18 Airport Horror Stories That Have Us Never Wanting To Travel Again

Kasia Mikolajczak
plane on the tarmack
Unsplash | Iwan Shimko

Now that travel is back in full force, people are experiencing terrible airport issues. From never-ending lines to check-in to cramped airplane space, it's not pretty out there.

If you've ever encountered a trip from hell, I bet you'll feel better knowing you're not the only one, eh? So let's look at some of these wild stories that are bound to get the hair on your head stand up straight, lol.

This Unfortunate Delay

black dog wearing a harness looking at the camera
Pexels | Pexels

"I’m next to go through security, and DHS stops the line to run a drug dog through. It took so long that I missed my flight, which caused me to miss my connecting flight. An 8-hour trip turned into 24 hours."

Oh, boy. Just what were they looking for, huh?

This Mistaken Identity

open passport
Unsplash | ConvertKit

"One time when I was boarding a plane, I was denied entry. Why? Because, apparently, the people who check passports thought I had stolen someone else's passport and committed identity fraud. The photo in my passport was me when I had short hair, and when I was boarding the plane, I had an afro. I literally had to explain for, like, 10 whole minutes that I'm the same guy and I just grew out my hair."

Oh, brother.

This Interesting Encounter

brown urn
Unsplash | Jason Leung

"We brought my dad's ashes to Florida to spread them in the ocean. They were in a small bag, but TSA at MKE General Mitchell airport thought it was meth."

Oh, my goodness, ha, ha.

This Men's Room Disaster

Melissa McCarthy in the bathroom scene from Bridesmaids.

"I was at O'Hare, and decided to use the men's room. While washing my hands, all I could hear were these horrible sounds coming from some guy in one of the stalls, who was in intestinal distress. It would be a humongous, thunderous fart, followed by a splash that can only be described as a bowling ball hitting a pool of water. This went for about three or four rounds. This old guy washing his hands next to me said it didn't sound altogether different than combat in the Korean War."

I can't stop laughing at that. This is why I try to avoid public bathrooms at all costs, ha, ha.

This Weather Issue

person walking through snowy conditions holding an umbrella
Unsplash | Craig Whitehead

"I was scheduled to fly from Philadelphia to Chicago. Philadelphia weather was completely clear, but Chicago apparently had snowy weather all day. During boarding, the pilot said there was a short window of time that we could take off because Chicago was limiting their arrivals."

"Since airlines have awful boarding systems, it took too much time to board and we missed the window. We [deplaned]. For the next 8 or 9 hours, the airline delayed the flight a half-hour every half-hour until they just canceled it around 10 p.m. Since they didn't cancel any flights to Chicago, all of the passengers for the next flights to Chicago also showed up at the airport. By the end of the evening, there were 4 or 5 planes full of passengers for the day's flights to Chicago all in one general seating area. It was super crowded and miserable."

Yikes! I don't envy anybody stuck there.

This Fuel Mishap

airport tarmac
Unsplash | Ashim D’Silva

"Most recently my plane got moved to another gate because they spilled fuel all over the tarmac. There were fire engines everywhere and multiple trucks with bags of grit being swept all over the ground to soak it up. Hardly the worst story but I found it hilarious that such a mistake could be made and how dangerous it could have been."

Wow, I've never heard of that.

This Miserable Trip

woman walking through a train station
Giphy | HBO

"I was sold a fake Air Canada plane ticket at 16 and ended up stranded at Pearson International in Toronto without a way home to Vancouver. I ended up taking a Greyhound for three days to British Columbia."

Aww, that must've sucked, huh?

This Memorable Journey

Delta plane taking off
Unsplash | Trac Vu

"My family flew with Delta, and we spent the whole flight with a guy leaning all the way back in his chair, and two kids kicking our seats the whole flight home. They kept throwing toys through the gaps in the seat. It was awful!"

That's literally my worst nightmare.

This Funny Story

Ricky Gervais laughing and covering his face with his hand

"Watched a guy arguing with staff for about half an hour as to why he couldn’t take a petrol chainsaw on as hand luggage. Actually no, that’s my best experience."

I kind of wish I was there to witness that.

This Eyebrow-Raising Experience

Hand holding white salt crystals
Unsplash | Pavel Neznanov

"Heading back home from Europe through Amsterdam, which for those who don’t know, is one of the most secure airports in the world. I had a container of salt from when I was at the Salzburg Salt Mine. The security person was searching my stuff and found this, and accidentally pops the top off of this container and the salt spills out. It’s crystals and white and it’s white-colored. So you can expect what the security person thought it was."

Note to self — never travel with salt, lol.

This Odd Incident

woman looking confused
Giphy | Harlem

"The time when someone freaked out and opened an emergency door, and no one at the airport had the key to turn off the beeping."

That does not sound like fun. Am I right? That would have annoyed me so bad.

This Lovely Experience

cruise ship on the water with blue sky and coulds in the background
Unsplash | Josiah Weiss

"After a cruise, so there were thousands of people trying to get on their flights. Smaller airport. My airline didn't open the ticket counter until two hours before my flight so I couldn't check-in for hours. No place to sit, one Starbucks with 100 people in line, no place else to eat or even get a bottle of water. Screaming children everywhere, laying down taking up multiple seats. Ticket counter finally opens, we get checked in and go through security only to find most of the airport under construction so again, hardly any place to sit and only one restaurant open with a 1.5-hour wait for a table but couldn't wait since our flight left in 1.5 hours."

That sounds like a total nightmare.

This Unfortunate Meal

Adam Sandler saying "Well, that sucks."

"I ate a plate of catfish gumbo in departures at Cleveland Airport. I vomited it up all over my seat, lap, and Kindle shortly after takeoff. No other seats were free, so I had to clean myself and the seat as best I could, then sit in it again until we landed in Atlanta."

Oh, no!

This Horrible Treatment

older man in a wheelchair
Unsplash | Harry cao

"My niece and I were flying back to Florida with my dad, 89, who was in a wheelchair. My niece was carrying his walker, so they waved us toward the handicap area. The TSA agent told my dad that he had to remove his shoes and WALK THROUGH the handicap gate. I know better than to protest with TSA, so I asked nicely for a supervisor. The supervisor insisted my dad use the walker, in his socks. We couldn't help him walk, he couldn't go in the wheelchair, and thank God he didn't fall. TSA in Atlanta, you suck!"

Wow, I can't believe that.

This Supposed Thread

person running through a building

"I was checking in at [Charles de Gaulle in France] for a flight to LA, and a security guard came running through the terminal yelling 'fermez,' at the customer service staff. Turns out, someone left a bag unattended, and they treated it like a bomb threat. Thousands of people evacuated the crowded terminal, and it was chaos for the rest of the day, since most of us missed our flights."

I can't only imagine the chaotic scene there.

This Weird Airport Experience

empty airport seats
Unsplash | Jacques Le Gall

"Landed in Chicago O'Hare from Houston, having to get to the next concourse within an hour on foot only to have the concourse changed and flight delayed by five hours. I got sent to concourse D and I'm not joking when I say that I'm sure of the six or seven people milling around, only myself and maybe one other were living souls. The concourse was empty and everything was closed at 5 pm. It was super creepy and I was so relieved when that damn plane arrived. Maybe not horrible but not recommended."

That would have creeped me out, too.

This Gross Encounter

cartoon character saying "Ugh! that's gross!"
Giphy | Paramount+

"I saw someone all of a sudden start projectile vomiting all over the place."

Oh my goodness, seeing something like this ought to make you lose your own lunch too, huh? I feel bad for the person, but I wouldn't want to witness that either.

This Unpleasant Experience

person holding laptop looking at airport screens
Unsplash | Anete Lūsiņa

"I was on a flight heading home from Wisconsin. It was a connecting flight so I ended up getting off somewhere in Oklahoma, I think. I don’t quite remember so I wait and at this point, it’s 1:00 a.m., I'm beat just wanna be in bed and my next flight was supposed to leave at 1:30 a.m. At 1:45 a.m. I'm told the flight was canceled. I'm pissed but I don’t even have the energy to complain. So it’s 1:45 am I'm like 700 miles from home and have nowhere to go (the nearest hotel was, like, eight miles away). I ended up sleeping on the airport floor and got on my flight the next day at around 11 a.m. I got home safely but never flew that airline again."

Serves them right, huh?

Okay, this reminds me how much I hate flying.

Larry David from Curb Your Enthusiasm throwing a bag into overhead plane comparment
Giphy | Curb Your Enthusiasm

Don't get me wrong, I like to travel, I just don't enjoy the whole process of getting to the airport, waiting around, and then flying in a cramped plane, alright? I hope this whole experience gets better someday, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for it, lol.