The weirdest reasons for flight delays and cancellations

If you are a regular flyer then you might have accepted that flight delays and cancellations are bound to happen more often than you initially think. Either way, your holiday excitement is certainly slashed if you run into flight disruptions. That’s a way to kill the holiday spirit, right?


Some of these reasons will, however, make you wonder, some will make you sad and some might make you laugh!


Ground crew stuck in the cargo hold

Ground crew stuck in Cargo hold

In 2016, a Boeing 777-300 was scheduled for Angola when shortly after departure, from Porto, the airport realized it was missing a ground-handling staff member. Once the possibility of the crew member being trapped on board the Boeing aircraft was established, the aeroplane was diverted to Portugal’s capital Lisbon.


Upon landing, the man was discovered in the hold of the aircraft. He suffered from severe hypothermia and shock. Now, you might ask yourself how this could happen in the first place. Apparently, the man was loading the aircraft in the cargo hold, fell and then became unconscious. The cargo hold was locked and the aircraft departed Porto as planned until the airport noticed the missing man. What a story!


Iguanas on the plane

Iguanas on a plane

Have you travelled with your pets or taken them on a holiday? A man travelling from Cuba to Toronto thought it was a good idea to take his 4 pet Iguanas. However, the Iguanas were not officially declared but were secretly travelling in the man’s checked luggage aboard the WestJet flight. Upon arrival in Toronto, the Canadian customs discovered only 2 of the 4 Iguanas. The other 2 animals had escaped the suitcase and so, the hold of the aircraft had to be searched and fumigated in order to stop the reptiles from getting through to any wiring and potentially risking passenger safety.


Cat in the cockpit!

Cat in the cockpit

An escaped cat managed to delay and ground a flight for nearly 4 hours! Now, how can a cat cause that long of a delay? Well here is how: the cat was brought onto the aeroplane in a dedicated pet hand luggage basket and was safely stowed away until a passenger accidentally opened the door of the basket when attempting to stow his own luggage in the overhead lockers. The incident was quickly discovered and the search for Ripples the cat began. A search that started off with a delay of 20 minutes led to a final 4-hour delay of the Air Canada flight from Halifax to Toronto. In efforts to find the cat, by calling its name, the search continued. They even turned off the light in the cockpit to get the cat to come out of hiding.


Desperate times call for desperate measures. Not giving up, the crew started to look within the wiring in the frame of the aeroplane. Passengers claimed they were able to see into the cockpit and that it seemed like it had literally been taken apart. One can only imagine how the cat could have gotten itself so lost. A spokesperson from Air Canada later officially confirmed that the furry pet had gotten into the cockpit’s avionics. The good news is that the cat was eventually found, and soon after came the relief of the passengers on-board. However, before being able to depart, the aircraft had to be checked for damage which could have been caused by the cat’s visit to the aeroplane’s wiring. Poor cat!


Incorrect pyjamas

Incorrect Pyjamas

You won’t believe this story about these two stubborn passengers travelling on a Qantas Airways flight! Have you travelled in First Class? Yes? Well, then you’ll know that most airlines give out free pyjamas to their passengers, especially when travelling through the night. However, two passengers travelling on a flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne certainly were not happy with the pyjamas that were offered to them. According to Qantas staff, they were unable to provide XL pyjamas in First Class and were offered a pair of Business Class pyjamas instead. The pair refused the Business Class pyjamas explaining that, because of travelling in First Class, they expected products for First Class. To the other passengers’ delight, they left the aircraft shortly after and the flight schedule could commence after almost 30 minutes of delay!


Orange juice issues

Orange juice

Ever heard of an aeroplane being delayed due to a spilt orange juice? Passengers on the flight that was scheduled from London Gatwick to Denver USA, were told their aircraft was delayed. This was due to a passenger who had spilt his orange juice on the aeroplane causing an electrical fault and resulting in the grounding of the aeroplane. How can one orange juice cause that much chaos?


Snakes on a plane (not the movie)

Snakes on plane

Back in 2009, a Qantas passenger flight which also carried younger pythons led to the delay and cancellation of two additional flights. Of course, the snakes were carried as cargo load and placed in bags which were held inside designated plastic foam boxes with air holes for the reptiles. Little did anyone know, this would be the reptiles’ chance to claim their freedom. Upon arrival in Melbourne, it was discovered that the snakes had in fact gone missing. A reptile expert was called to the scene in Melbourne in order to find out where the snakes had gone, catch them and restore safety on-board the aircraft. However, the snakes stayed hidden and even after a thorough search of the aeroplane, they could not be found. There were no reports of passengers coming into contact with any of the snakes and it is thought the snakes had crawled or squeezed into small gaps in the aircraft. Of course, to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers on-board, the aircraft was fumigated to ensure that the snakes would not reappear. Either way, it was a successful getaway.


Collision with a toilet truck

Collision with a toilet truck

This certainly sounds like a nasty experience! Last year, at John F Kennedy airport in New York, there was a collision between a truck carrying well you know, the waste that comes together during a flight and an aircraft that was parked at the airport awaiting departure. Around 8 pm, the truck came into contact with the JetBlue flight that was scheduled to fly to Denver. According to the staff at the airport, the truck was lodged underneath the aircraft and had to be forcefully removed, resulting in a delay for the passengers and forcing them to get off and switch to a different aircraft.


A similar incident happened to a Loganair flight at Glasgow Airport in Scotland, where the aircraft was hit by a lavatory maintenance truck as it was preparing its departure. Following the incident, the aeroplane was delayed by 3 hours. However, a replacement aircraft had to be flown in from Aberdeen so that passengers could continue their journey.


The coffee machine was smoking!

Coffee machine was smoking

Coffee galore! A Lufthansa flight, scheduled to fly from Washington to Munich, suffered from an incident that happened mid-flight and that was declared a mid-air emergency causing the aeroplane to return to Dulles Airport. Now imagine you have just gotten comfortable on your long-haul flight and are looking forward to a nice cup of coffee. But then you notice a sudden smell of burning. That would make anyone on a flight panic, right? Well, the coffee machine was not playing along as there was a strong smell originating from the coffee machine, where passengers described it as a “strong electrical smell”.


The crew had alerted ground control in fear of not being able to turn off the smoking device. It appeared that the machine had overheated in use and was not operational. The crew acted quickly diverting the flight so that the aircraft was able to safely touch the ground at the airport in Boston. The flight was grounded for another 16 hours until it was declared fit to depart and continue its flight.


Flight delayed or cancelled due to a weird reason? You may be entitled to compensation!

Flight delayed and cancelled

Whether your flight was delayed because of a smoking coffee machine or a much simpler reason, you may be entitled to compensation! Very often, airlines make the process of claiming as complicated as possible in order to simply avoid compensating their passengers. They also overuse the argument that the disruption was caused by an extraordinary circumstance. Therefore, and more often than not, one sees passengers lose hope and accept the airline’s rejection as the truth.


Fortunately, we have the adequate tools and databases to ensure that your rights are enforced and to fact-check the airlines. We will even take them to court when necessary and all of the legal costs will be covered by our 25% win-fee. If you wish so, we can take care of your claim and help you enforce your rights!


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