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What is your scariest travel story? Did you have to divert to another airport? Were you ever afraid to fly again?

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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.

OK I promise you all this will be my last Sunday griping about CRJ200s. Well, unless something like the below happens to me. After I shared what happened on Sharlet’s never ending broken Delta CRJ200 jets flight from Detroit to South Bend another reader sent me one from the that I was told I had to check out.

Flight delay from

“A Skywest Canadair CRJ-200 on behalf of Delta Airlines, registration N455CA performing flight OO-4896/DL-4896 from Detroit, MI to Kalamazoo, MI (USA) with 49 people on board, was on final approach to Kalamazoo when the crew initiated a go around due to a gear indication. The crew decided to divert to Lansing, MI (USA) and climbed to 3000 feet. Lansing Airport prepared for a low approach to inspect the landing gear from the ground. The aircraft performed a low approach to runway 28L advising Kalamazoo had already advised the gear appeared to be down, however, they wanted another check. Following the low approach tower advised “if nothing changes between now and landing I can say with certainty the landing gear is down”. The aircraft positioned for another approach and landed safely on Lansing’s runway 28L about 30 minutes after the first go around at Kalamazoo.”

Yikes. A go around really is no big deal. I am sure most readers have experienced that at least once in your lifetime. I had one at tree top level coming into Gothenburg, Sweden that got my full attention but all was AOK on the second attempt. In fact, I don’t think I have ever experienced two aborted landings in a row ever and we are talking thousands of landings all over the world.

But to next have to divert to another airport and do a “low approach” for someone on the ground to look up and see if the landing gear really was down would be a totally different event. I have to admit I would be scared out of my wits until the jet rolled out and stopped.

And this brings us to today’s post. Why not scare us all a little bit today. Have you ever lived though a terrifying flight? Did you ever have to divert to another airport (and were stuck there)? Have you ever lived an event so scary that you considered not flying again? I think I really want to know! – René


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. TJK from DTW Reply

    Back in the late 90s, I experienced wind shear going over the Continental Divide in a Dornier 328 commuter prop GUC-DEN. Drinks went flying. Luckily no one was in the lav and everyone was belted in.

  2. Flying in a Dash8 turbo prop in winter landing in a snow storm at YYZ. Sitting in a window seat on the wing and watching ice build up on the wing as well as the plane drop, pitch and yaw radically. That was 8 years ago and have never have flown a turbo prop again!!

  3. Flying into STT in the early 80s was often harrowing – one time we had 2 fly by’s before actually touching down. Appreciated the free rum punches passed out at the luggage carousel!!

  4. Judy Jones Reply

    Flying with my daughter on a college exploratory trip from LAX to DEN. Landing gear collapsed when hitting the runway landing on the belly of the plane. Yes, the plane does shake, luggage compartments fly open, air masks descend and the passengers were surprisingly quiet. Pilot comes on and says, “Depart plane left.” The guys sitting in the exit row take off the door, exit the plane, leaving the door blocking the exit for others. We were sitting across from them, removed the door and started helping some kids running down the aisle out the door. When I saw a large woman with two shopping bags blocking other passengers behind her, I decided it was my time to leave. Flight attendants do not go down with the ship…they were screaming from afar to run, as the plane was on fire. We were all gathered in the club, and when released, ran to make our connection to DTW. Taking a deep breath, I walked onto the plane, and said, “Two drinks as soon as we leave the ground” (before I had status). They were delivered immediately!

  5. Rene,
    I’m creeping up on 2 million miles with Delta, and I don’t have a single scary story to tell. I can’t even think of a minor incident that could be embellished to make a good story. Flying Delta is actually quite boring.

  6. Roberta Fleischmann Reply

    We had a red tail hawk get sucked into the engine of a 777 on take-off from SEA last year, we had to fly around for awhile and jettison fuel then land. Lots of fuel still in plane. Every SEA-TAC EMERGENCY VEHICLE WAS ON THE RUNWAY waiting for us to land. It was a real hard one but the pilot Alan Jaffe was fantastic along with his crew. We spent the night in SEA courtesy of Delta and flew out the next day.

  7. Matthew sample Reply

    1996 flying SAA from JFK to Johannesburg with a stop in il De sal cape Verde. About halfway over the Atlantic the number 3 engine on a 747 caught on fire and they had to shut it down. They let us know they could fly on 2 engines and we would be ok. Landed in cape Verde and were stuck in the airport terminal for 10 hours until they flew a part up from joberg. Finally fixed, took off and mid point of flight over central Africa it caught fire again and lost engine 3. Pilot said I am absolutely not landing in Angola or Congo were going to joberg. Made it 13 hours late. Perfect landing

  8. My scariest trip was returning to my home town of South Bend and fearing I wouldn’t be able to leave. Ever.

  9. Last Oct from ATL-DFW on an MD 80. At 4 K feet captain announced problem with anti-skid steer control. Circled for 15 mins then made very slow and careful landing on the longest runway. Greeted by the fire department and cleared after about 20 mins to the gate.

  10. My husband is almost 2 million miles with delta and had everything happen on an airplane that can happen except a crash. Taking off in Atlanta, the cabin filled with smoke and the pilot came on and said, “I know we have a problem and we will be back on the ground immediately.” Husband wasn’t sure if he meant landing or crashing. They safely landed with fire trucks virtually running beside them. He was on a plane that was the last to land before atl was closed down for hurricane Opal. And, of course, he’s had the obligatory lightening strike. I could cite more. And, he wonders why I don’t want to fly on the same plane with him.

  11. Rene: OK, that request for input landed in my wheelhouse.

    Circa 2000, I sometimes flew from Detroit to Gulport MS to go casino hopping with my parents, who would drive I-10 from Tallahassee to Gulfport.

    On my CRJ 200 flight ATL-GPT, the pilot announced that we would divert to Mobile [MOB] because the cockpit sensors indicated that there was a fire in the baggage compartment. I recall gratitude when we entered final approach to MOB and curiosity about all the lime green emergency vehicles that greeted us when we landed and parked in a remote quadrant of that airport.

    FWIW, Delta provided buses to Gulfport for those passengers who wanted same.
    My runner up most scariest Delta [and predecessors] flight was a Northwest flight circa 1980 from ORD to Lansing MI. Over Lake Michigan, the pilot announced that the plane had lost one engine and would make an emergency return to O’Hare.
    If you hadn’t sort of specified CRJ200 regional domestic flights, I’d have nominated my 1970 return from Vietnam to Lansing MI. The itinerary was Long Binh -Okinawa -ANC-SEA-ORD-LAN. The first three legs were military charters and last two legs were on United Airlines. On my final approach to LAN, the pilot aborted two landings because of thunderstorms. We finally made a bumpy landing on the third approach. I’d taken a fatalistic attitude to Vietnam, but after surviving 14 months in an active combat zone, it seemed impossibly ironic that I might die on the final approach to my home town’s airport.

    But I didn’t die, as evidenced by this post 47 years after the event.

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