Flights From Hell flies you into the crazy skies with stories about the adventures and anxieties of airplane travel.

Commercial airline travel takes us far, far out of our comfort zone. We're herded into cylinders that zip hundreds of miles per hour at 30,000 feet, subjected to security screenings, confronted with delays and lost luggage, rushed to catch connecting flights, constrained to small seats, scrunched up with strangers, and surrounded by pathogens. Is it any wonder we end up becoming a bundle of raw nerves by journey's end?

Despite being a cold January the 3rd afternoon, the children’s excitement of escaping the cold of Buffalo Niagara in favour of Orlando and Walt Disney World had a buzz in both of the limousines that it took to bring our party of 10 to the airport from the hotel. Thankfully the curbside check-in was open, and with no line, checking all of our luggage was a breeze. It wasn’t until much later that I even noticed JetBlue had assessed me a $20 fee for using the curbside (which explained the lack of a line), in addition to having to pay for my golf clubs.

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This isn’t really a flight from hell, just an experience that I would love to share with you guys. Okay, so in July I went from SEA (Seattle) to YOW (Ottawa, Canada) with a stopover in EWR (Newark). The returning flight was the same, but with a stopover in YYZ (Toronto, Canada). The outbound flight was great, and I believe it was on United. The returning flight was an adventure in a way that an adult would have hated, but I loved because I was with my mom and brother, and I’m not an adult.

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My husband and I were flying from LHR to CUN for a friend’s wedding. Even though our flight was scheduled to depart around 11am, we were in full holiday mode so we decided to make our way to the gate to sit down with a celebratory drink before boarding.

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I normally fly SouthWest Air. But they didn’t have a morning flight from PHX to San Antonio. US Airways — US Airways Express — used to be America West Express – really is Mesa Airlines – had an 8:45am flight. Anyway, get to the airport and voila, airplane is 2.5 hours late. Should’ve taken SW Air. On the return flight 6:30pm Wednesday, it starts off delayed by 1 hour, then every 30 minutes they nudge up the delayed time. By the time the “departure 8:45pm” is displayed, it’s 7pm and I hear someone say, “This flight’s cancelled!” and storm off.

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Last year my friend and I were traveling back from Egypt to JFK on EgyptAir, when we noticed two children – a girl and boy both under 10 years 0ld – with their parents in the terminal. The kids were being kids playing with each other when we overhear the mother remark in dramatic tones how stressful it is to fly. We paid this no heed and boarded the plane to find our seats which were in the second to last row, middle and aisle seats.

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I am one of those travelers that always tries to book a window or aisle seat in advance or I arrive early to request it. With the first flight it was no issue, but unfortunately the second was fully booked with the only seats remaining being the middle seat in the middle row.

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I loathe flying. The entire experience is miserable, but worst of all is the seatmate lottery.

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This happened in 2012, on a flight from Jakarta to Dubai where I changed flight to JFK. Hell happened in the first leg on a Boeing 747-300ER. Because of the plane configuration, several seats in the back were 2-4-2 instead of 3-4-3. I chose the two-seats row, sitting by the aisle.

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Flying Through a Typhoon

March 7, 2014 Weather Stories

I fly fairly often and don’t mind turbulence, normally. However, on that day in 2009 I flew back from Taipei to Cork via Hong Kong and Amsterdam and I did mind it… a lot.

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Third-Party Site Changes Flight

March 2, 2014 Odds & Ends Stories

Over Labor Day weekend, my girlfriend and I decided to take a trip together to Seattle to sightsee and get away from work for a little bit. We had booked our flights separately, and I chose to book using Expedia to get a better deal on the hotel room as well as the flight. My […]

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Teen’s Air Travel Tribulations

February 27, 2014 Odds & Ends Stories

When I was in high school, we went on a Caribbean cruise for Christmas. The airline the cruise line made us use was TWA. This was right after the TWA crash over France, so flying that airline scared the life out of me. Nothing happened on the way over other than the plane being really […]

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Passenger Pretends Not to Speak English

February 23, 2014 Attendant & Pilot Stories

I’m a former flight attendant, and I was working a JFK to DFW trip. A woman from a French-speaking country (heard her speaking on her cell phone) enters the plane, and then plunks herself into a first class seat. I thought nothing of it. However about ten minutes later an elderly couple arrive, and it […]

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