There are a lot of things that have the power of delaying your vacation fun—some are just more expected than others. Mechanical issues are annoying, but unavoidable. A diverted flight because of one passenger choking another over a reclined chair? Now that's something else entirely. Ahead: a brief history of the wacky reasons why airplanes have been grounded.
Open Airplane Doors
It's straight out of a nightmare: You're cruising 10,000 feet off the ground and a funny noise fills the airplane cabin. Turns out, one of the doors has been open for the entire flight so far. This is a real thing that happened earlier this year (read about it here). Luckily, no one was hurt and the plane returned to the ground safely before anything tragic could occur.
Passengers Choking Other Passengers
No one really like a reclined seat—they aren't entirely comfortable to sit in and they're even worse to sit behind. On a Southwest flight heading to San Francisco from Los Angeles, one passenger choked another flyer over a reclined seat debacle. The crew had to turn the flight around—only 30 minutes after it had taken off. Police were waiting at the gate for the two travelers.
Last June, one passenger on a United Airlines flight from Rome to Chicago caused a flight to make an impromptu landing in Belfast all because of the in-flight snacks. The passenger allegedly stood during the plane's takeoff (while the seatbelt sign was illuminated, of course) and refused to sit down until he was served a snack. After being turned down, he became disorderly and assaulted the crew. In short: Don't be that guy.
Last August, Bulgarian police had to meet a Turkey-bound airplane in Sofia, Bulgaria after a drunk woman began kicking doors and windows mid-flight.
Sometimes a bachelor party isn't all fun and games. Recently, a grou of six men celebrating one of the member's impending nuptials caused a Slovakia-bound airplane to make an impromptu stop in Berlin thanks to their drunken debauchery. After being refused alcohol, one of the men allegedly attempted to strip onboard.
Sometimes it doesn't take anything extreme to ground an airplane. A group of around 25 friends on a flight from San Diego to Chicago found their seats split in the cabin and decided that the best way to communicate would be to yell across the rows. After refusing to turn their phones to airplane mode and verbally abusing the crewmembers who wouldn't serve them alcohol, the airplane made a stop in Amarillo, Texas to drop the unruly flyers off.
There's a lot to be desired when it comes to airplane food, but one passenger—who turned out to be a senior vice-president at Korean Air—was quite surprised when she found her macadamia nuts served in a bag and not the fancy plating she expected. The plane hadn't technically taken off, but the flyer demanded that the plane taxi back to the gate and drop the crewmember who served her off at the airport. The end result: At one point, she was facing up to 10 years in prison for delaying the flight in such a manner.
If there's one thing that will set a group of people aflutter, it's an unexpected rat. Just imagine finding said rat on an airplane, where there's nowhere to run or hide. Shortly after departing an airport in Hangzhou, a flight crew identified a rat on board the Loong Air flight. Luckily, no cruising-altitude terror ensued, but the thought is still nightmare-inducing.