craziest flight of my life

I’ve experienced long delays and heavy turbulence and air sickness before – those are fairly typical annoyances that make me miserable. But my flight from Hong Kong back to Shanghai a few weeks back was downright nuts.


Everything started off ideally. I got to the airport early (as usual) and had no problem checking in. We even boarded on time! The experience went downhill from there. First of all, before takeoff two girls got into a crazy catfight regarding overhead bin space. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening! I get that tensions run high when traveling, but how does a minor disagreement regarding bin space escalate that fast into a full-on hair-pulling, Mandarin-shouting melee? A couple of flight attendants had to pull them apart and in less than a minute solved the problem by *gasp* moving luggage to a nearby empty bin! Crazy. But hey, we took off on time. And promptly encountered lots of turbulence.

Then came the major this-is-just-whack event, maybe half an hour or so into the flight. I woke up to an announcement asking for a doctor. Huh? You only hear that in the movies! Apparently one of the passengers was unconscious in the back of the plane (later got a text message from the airline saying he had symptoms of pneumonia) and we had to turn back to Hong Kong. The announcements were in Mandarin with very terse English translations, so it was a bit confusing for me (I find it hard to process foreign languages when sleep-deprived). Back in Hong Kong paramedics boarded and took the man off the flight, then police boarded and questioned people near the passenger. We eventually landed in Shanghai without incident around 4 AM.

I’ve heard of these kinds of things happening before, but I’ve flown a fair amount and never had such a ridiculous flight. Still never had a flight canceled or a bad landing or worse, so I’ll count my blessings. I never did hear more about that passenger. I hope he made it okay.