These are the most ridiculous reasons planes have been forced to make emergency landings
If you’ve ever flown before, then it’s a given that you’ve heard the safety advice that they dish out at the start of the journey, reminding you that in an emergency you’ll need to kick off your heels, adopt the brace position and hope for the best.
And while we all picture an emergency landing as something caused by some catastrophic event on board, the fortunate truth (and unfortunate at the same time) is that the large majority of all emergency landings are caused by passengers or crew being taken ill, rather than any immediate threat to safety. But between all the heart attacks, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t more quirky reasons for planes making unscheduled stops. Here are just a few.
1. A Whitney on board
A flight from Los Angeles to New York had to make an emergency landing at Kansas City because a passenger on board wouldn’t quit singing Whitney Houston’s "I Will Always Love You" at the top of her voice. Apparently, the impromptu performance started shortly after takeoff, and continued until the pilot made the unexpected diversion approximately halfway through the flight. Needless to say, other passengers were loving her considerably less. And yes, she was still singing even as she was removed from the plane. You can’t fault her commitment.
2. Snakes on a plane
In scenes reminiscent of the Hollywood blockbuster, an Aeroméxico flight was forced to make a very quick landing after a stowaway snake slid out of an overhead compartment and into the cabin. It’s still not entirely clear how the serpent snuck through security - or whether he had help - but major props to the two passengers who caught the snake “using a blanket and magazines” and held onto it until animal control were able to come and take it away. In a similar incident, a plane in Egypt was forced to make an emergency landing after it was discovered a passenger had smuggled a venomous cobra onboard.
3. A man that really wanted snacks
You know how it is: you’re flying, feeling a little peckish, fancy a packet of peanuts… so you climb aboard the snack trolley and ride it down the aisle, causing an emergency landing. No, no one else? Well that’s pretty much exactly what happened to one man on a flight from Dubai to Kozhikode in India, who jumped on the food cart and “nestled in” with the snacks, before becoming aggressive when he was asked to move. And I thought I was liable to a touch of hanger.
4. A poonami
Time and time again you hear horror stories about aeroplanes and bathrooms, and there’s a reason no one’s ever been overjoyed to sit next to one. At some point during a 12 hour flight, someone’s going to need to go. But spare a thought for those passengers sat near the toilet on a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Dubai, which was forced to turn around just 30 minutes after takeoff due to a phantom pooper who "decorated" the inside of the cubicle and left a smell so bad the pilot actually had to call a meeting of cabin crew. Next time someone whacks their cheesy feet out in front of you, just think about how much worse it could be.
5. A bunch of cows farted too much
Whenever I get on a flight, I always kind of wonder about all the weird stuff that might be being carried in the cargo hold below my feet. One thing I’d probably never bank on though? So many live cows that their methane emissions would cause the plane to overheat! But on a flight over the Irish Sea, the pilot mistakenly thought there was a fire on board after a sudden increase in temperature and sent out a distress signal; on closer inspection, all airport workers found was some guilty-looking cattle.
Then of course, there are the planes grounded by birds caught in the engines, the time a passenger smelt so bad the recycled air in the cabin became unbearable, and the family that were so offended by a PG-13 film being shown in front of their kids that they became “a security concern”, which is just kind of ironic. So next time you’re sitting on the runway, with every possible catastrophic situation running through your mind, just remember that, in actual fact, you’re more likely to fall victim to someone's bowel movements than you are an actual disaster. Enjoy your flight!