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What's your worst or unique flight delay issue or story?

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A swarm of bees mobbing an engine that needed a top up of oil. Typically that is quick, normal maintenance easily done between flights, but this was a 90 minute delay. We were in San Antonio and there was concern they were killer bees. Not sure if they just flew off on their own or if they were chased off somehow, but we didn’t cancel. A long time ago (2000 or so) on a United 727 an exit row window fogged up during the prior flight. We waited about an hour on a dry, sunny summer day in Denver and off we went after it cleared up. Captain said he’d never had that happen before in decades of flying. Also on United, had a 747 develop an engine problem out of Beijing near Khabarovsk, Russia and back to PEK we went on three engines. I was in business class and they dumped us in a barely acceptable hotel. Coach got dumped in a prostitute-infested motel which had people screaming at the gate agents the next day. UA was in bankruptcy at the time and it showed. We tried to leave again 28 hours after initial departure, only to find on taxi the engine overheating already. I got a better hotel on my own and rebooked via Tokyo to get home two days late. I’ve also had multiple diversions to Iceland and Atlantic Canada due to babies born extremely prematurely in flight, which was unfortunate for both mothers and babies as these were true medical emergencies. Yeah, I’ve flown too much.

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Snowy day in winter in St. Louis. Flight was going to get out JUST in time to beat snow storm. Runway already starting to get snow covered. We take off, turn around, and land. Deicer not working. They deplane everyone back into the gate while they try to either fix the deicer or get another plan. All later flights are already canceled due to the impending snow storm. Every minute that passes and tarmac is getting icier. After 30 minutes, they reboard us on same plane with deicer fixed. They rush us on to beat the storm. When it comes time to close the door, they can't get it shut. While it was open, it got covered in ice and now won't seal. Female flight attendants are slamming this fucking door as hard as they can, can't get it to shut. Male pilot comes out of cockpit, short sleeve pilots shirt, goes down the steps onto the tarmac himself, in his short sleeves in a snow storm, knocking ice off the plane. Comes back in, covered in snow, slams the door as hard as he can, success. Cheers on the plane. We take off the snowy runway successfully, sighs of relief. We barely beat that storm out. Then we turn around and go back again. Deicer still not working. Mother fucker. All flights have already been canceled and I'm trapped in St. Louis.

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Alligator on the runway in Florida

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When i lived in Chicago, got diverted to Indianapolis due to weather and then held on the ground waiting for ORD to reopen. Had a bad feeling so I went ahead and reserved a rental car from the plane. An hour later we pulled into a gate and canceled. By then all the rental cars were gone, so I wound up giving a group of consultants (KPMG, McKinsey and Accenture) a 1am lift back to Chicago. Was a huge pain, but made some new friends.

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A happy story for a change - Flight got cancelled due to technical issues in Reykjavik. Airline booked us a hotel for the night and rebooked the next day. Gave 100$ per person for incidentals and refunded full ticket fare (round trip). So my and my wife's flights to Iceland were free!

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Pilot had a heart attack mid-flight and was stretchered off ice cold. Looked like he was dead by the time we landed in Houston and emergency crew rushed in to attend to him. Also fell asleep once and my flight was diverted to Louisiana due to bad weather in Houston. Woke up after flight landed and saw people getting off (apparently people who were supposed to connect from Houston to Louisiana). I got off the plane sleepy-eyed and realized after 5 minutes that I wasn’t in the right airport. They wouldn’t let me back on the plane!

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Flight didn’t have a phalenge

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Pilot’s seat would not push forward and his legs could not reach the pedals. Flight delayed for maintenance

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A5 reminded me. Best travel disruption story is that my wife and I met in Europe where she was stuck due to volcano. No volcano, no wife for me. 😀

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Happy story - signed up for United's we'll give you credit if you change flights thingy - was called on and they let me know that they can give me $100 to change flight to one that was leaving 30mins earlier than my original flight (destination changed to EWR instead of LGA), they then realized their system was faulty and they gave me $300 credit instead and then my original flight was delayed while I happily boarded my new flight! Yay!

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The man next to me in first fell asleep and I looked over and saw a huge bug crawl out of his nose!!

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Hong Kong to Oklahoma City with layovers in LA and Atlanta. Someone got belligerently drink on the LAX-ATL leg and they set down in OKC to kick him off. Told the FA it was my final destination and they let me off and even rummaged through cargo to find my bags while they dealt with the paperwork. Arrived 7 hours early.

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Diverted from PHX to Tucson because the PHX air traffic control tower was on fire!

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In the past I've had a plane in PHX where the wings were too hot for takeoff. This morning we were backing away from the gate and there was fuel leaking from the engine.

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i put a plane over weight..and I weigh 115 lbs. called my name via loudspeaker and i had to deplane

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9/11 - flight from Houston to Chicago diverted to Omaha. Drove myself back home 2 days later.

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Not a long delay, but pre 9/11, I was on a teeny 8-10 seat puddle jumper between RDU and Newport News. No galley, only a curtain between cockpit and passengers. Was in first seat behind cockpit and about the same distance from crew as I would have been in the backseat of a minivan. Pilot was tapping on a dial over his head. Copilot looks out the window and says something to pilot who then pulls out a roll of tape, grabs a strip and places over the gauge. Then the announcement: "ladies and gentlemen, our gauge says our engine isnt working. We just looked out the window and it IS working, so we are just going to go ahead and go."

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Flying out of CLE. Started descending right after takeoff. Pilot said engine trouble. After landing he said a bird hit the propeller. Landing in ORD, landing gear got stuck. Circled a few times and it got unstuck so pilot said it would be a normal landing. Full complement of emergency vehicles on both sides of the runway to welcome us.

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KLM 747 into Schiphol and about to land when pilot decided to give it a miss and blasted full engine power to lift up again. Scared everyone shitless, a few vomited. Circled back to the runway and actually landed the second time around. Had a tail strike while taking off on a 777, I thought for sure we'd turn around but didn't. Halfway though an 11h hour KLM Amsterdam to Sao Paolo in a 777, had mechanical issues and turned back. Then still had to board a new plane for the 11h flight, crew was friendly but it was exhausting. In 2006 did the shortest commercial flight in the world, 1.5 minutes from takeoff to landing from Westray to Papa Westray in North Scotland. Finally, a nice one. Recently flew business on an inaugural LATAM route, did a nice flyover when landing and got a water cannon salute.

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Was changing planes in STL in the ‘90’s and TWA went on strike/had a walkout while I was busy sprinting to make a connection (didn’t know that it wasn’t time critical until arriving at the gate).

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