In 2016, a United Airlines flight from New Jersey bound for Texas had to make a detour because of concerns about a “strong” odour. This is just one of the many unusual incidents that happened within the aviation world resulting in a flight delay or travel disruption. In fact, flight delays are common, and trivial matters can bring about major travel inconveniences, holding up an entire plane. Here’s just the tip of the iceberg:
#1 Wish for a safe flight… with coins?!
Feeling lucky? Around the world, people throw coins into fountains and wishing wells to get blessed with good fortune. Here in Asia, a 76-year old Chinese woman threw coins at the engine of a plane to wish for a safe flight. Needless to say, the plane was grounded overnight due to safety precautions. What’s more ironic was that the carrier was called Lucky Air… …
Passengers on board had no choice but to fly to their destination the next day. If you think this is preposterous, an outgoing flight from Shanghai was also delayed for almost six hours for the very same reason. And we just got news that an elderly Chinese woman grounded her flight after she tossed coins into the jet’s engine to “wish for a safe flight” at Hohhot Baita International Airport in Inner Mongolia on Tuesday (Apr 16). Not again!
#2 A stinky flight
Believe it or not, a Vietnamese Airlines (VN) flight was delayed because the plane hit the toilet truck when taxiing. Toilet truck? Yes, it’s a truck with a tank that collects waste from an airplane toilet. Contrary to popular belief, the captain of the plane does not have the ability to detach the toilet tank and send it plummeting mid-flight.
While there were no signs of a leak as passengers boarded the VN flight, the stench was reported to be pretty unbearable. What’s worse than having to hold your breath the entire time when travelling in air, right?
#3 Did you forget anything?
Sometime into its journey, a Malaysia-bound plane to Kuala Lumpur from Saudi Arabia had to make a detour back because a woman left her baby at the airport. You may think that forgetting one’s baby and consequently causing a flight delay is on a whole new level, but this is not new.
A similar incident occurred in 2018 where a German couple left their 5-year-old daughter at an airport in the Southern city of Stuttgart. The reason cited by the child’s mother was that she and her husband drove different cars home from the airport, and they both thought that their daughter was with the other parent.
Some love it, some simply hate it. The favourite fruit of many Singaporeans, durians, actually caused the delay of a Jakarta-bound flight just a few months back. Several passengers couldn’t stand the smell of the fruit, protesting for all two-tonnes of them to be removed from the cargo. The matter was so severe that passengers even came to blows with the cabin crew on board. Eventually, the durians were removed, leading to almost an hour of flight delay.
“It’s not illegal to carry durian in a flight as long as it is wrapped properly in accordance with flight regulations – carried inside the hold. Many airlines do this,” senior corporate communications manager Retri Maya said in a statement to the Jakarta Post.
Bear this in mind for future flights if you don’t wish to be the cause of a flight delay: check with your airline prior to boarding whether durians are permitted on board or as check-in!
Prepare for the unexpected
Without a doubt, flight delays are impossible to predict! Planes can be grounded due to technical issues and erratic weather conditions and even bizarre reasons like the abovementioned situations.These unforeseen circumstances cannot be entirely circumvented, but being well prepared can help you to minimise potential disruptions to your travel plans!
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Information is accurate as at 8 April 2019.