Last week a British Airways flight from London to Dubai had to return to Heathrow Airport 40 minutes after takeoff after a “smelly poo” in one of the toilets onboard meant the flight was unable to continue.
The disruption could cost British Airways $134,000 worth of compensation payouts to disgruntled passengers who were delayed by the problem.
But this unfortunate issue is just one on a long list of crazy reasons that flights in the past few years have been delayed, rerouted, or returned to their departure airports.
Here are some of the others:
Woman with pig
Looks like we’re still waiting for the day “when pigs fly.” (Photo: Thinkstock)
In November 2014, a woman was ejected from a US Airways flight in Connecticut after fellow passengers complained about the potbellied pig she had brought aboard. The pig, which reportedly weighed 70 pounds, was initially allowed onboard as an emotional support animal. The pet hog was quickly accused of being disruptive and smelly — blocking the aisle and unsettling other travelers. The flight was delayed when the crew asked the woman and her porky pal to disembark.
Man’s offensive T-shirt
Unfortunately, you can’t bleep out offensive language in real life. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Student Daniel Podolsky was removed from a Southwest flight from Dallas to Chicago during a stopover in St. Louis after crew deemed the language on his T-shirt to be offensive. Podolsky was wearing a shirt he had recently been given at the SXSW festival that promoted the Comedy Central show Broad City. The slogan on the T-shirt read “Broad F***ing City” — complete with the cuss word fully spelled out.
Podolsky had been wearing a jacket over the shirt when he boarded in Dallas but later removed it during the flight. The plane was then rerouted to St. Louis due to bad weather, and when he got off the plane to use the bathroom, crew refused to let him reboard. Despite lengthy discussions with crew at the gate, Podolsky stubbornly refused to change or cover his shirt. He was not allowed to board the plane but was eventually allowed to take a later flight after agreeing to change his shirt.
Gérard Depardieu did not take kindly to being told when he can and cannot use the lavatory. (Photo: Tony Barson/FilmMagic)
After boarding a flight from Paris to Dublin back in 2011, French actor Gérard Depardieu forced a two-hour delay to the flight after he urinated on the floor in the first-class cabin. The aging star reportedly insisted on using the toilet before takeoff, and when cabin crew refused, he made the decision to go on the carpet in front of his seat. The plane, which was taxiing to the runway at the time, had to be returned to the gate and thoroughly cleaned before continuing its journey.
Snakes on a plane (and other creepy-crawlies)
Did we learn nothing from Samuel L. Jackson? Snakes and planes just don’t mix. (Photo: Thinkstock)
No, this is not just the title of a Samuel L. Jackson movie. In December 2012 an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to Kuwait had to make an emergency landing after a Jordanian man was bitten by a snake that he had sneaked onboard in his carry-on luggage. The plane made the emergency landing in the Egyptian resort town of Al Ghardaqa after the man was bitten by the venomous cobra.
But this isn’t the only reptile to cause in-flight drama. San Juan airport in Puerto Rico has to regularly delay or reroute landings because of giant iguanas on the runway. These prehistoric beasts can grow up to 6 feet in length and could cause a serious issue if a plane hit one while attempting to land.
Bad movie choices
In-flight entertainment is not the same as Netflix. (Photo: Thinkstock)
A United Airlines flight from Denver to Baltimore was rerouted to Chicago in February 2013 to remove a family that had complained about an in-flight movie. A couple, who were traveling with their two young children, had voiced concern over violent and sexually explicit content in the PG-13-rated movie Alex Cross, which was being projected onto a drop-down screen in front of their 4- and 8-year-old sons.
The parents calmly talked to cabin crew and had asked for the monitor to be turned off but were informed that wasn’t possible. They then asked if the captain had the power to switch off the screen.
A short while later the captain announced that he was diverting the flight due to “security concerns.” Upon landing in Chicago, FBI and Customs and Border Patrol officers boarded the flight and escorted the stunned family from their seats and off the plane. Within five minutes the security forces determined that the family was not a threat and booked them on a later flight home.
Nutty behavior over nuts
Bowlless macadamia nuts are not first-class-worthy. (Photo: Thinkstock)
A Korean Air flight from New York’s JFK airport, bound for South Korea, had to turn back to the gate after the airline’s own senior vice president caused a massive disturbance over a bag of nuts. in December 2014 Cho Hyun-ah freaked out onboard after a bag of macadamia nuts was not served to her in a bowl, as was supposedly the correct procedure when in first class.
The screaming executive demanded that the flight be turned around and the flight attendant responsible for the nut service removed from the plane before it could continue. She also insisted that the cabin crew chief, who was called to hear her complaints, kneel down in front of her and beg for forgiveness.
The plane returned to the gate and the reprimanded flight attendant was removed from the plane, causing a 20- to 30-minute delay for the 250 passengers. After news of the story hit the media, after initially being covered up by the airline, Cho was forced to resign from her job and later had criminal charges brought against her. She was given a one-year prison sentence for obstructing aviation safety law. She is also facing a civil suit from the flight attendant.
Freaked-out flight attendant
If the people in charge start freaking out, everyone else will surely follow. (Photo: Getty Images)
Passengers were confronted with some highly unusual behavior from an American Airlines flight attendant at Dallas airport back in March 2012 as their plane bound for Chicago taxied toward the runway.
After initially confusing the airport for Houston during her preflight announcements, the cabin attendant then came over the PA and announced that the plane was having mechanical difficulties. But shortly after, a second flight attendant told the passengers that the plane was fine and would be taking off on time.
Things then went from bad to worse when the now frantic flight attendant repeatedly informed passengers over the PA that she was no longer responsible for the plane’s safety and that she believed it would crash. Cue the mass hysteria.
The woman was then restrained by her colleagues and several passengers, who wrestled her into a seat. The plane was forced to return to the gate with her screaming the entire way. After she was removed from the plane and taken to a local hospital for evaluation, the flight managed to get on its way, about an hour behind schedule.
Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.
Learn more about ourtravel policy.