- Ground crew stuck in the cargo hold
A flight by Angolan national carrier Taag had to make an unscheduled landing in Porto, Portugal shortly after take off from Lisbon. The reason? Crew received a message that a baggage handler was stuck in the cargo hold! Upon landing the handler was found to be suffering from hypothermia and rushed to hospital. The man had fainted during loading, and the plane had taken off with him on board.
- The crew wanted to go surfing
An Air France plane from Kuala Lumpur to Paris suffered a delay when crew members decided to go surfing in Bali, Indonesia. During a compulsory break, the crew decided to take a quick flight to go surfing. They hadn’t counted on a volcano erupting on Java, causing them to missed their return flight to Kuala Lumpur, and leaving the flight to Paris crewless.
- Iguanas on a plane
A WastJet flight from Cuba to Canada was grounded after a passenger was caught by customs smuggling two iguanas. The problem, however, is that there had been four iguanas when he boarded the plane, and two were now loose in the cargo hold. The plane had to be fumigated and inspected to check for any damage caused by the reptiles. Passengers were transferred to another plane for their final destination in Vancouver.
- Cockpit kitty
A ten year old cat called Ripples escaped from his carrier while flying Air Canada from Halifax. The curious feline decided to go investigating. He padded through first class, and then on to the cockpit, where he nestled himself cosily under the pilot’s seat. His hiding place was so good it took crew over four hours to find him and return him to his carrier.
- Cabin crew air rage
American Eagle flight New York JFK to Washington D.C. was grounded after cabin crew had an altercation. Friction between staff members led to one stewardess pulling another down the aisle by her scarf, choking her, and slamming her with a drinks cart. Legal proceedings are ensuing.
- Passenger doing “suspicious” maths
A flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse, New York City was delayed taking off when one of the passengers reported suspicious behaviour. Her swarthy looking neighbour had asked her questions in an odd way and was scribbling strange coded notes in a “foreign language”. The plane was directed back to the boarding gate where the passenger was removed. The suspect passenger, Italian Guido Menzio, was actually a renowned theoretical economist from the University of Pennsylvania on his way to give a speech in Syracuse and was merely working on some differential equations. After quizzing by airport security staff Menzio was finally permitted to return to his seat, his 41 minute flight departing more than two hours late.
- Turtles blocking the runway
Hundreds of pregnant diamondback terrapin turtles crossing the tarmac shut down runways at New York JFK Airport. The turtles which live in nearby marsh areas were trying to access sandy areas at the airport to lay their eggs. Airport staff had to intervene to help them and return them safely to their nests. Taxiing planes were delayed, but no turtles were harmed, and most passengers took the whole thing good naturedly.
- Lost Cutlery
Thomas Cook’s troubles started well before their recent bankruptcy. A flight from Cancun, Mexico to London Stansted was significantly delayed when vital equipment was found to be missing. No, it wasn’t safety, or first aid equipment, “missing cutlery” was given as the reason for the delay!
- Incorrectly served nuts
In 2014, then Vice President of Korean Air, Heather Cho, appeared in the headlines. Outraged by her macadamia nuts, she exploded in a fit of what can only be called nutrage! She went berserk when her macadamias were served to her in a packet, and not in a bowl. Contending that this was not what should be expected in first class she proceeded to assault the head of cabin crew, and demand the plane return to the gate, delaying the flight by 20 minutes. “Nutgate”, as it became known, went public and Cho was found guilty in Korea of obstructing aviation safety, and was sentenced to 12 months, of which she served 5 months.
- The wrong pyjamas
Two Quantas passengers caused a 30 minute delay when crew on their flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne could not provide them with their complementary XL pyjamas. Despite being offered business class pyjamas they passengers refused, insisting on first class pyjamas. Eventually they disembarked leaving other passengers in stitches after the pilot gave the reason for the delay.
“Don’t forget, that there is no compensation for flights cancelled or delayed due to extraordinary circumstances“, says Elżbieta Tyszka, Head Lawyer at flight compensation company GIVT. “In case law extraordinary circumstances exempting the carrier from liability include: bad weather, political instability, security threats, and airport strikes” – she adds.
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