2019’s Most Bizarre Aviation Stories

2019 has been a busy year for aviation, with plenty of notable events and developments. From the industry-shaking grounding of the 737 MAX to the rapid rise to stardom of the modest A220, there’s been much to keep our attention over the course of the past 12 months. But some of the things we’ve covered have been less attention-grabbing and more mind-blowing. Here are some of the most bizarre aviation stories of 2019.

Bizarre aviation stories 2019
Which were the most bizarre aviation stories of 2019? Photo: Getty Images

The man who tried to fly on the wing

Proof if you ever needed it that aviation is still a new concept to many, a man in Nigeria tried to hitch a ride on a Boeing 737… on the wing. The man came running out of bushes, suitcase in hand, as the aircraft was taxiing from the gate.

man climbs onto wing in Lagos
A hitchhiker climbed onto the wing of Azman Air Boeing 737. Photo: Dozie Uzo/Facebook

Throwing the case into a handy storage compartment he’d spotted (the engine) he proceeded to climb aboard the wing and grip on, all set for a free ride. Naturally, he didn’t get very far… catch the whole story here.

The pilots who hid a camera in the bathroom

We’ve heard some eyebrow-raising tales of what goes on behind the closed cockpit door, but none so strange as the story of two Southwest Airlines pilots who were apparently monitoring goings-on in the bathroom via an iPad. And they would have got away with it too if it wasn’t for that meddling flight attendant.

Astute FA Renee Steinaker was called into the cockpit to stand in for a pilot while he visited the bathroom and noticed the iPad affixed to the window that appeared to show a livestream of the bathroom, complete with the missing pilot relieving himself. Naturally, a full investigation was launched into this outrageous behavior; get the full story here.

That spinning catering truck

American Airlines do their very best not to write off aircraft. Good maintenance, controlled landings, well planned out operations…. But they forgot to mitigate for one thing: Crazy, out of control catering trucks.

Bizarrely stuck in reverse for an unknown reason, a ground services vehicle, a golf cart type affair, began to spin crazily out of control. Shedding its load of beverages left and right, the cart was edging closer and closer to an American Airlines aircraft with every spin. Only the quick-thinking actions of a ramp worker narrowly saved the jet from disaster. Get the full story here.

The fat cat that lost his owner 400,000 frequent flier miles

We all know people will sometimes go to extreme lengths for their pets, but this guy really took the crown. The cat loving passenger was traveling through Moscow with Aeroflot when he was advised his kitty was too porky to travel in the cabin. Viktor the cat was, therefore, to be transported in the aircraft’s hold.

Fat Cat
Me? Yow! The cat was too fat to fly. Photo: Pixabay

Not wanting to be separated from his pet for the flight, the tenacious passenger came up with a plan involving a lookalike cat and some crafty switcheroo in departures. It worked too, and would have been a clean getaway if he hadn’t decided to brag about his experiences on social media. As punishment, Aeroflot stripped him of his accrued miles, which added up to 400,000 – ouch. Get the whole story here.

When dogs in tutus delayed a flight

We’ve written plenty on emotional support animals and the problems they can cause to airlines. From gigantic dogs drooling all over business class passengers to the airline that allows small horses on board, there have been plenty of bizarre incidents involving animals this year. But perhaps the one that stands out above all others is the story of the Norwegian flight that got delayed because of some dogs in tutus.

Dog tutu
French bulldogs in tutus delayed a Norwegian flight. Photo: Barbara L. Hanson via Flickr

The London Gatwick to Austin, Texas flight was boarding as normal when a group of passengers entered the cabin along with several emotional support dogs. The dogs in question were cute little French bulldogs wearing sparkly tutus. However, the dogs became distressed before the flight took off (it’s not clear if it was the tutus causing the distress), and had to be deboarded, delaying the flight by almost 2 hours. Read more here.

What’s your favorite most bizarre story of 2019? Let us know in the comments.