Working with the general public is often a chore, but managing them while cooped up in a tiny cabin mid-air takes the patience of a saint.

Add to the equation the unpredictable nature of the weather and the mechanics of the plane and cabin crew need to have nerves of steel when on the job.

Dealing with deaths mid-flight, severe lightning storms and aggressive drunks is all in a day's work according to busy flight attendants who have revealed their most bizarre experiences in the sky.

In an eye-opening Reddit thread, flight attendants and their families have been sharing tales of the strangest or scariest incidents that have happened to them while at work.


The tales provide an true insight into how the role is far more than just a "trolley dolly".

For some, Mother Nature was instrumental in their terrifying journey, including user AlamosX, who said: "I worked for a private charter airline for a year and half and lots of things happen, but one of the more memorable was when a bird struck on takeoff.

"The plane was covered in guts and feathers when it came down and you could smell the burning feathers, the engine was even shut down as a precaution."

But even if measures are out of your control, a flight attendant still has to keep their head while everyone else around them is falling to pieces.

Like when a user called Transatlantique claims they had to cope with an emotional Sarah Palin during a flight out of Denver, Colorado.

They said: "I was a flight attendant for a regional airline working on board Embraer 145s and a highlight of my career was Sarah Palin freaking the f**k out when we got hit by lightning.

"We were headed to Rapid City SD out of Denver, this was long after the 2008 election so it took me a moment to even realise it was her, and the first words she spoke to me were, "you have alcohol on this plane right?".

"We went through a storm and got hit by lightning that left a baseball size hole in the tail.

"She was screaming and carrying on and I was just like, chill lady, we aren't going to crash."

Heavy storms have an unsettling effect on passengers but cabin crew are always required to keep a calm head, no matter how tough the flight becomes. Photo / iStock
Heavy storms have an unsettling effect on passengers but cabin crew are always required to keep a calm head, no matter how tough the flight becomes. Photo / iStock

The same level of calmness applies to when passengers die on the plane - something which is actually a regular occurrence - as one of the main jobs for the cabin crew is to make the family and other customers as comfortable as possible for the rest of the journey, no matter what it takes.

One user called Primus852 revealed his wife worked on a German airline and she had to carry a dead woman through the plane on one flight she was working.

He said: "The old lady passed away mid flight. [Now at this airline, the rules say that] if someone dies, they are to put them in the restroom, but the purser decided it was humiliating.

"So my wife being one of the stronger flight attendants and him being the only male, they had to drag/carry the old lady through the plane to the crew rest, where they have beds to sleep in during their breaks.

"Dead people are really heavy and none of the other passengers dared to help."

But thanks to the unpredictability of human nature, a large percentage of the worst scenarios experienced by cabin crew on planes come down to the unruly passengers, often because of drugs or alcohol.

Like a user called KS1867 said of their mother's worst experience: "My mom was once on a flight where a man got so drunk that he decided to p**s on the two people sitting next to him.

"One being an underaged girl and the other being a dwarf and when the Air Marshall arrested him he asked "Am I being arrested because it was sexual."

"So they tacked on sexual assault to the charges."

Meanwhile, another user called C0SMIC_PLAGU3 revealed one of their worst experiences was when: "We had to remove a woman and her two little kids from the plane that were on their way to a trip to Disney World.

"This was because TSA found meth and a pipe in her bag."

Unsurprisingly, with all of these scenarios regularly occurring on flights, cabin crew become adept at dealing with issues.

In fact for some, the withering put-downs they accumulate become a necessary part of the job, like one witnessed by the user SirCharlesOfUSA.

He said: "It was 9 o clock at night on Hawaiian Airlines and the flight attendants had just finished their coffee service, while about three rows in front of me, a couple was having an argument.

"The girlfriend was screaming at the boyfriend about how everything was awful and several times the flight attendants came over and tried to ask her to calm down.

"Finally, one flight attendant walked to her row and said: "Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to remain quiet or I will escort you off this plane."

"The woman laughed and retorted: "We're over the Pacific Ocean," to which the flight attendant simply replied: "Yep.""