over Lake Michigan, through a thunderstorm. Turbulence I’ve experienced since then pales in comparison to this “near death” like feel I had on that flight.

  113. Terrible turbulence in Bolivia on aerosur. Oh yes, the stewardess was crying.

  114. deb linkner Reply

    Flying into Aspen and we had an aborted landing and the plane came really close to the mountain as it tried to pull up and to turn around.

  115. Landing in small 6 passenger Cesna on short rocky beach in Alaska – those bush pilots are MAD…

  116. On a flight from EWR-BDA I was seated just behind the wing and we had to abort the takeoff at the end of the runway when the engine started to backfire. We went back to the gate and the mechanics took a look and sent us off again. The second attempt produced flames out the back of the engine right next to my window. They had to replace the engine before the third attempt which was successful but only a handful of people decided to take that flight.

  117. Michelle O Reply

    I am fortunate…nothing scary has happened to me while flying!

  118. Flying costa rica’s “Nature Air”, an 8-person propeller plane, from Tamarindo to San Jose, and having a 2-bounce landing was about the scariest flight I’ve been on!

  119. Never anything too scary, but attempting to take off from MIA to RSW, after accelerating for takeoff we aborted and pilot slammed on the brakes. Everyone had to deplane, they shuttled us back to the gate. Then they “fixed” the problem, re-boarded us, and the same thing happened again. Everybody off. Then we did it again, twice more for a total of FOUR aborted take offs. We had to wait at the gate, because it would go as the problem was fixed. Then the crew timed out, so waited for a replacement crew. Finally we took off fours late, on the fifth try.

    This is usually an easy 30 minute flight; over the Everglades. I was starting to wonder if we were cursed.

  120. sitting between two chatterboxes on my flight from los angeles to shanghai….i wanted to tell that to shut up but was afraid to.

  121. Pretty uneventful considering the number of flights I’ve taken. I do remember one extremely turbulent flight in the southeast during major T-storms a few years back. Our little plane was tossed more than the S.S. Minnow and lasted for a good 15 minutes. Folks were screaming, vomiting and then eerily quiet once it stopped. I help on so tight my veins were popped out well past landing.

  122. Vivek Doshi Reply

    I havent really had a terribly scary incident and hope it never does 🙂

  123. Scariest thing that happened to me in a plane actually began on the ground in Tanzania. We drank coffee we were told had been made with boiled water — wrong. My wife and I were so-o-o sick on what became the longest flight in our lives from Kilimanjaro airport to Dar Es Salaam to AMS to DTW to CLT. Thought we would die….

  124. Nothing too scary here… the worst was when I got a call saying my flight was delayed which would make me miss my connection, and the first meeting I was going to attend. (Got on an earlier flight and everything went smoothly.)

  125. william finger Reply

    A couple of months ago I was upgraded to First Class and ordered the turkey sandwich on pretzel bread. What I was served looked pretty scary!

  126. Was many years ago, taking off on an AA MD88 from LGA, in front of us was a 757 that had just lifted off. Our little MD88 very quickly got caught in the wake of the 757 in the initial climb. That wake was so strong it literally forced the nose of the MD88 down toward the ground. It felt like eternity, could feel the captain wrestling to pull the nose back up. It was a very real threat and shortly after the FAA issues new rules around the distance between take offs with the 757s due to their much more powerful thrust, other incidents were also reported.

  127. I was on my way to a business meeting and a man next to me was drinking allotta beers. After 4 beers he held his tummy and then barfed everywhere, including across the aisle onto my shoes. I had to buy new shoes before my meeting.

  128. Had a Delta meal that really didn’t agree with me from LIM to ATL. Hit a massive storm around ATL with those scary turbulance that seem to just drop the plane over and over again. I was in the middle of the middle row and there werent an airsick bags or flight attendants since they all had to be sitting down. Luckily I made it to the ground without throwing up all over my seatmates.

  129. Scary? Just prior to landing in India when an FA announced that passengers should have their seatbelts fastened, keep their eyes closed and hold their breath while the cabin was fumigated with an insecticide while in flight. Wouldn’t installing a bug light be easier?

  130. I was on a DAL flight, PBI back home to ATL. I was seated in first, aisle and an older and well dressed and seemingly well to do senior lady was next to me in the window seat. We exchanged some hellos and I put my Boise headset on to finish a movie once in the air. During the flight I felt her nudge me but ignored it as having one too many Bloody Mary’s. Well about 15 minutes later all hell broke lose when it was realized the lady was having a heart attack and didn’t make it. I think about this and what scares me is what if I need help some day on an airplane and my seatmate blows me off!

  131. Michael J. Reply

    Scariest was being on a flight where it kept hitting “air pockets” and doing a number of straight down drops. I normally love riding roller coasters with lots of big drops, but not so on a plane.

  132. The scariest thing that has happened to me occurred in 2001 while returning to SLC from SFO on a Delta 737. The landing gear became stuck up in the wing on the right side of the plane and stuck down on the left side of the plane. The pilot tried to manually crank it down, did some aerial maneuvers to knock it down, then after several unsuccessful attempts he fly west over the ocean to dump fuel in preparation for an emergency belly landing at SFO. We had 45 min in the air to burn off residual fuel while the men were instructed to remove their neck ties and place their identification in their front shirt or cost pockets. The women were told to remove their high heels. After 45 minutes “repenting in the air”, we began our approach. To make a long story shorter, the landing was perfect although the right wing broke off the plane and ended up 100 yards down the runway while the passengers slid down the two emergency slides in the front of the plane.

    Later I called Delta about that aircraft wondering if they scraped the whole plane after an emergency belly landing and assumed the plane to have many micro fractures as well as enormous structural damage. I was told by the Delta employee that the plane was taken to the shop, repaired, and was flying passengers again three days later!

    Eric Welling

  133. flying into Sakon Nakon Thailand and one of 2 turbo prop engines quit on the plane, the scary part was when the monks and catholic nuns started praying at the same time.

  134. Business trip, a colleague I was traveling with was detained because they found an empty hash pipe in her carry on. They eventually let her fly home on our flight.

  135. Being told by DL gate agent that I had been moved out of my seat in EC LAX-HND…until I realized op-up to BE.

  136. 1) Bad turbulence; 2) Crying babies and their parents do nothing to stop this; 3) People who keep talking and laughing loudly. Sometimes the latter one is more annoying and could drive me crazy.

  137. On a short hop from EWR-DCA we had a lot of turbulence and lots of wind. On the approach to DCA we were swinging wildly back and forth from left to right. We hit hard with what seemed like a full throttle landing and then had to brake very hard because there is just no room for error at DCA. Several overhead bins popped open and we stayed on the runway, but it was a rough landing (to say the least). The pilot was applauded.

  138. Scariest thing was circling the tower for visual conformation that our gears were actually down and seeing an impressive array of emergency vehicles assembling for our arrival. Everything turned out okay, and we really didn’t know something might be wrong until the Captain informed us…after the fact…that the welcoming committee was indeed for us.

  139. Late night, Charolett NC ground crew did not latch fuel door. It kept hitting the bottom of the plane. We went around, fire trucks at the end of the runway. Not a good thing the have happen.

  140. Some of the comments above literally made me LOL (complete with tears in my eyes)! They were that funny. Unfortunately, the scariest thing that I experienced wasn’t funny. While waiting for a long-haul flight to board, I noticed someone who looked and acted SO ill that I didn’t think the boarding agents should allow her on the airplane. She was OBVIOUSLY very sick. I felt strongly enough that I discreetly said something to one of them. I boarded the plane, and was dismayed to see her get on a while later. And where was her seat? Yes, directly behind mine. Every time she coughed during the flight (which was often), I was scared I would be infected with whatever disease she had.

  141. About 10 yrs ago my daughter, age 6, and i were sitting in middle bulk head on a plane with the flip around movie screens that hung on the wall. When the attendant flipped around the screen the right side of the screen came unbolted and landed on my daughters legs that were stretched out, being her legs were too short to bend over the front of the seat. The attendant said, “oh gosh, im sure she is alright” as I watched my daughter’s shins turn blue with swelling. I had to demand to see the attendant in charge before i was given ice bags and have an injury report filed with Delta.

  142. I’ve been lucky and have not had anything scary happen while in the air, other than turbulence!

  143. On a Pan Am flight in Europe, the Boing 707 hit an air pocket and fell a few thousand feet with people and stuff flying about the cabin! I am here to tell the story……………

  144. The scariest flight for me is the plane I am getting on. I’m a nervous nelly when it comes to flying. My husband has been on three flights that have had something catch on fire, he has been on a flight when the man beside him died while in flight (quietly, I might add) and been the last plane to land as hurricane Opal was closing the Atlanta airport. Now, granted, he’s flown almost 2 million miles in the 30+ years we’ve been married and he wonders why I don’t want to fly with him!

  145. Just a few months ago I sat next to a commercial airline pilot friend of mine on a flight from RDU to MSP. After we got to 10,000 ft he starts to nod off then bolts straight up trying to see the engines ( he’s in a middle seat on an A320, row 11). The guy by the window has the shade closed so the pilot turns to see through the window behind us. He asks to have the shade open then just sits stiffly real stressed out. I ask him what’s the problem and he replies that he felt a vibration in the engine. After a bit he relaxes but it scared the crap out of me. I figured that anytime a pilot is concerned, I should be too!

  146. Oh my! I’ve read a handful of these, and I think I need to stop now! I’ll be traveling 4 out of the next 5 weeks, and I need to think happy thoughts.

    My scariest moment was when I was about 10 years old on Eastern Airlines. Our flight from Tampa to Detroit was diverted to Atlanta because the landing gear would not lock into place. We didn’t fly above 3,00 feet all the way to Atlanta, and we were greated by a runway full of emergency vehicles with their lights flashing.

  147. I’ve been lucky, knock on wood. Never had anything more than some bad turbulence on a flight, but never bad enough to get diverted from the original destination.

  148. felt like tire blew on takeoff from dtw on a crj. pilot flew for about 30 minutes then said was returning to dtw. he did a low pass with gear down so tower could give us a look over. the runway was lined with crash and fire trucks. we landed uneventfully but the crash vehicles followed us to the gate. was one time i was glad crjs did not have first class and i was seated in an exit row.

  149. So far it is having to do a fly around because another plane was on our runway during approach. Or maybe flying in Bolivia, period.

  150. rene i will add a big concern to me that was highlighted by the asiana crash at sfo. as a private pilot — strictly cessnas and cherokees with ifr rating — it is beyond belief to me that three atp-rated pilots were in the cockpit and let a 777 get so low and slow on a visual approach. a visual approach means pilots are flying, or should be, by looking at their cockpit instruments and the runway. the papi lights would have been signaling the approach was too low and the airspeed indicator would show they were way too slow for a long time before they tried to abort the landing at the runway threshold. notwithstanding any autopilot failure, that means they were paying no attention to the aircraft and the runway and just letting the autopilot fly the airplane. automation in the cockpit is great, but unlike us folks sitting in first with a cold beverage, pilots cannot just hand over control of their airplanes and sit back for the ride!!! atps go through simulator training every six months. there is a big difference, however, between a simulator and actually flying an airplane. for one thing, in a simulator you are expecting the unexpected.

    in addition to maximizing our ff accruals, you and fellow bloggers may be able to provide us ff folks a big service and, if you agree this is safety issue, raise your voices at the faa, ntsb or other regulatory agency. thank you for your consideration, hopefully.

  151. Was flying in China from Nanning to Guilin with my mother on an old Russian prop plane in the late 90s. Before we took off there were mechanical problems and the mechanics came on with hammers and other large tools and started banging things up front. The Chinese passengers got really scared and started yelling that they should all get off the plane. Luckily, the flight attendants kept them in place and my mom didn’t speak Chinese so I somehow managed to keep her calm. We made it safely, but it was one of the hottest, loudest flights I’ve ever taken on a civilian aircraft.

  152. A very scary non-event for me.
    I was flying the old Swissair JFK-ZRH. The meal was over and it was about time for lights to be dimmed. Empty flight and most passengers were stretched out. Suddenly a warning klaxon alarm went off. No olympic sprinter ever ran as fast as the flight attendents ran to stations. Loads of obvious confusion, eventual relaxation and no announcement. While deplaning I asked and was told some attendant hit the klaxon switch instead of the lights.

  153. Taking off from LGA, having the #1 engine catch on fire at at 3000′ and have the plane start a slow roll ((quickly corrected by the pilot). Back to the airport for an emergency landing!

  154. Just bad turbulence from SFO to IAD back in 1973 on a TWA 747 (good old days of flying domestic 747s). Without our seat belts we would have been through the roof–have never experienced such turbulence since that flight!!

  155. Just a weather (rain and thunder) situation on a flight from Flores, Guatemala to Belize City with Tropic Air in a 4 seat Piper Cub type plane. Lot’s of ups and downs with altitude around 2500 feet piloted by what seemed to be 20 year old.
    Not my wife’s favorite air flight!

  156. Sorry I missed this comment 2things come to mind being stuck in Ireland during 911 being ono of the 1st planes back to the uUSA thinking we were going to Atlanta but ended up in JFK after flying by the smoldering towers .. 2nd was atl to Paris as we were lifting off we came back down n ended at the end of the runway n had to return for another plane engine issue hours later we were on our way but citizens of a few countries had to get off as they were not allowed to stay overnite in Paris without a visa

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