Crazy in-flight conundrums of 2012

2012-12-27 10:59

Flying is always a bit of a nerve-wracking experience... even to the most experienced traveller.

Fortunately our fears mostly prove to be unfounded, but then you do get the odd occasion when things just do not turn out that well.

Here's a roundup of some of the in-flight occurrences we wouldn't wish on anyone that took place over the course of the year. 

SA stowaway found on BA flight

A man who scaled Cape Town International Aiport's fences in August to illegally catch a British Airways flight, was found dead on arrival at Heathrow Airport. According to Acsa, the incident took place at approximately 20:40, when an unidentified person was detected scaling the perimeter fence at Cape Town International Airport (CTIA). 

For a number of weeks after this all international flights that left Cape Town International Airport after sunset had to be escorted before take-off.

Hijackers beaten to death on Chinese flight

When two men allegedly attempted to hijack a Tianjin Airlines' flight from Hotan to Urumqi (both in China) in July, the cabin crew reportedly saved the day by beating them to death.

They were handsomely rewarded by their employer a month or so later in cash and apartments worth millions of dollars.

Arguments in the air 

This seems to have been a rather tense year in the realm of flight crews around the world, as three different staff squabbles made headline news. 

In the first, Qantas Airways Ltd. grounded two pilots who quarreled in the cockpit of their Boeing 747 jumbo jet at a Dallas airport in August. The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said the pilots had a heated argument over what takeoff calculations to enter into the plane's computer. 

Less than a month later an American Eagle flight out of Kennedy Airport, NYC was delayed nearly four hours after two flight attendants got into a verbal altercation on the plane, forcing the cockpit crew to turn the plane around and head back to the gate . 

Then, a mere two weeks later, a United Airlines flight returned to Raleigh, North Carolina shortly after takeoff Wednesday morning after two flight attendants reportedly got into an argument.

Reptiles slithering around in flight

As if all the in-flight arguments weren't bad enough, there were also a couple of close encounters of the slithery kind on planes in different parts of the world. 

In September a tiny crocodile was found wandering around the cargo hold of a Qantas flight. The reptile was being transferred from Brisbane to Melbourne, but somehow managed to escape from its container during the two-hour journey.

A month or so later, a little Mexican snake with a seemingly big dose of wanderlust made his way onto a Thomas Cook flight and ended up on the other side of world in Glasgow, Scotland. Staff cleaning the plane after the 8046km, 10-hour flight found the harmless snake curled up under a row of seats and contacted animal rescue experts from the Scottish SPCA. 

And finally, an Egypt Air flight from Cairo to Kuwait was forced to make an emergency landing earlier this month after a cobra bit a passenger. The 48-year-old passenger, who owns a reptile shop in Kuwait, had hidden the Egyptian cobra in a carry-on bag and was trying to control the snake when it bit his hand and slithered away beneath the seats.

Fire on plane closes OR Tambo runway 

When the tyre of Global Aviation charter plane burst and caught fire at OR Tambo International airport in November, the runway was closed down, causing minor delays. The aircraft, destined for Lilongwe, Malawi, was carrying 120 passengers and seven crew. No injuries were reported and the fire had been extinguished.

Pilot lands plane at wrong airport 

A foreign pilot was been suspended from flying after landing an Indonesian passenger jet at the wrong airport in a "serious" breach of safety. The Sriwijaya Air plane, carrying 96 passengers and six crew, was meant to land at Minangkabau International airport in the city of Padang, but instead descended to the Tabing air force base some 12 kilometres away.

Fake pilot scams Lufthansa-owned airline 

An unemployed 32-year-old Italian man was stopped at Turin's Caselle airport on suspicion that he had successfully used false IDs, a cap and uniform to convince the crew of a Air Dolomiti (Lufthansa's budget airline) flight that he was a pilot. By doing this, he managed to fly for free inside the cockpit aboard a commercial flight from Munich, Germany, to Turin. The man, who wasn't identified, didn't touch the controls while in the cockpit. Police caught up with the man at the Turin airport terminal after tailing him for months and receiving a tip.

Plane door crashes to the ground 

A Seattle neighbourhood was left stunned after a 'landing gear door of a Boeing 767' fell from the sky and crashed to the ground in September. Nobody was injured when the door, said to be the size of a refrigerator door, narrowly missed a car as it hit the ground and skipped about 9 metres (30 feet) before stopping. Several pieces of the carbon fiber door broke off.

Baby born on Emirates flight 

A pregnant Filipina woman's Emirates flight from Manilla to Dubai took a perplexing turn when her little baby boy was born in the toilets of the aircraft at only 27 weeks. In honour of his special birthplace, his mother named him EK after the Emirates flight code. The airline had to perform an emergency landing at the Ho Chi Minh airport in Vietnam where mother and child were taken to hospital to recover. 

Flight delayed over pj complaint 

A Qantas flight bound from LA to Melbourne was delayed after two first class passengers refused to fly without size extra large pajamas. The Australian couple complained to staff, and would not accept another pair from business class, so they decided to leave the plane. After waiting 30 minutes to offload the pair's bags, the flight departed and was able to make it to Australia on schedule.

1time explosion shock

Passengers aboard a 1time flight from Cape Town to Durban in June were left rather shaken when a loud bang, sounding like an explosion came from the back of the aircraft and what felt like extreme turbulence followed. Former 1time CEO Blackie Komani responded to the incident by citing a 1Time report, compiled by the airlines engineers and Senior Captain Martin, stating "it was a minor incident caused by unstable weather patterns on the decent."

Sexist passenger removed from flight 

Let's make it very clear that our loyalties definitely lie with the pilot in this case, not the passenger. 

A female pilot for Brazilian Trip Airlines tossed a passenger off a flight because he was making sexist comments about women flying planes. A statement released by the airline said the pilot ejected the man before takeoff as he made loud, sexist comments upon learning the pilot was a woman. The jet continued on to the state of Goias after a one-hour delay.

Read more on:    flights  |  travel international

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