We’ve all heard the familiar adage it’s the journey that matters, not the destination — at least when it comes to crazy travel stories. With all of the globetrotting that the staff here at ShermansTravel does throughout the year, we certainly have more than our fair share of hilarious (and somewhat awful) tales. So we thought we’d share the best (and the worst) with our readers to keep in mind the next time you take off in an aluminum tube full of strangers.
Is This for Real?
A friend often tells the story of a nightmare transatlantic flight where the woman sitting next to him did cocaine off her folding table. Later, she locked herself in the lavatory and wouldn’t come out without the flight crew’s intervention. On that same flight, a woman a few rows in front of him suddenly removed her very tall wig and put it under the seat in front of her.
— Laura Motta, Director of Publishing
A Vision of Pink
During a flight to Las Vegas, I sat next to a girl with bright pink hair. We struck up a conversation, chatting about going to the West Coast for the first time. Eventually, I noticed that the carry-on under the seat in front of her was an odd shape. Upon further examination…it seemed to be breathing. A few minutes later, she brought the bag up to her lap…and out popped a bright pink dog. And when I say bright pink, I mean neon from head to toe. The pup (no more than 5 pounds) then proceeded to jump on my lap and ride with me the rest of the way to Vegas. Luckily, I’m a dog lover, so I didn’t mind.
— Scot Gale, Account Executive/strategist
Air Sickness… Enough Said!
I was on a flight home that was so unbelievably turbulent we actually had to ground halfway in Memphis. Passengers became so sick that flight attendants were asking for spare airsickness bags over the intercom — and I received a complimentary gin and tonic in return for my own. Needless to say, this flight rivaled the infamous Blueberry Pie-Eating Contest scene in the movie Stand by Me.
— Anne Rodriguez-Jones, Freelance Editor
A Series of Unfortunate Overbooking Events
A flight I was on from L.A. to San Francisco one morning was completely overbooked. It started innocently enough; the airline was trying to find room for a non-English speaker who needed to catch a connecting flight to Hong Kong with her family. Then the staff realized that they didn’t set aside seats for three crew members who had to serve on a flight out of San Francisco, so they took an hour to find a trio of volunteers to take a later flight. Unfortunately, that meant that there was still no room for the poor woman. But amid a series of more unfortunate events, they mistakenly invited her to board. When she was asked to step off again, just after she’d gone beyond the plane doors, the woman — probably not fully understanding what was going on — flopped onto the galley floor clutching her luggage and began screaming at the top of her lungs, refusing to budge. This continued for a full half hour until a Cantonese-speaking traveler was finally able to explain the problem and talk her off the plane.
— Mark Bloom, VP of Business Development & Marketing
When cheap fares are available, I often fly home from New York City to Rochester, NY. It’s a very quick 50-minute flight. Once, I was meant to fly out on Thursday around 10:30 p.m., but because of some thunderstorms, my flight was cancelled after a couple hours of delays. I ended up being put on a flight the next morning, departing at 10:30 a.m. But, of course, the 10:30 flight gets canceled due to a mechanical malfunction. I get bumped to a 4:30 p.m. flight. The 4:30 flight ends up leaving at… 11:30 p.m. that night. So, basically, I could have driven upstate and back, twice, in the amount of time it took me to fly there. Oye!
I Didn’t Get the Memo
I was one of the first people to get on a 10am flight to Costa Rica, when something strange started happening: As more people came on board, they all began greeting each other, calling out pleasantries and laughing across the rows. They more or less filled up the rest of the plane, and it only got more boisterous after takeoff — pretty sure the flight crew was running low on mini liquor bottles by the second hour of the flight. What was going on?? In the end, I learned that I’d unwittingly boarded the ad-hoc party plane of an insurance company that had just won a free trip at a national conference. So much for the nap that I’d planned to take during the flight!
— Christine Wei, associate editor
The above message appeared on the seat-back screen in front of me during a recent Virgin America flight. The person in seat 23F? A creepy old man who could’ve been a twin of the former Backstreet Boys manager, Lou Pearlman.
— James Green, digital sales manager