The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

If your plane gets delayed due to weather, that's bad luck. If it's a mechanical issue, you start worrying. If it's because of some lazy people, you're angry. But here are ten delays worse than all of that.


10.) 8+ Hours On A Stranded Northwest Plane

The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

8.5 hours cost Northwest $7.1 million, as doodon2whls explains:

Northwest Airlines. New Year's Weekend 1999. Thousands of passengers stranded, and hundreds couped up on aircraft for more than 8.5 hours on the arctic tundra formerly known as the tarmac.

It was so bad, the Department of Transportation opened an investigation and filed a report on the whole debacle.

It cost NWA $7.1 in settlements with passengers...

My wife and I drove our brand new 2 month old XJ into that storm. It wasn't bad hauling across Ohio, but once we got off of I-80 and headed north on I-75, it got ugly. We immediately stopped for gas while we could and motored on home to Oakland County. Jeep: 1, Snowstorm: 0.

Suggested By: doodon2whls, Photo Credit: Mulad


9.) 9 Hours Without Cash Wearing A Uniform

The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

Being a soldier can be tough even far from the enemy lines, as Bobbo learnt on his way back from Iraq:

On my way home on leave from a deployment to Iraq I was laid over in a Georgia airport for 9 hours. My plane landed at 9:30, a half hour after every single shop in the airport closed. I did what any good soldier would do- took a nap on the floor by the gate. Ten minutes later security woke me up, telling me I couldn't sleep there or anywhere. I was in uniform with no cash, so I couldn't get a hotel room. Fucking guy continued to hunt me down and wake me up every half hour all night.

Suggested By: Bobbo, Photo Credit: North Carolina National Guard


8.) 30 Hours on Frankfurters

The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

German airports = beer and sausages. thisistheemailiuseforcommenting:

2 hours on the plane while they tried to get an a/c unit online that wasn't working. At one point this included literally turning the entire plane off, then back on to try to re-boot the system. Then we sat in the airport all day while they tried to get a part shipped to repair the plane.

Eventually they said it was too late for the pilots to start the flight because by the time we landed it would have been a longer shift then they legally were allowed to work. So, it was scheduled for 7:00 the next morning. After waking up at 4:00 AM to make it back to the airport on time, it was then delayed till that afternoon (don't know why).

This was a flight out of Frankfurt to the US, guess what they were kind enough to provide us for lunch during the delay: frankfurters.

Suggested By: thisistheemailiuseforcommenting, Photo Credit: MD´s Sandwiches & Café


7.) 32 Hours due to Unhappy Workers

The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

Yes, they can do that. Just ask any French. Or Australian, apparently. kiwichris1987:

Enterprise agreement between Management and Maintenance workers came up for negotiation in 2010. By October 2011, no agreement had been reached. Maintenance workers were taking industrial action, Alan Joyce decided enough was enough and locked out all maintenance staff. All flights grounded from 5pm 29/10, wherever they were on the ground, domestic or international.

Come 3am on 31/10, the Fair Work Commission decided that the industrial action was illegal, and ordered flights start again, and the industrial action stop.

That's 32 hours. All because the workers weren't happy. Their demands were deemed unreasonable by the tribunal, by the way.

Suggested By: kiwichris1987, Photo Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images


6.) No Commercial Flights for 72 Hours After 9/11

The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

North America went into a complete lockdown.

Jon:

I still remember when they opened up the airspace again. My dad and I were working on some of the rally cars in his garage, when we heard the familiar whine of a jet engine overhead. For the past 3 days, though, that whine had only been heard on TV just before the second plane hit the towers.

We both stopped dead in our tracks when we heard it. Gave me chills.

Tommy861:

Living on long island, seeing fully armed F-15s and F-16s flying over your house... made you shit yourself.

Suggested By: TokyoBayAquaLine, Photo Credit: The White House


5.) Crappy United

The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

Here's the story of two days in Alaska due to mechanical failures. The United way.

Suggested By: ejp hates automatic transmissions, Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty


4.) Ten Extra Days In Rio

The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

We'll have to trust Green Pig's friend on this one:

This was told to me by the person involved, I have no way to confirm but I have no reason to doubt the veracity of his story.

Sometime in the early 1990s, a friend of mine who worked for Varig Brazilian Airline, flew with his wife from JFK to Rio de Janeiro. Since he was an employee of the airline, he flew using vouchers, which meant they flew on stand-by.

They flew out of JFK on the flight they wanted, however since there were no two adjoining seats available, they were separated by 20 rows or so.

Three days later, the couple tried to fly back to JFK, but unfortunately all north-bound flights were full. Ditto the next day, and the next. Finally, after the fourth day, the couple maxed out their credit cards just so the wife could fly home before she lost her job. The husband stayed behind at Rio, with no cash, waiting for a seat to open up on ANY north-bound flight.

Finally, after another five or six days at the airport, Varig allowed him to fly in the one of the flight attendant's seats into Miami. It was then another flight on a domestic carrier into JFK. Total delay: 10 days.

Suggested By: Green Pig,Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images


3.) Ten Days for the Eyjafjallajökull Eruption

And you couldn't even pronounce it! Still, let's look at it from the bright side. My X-type is too a real Jaguar:

I had a friend get stuck in Paris for 10 days during that. His response, I'm on an expense account for my room and food, best vacation ever.

Suggested By: sm0key


2.) 30 Hours for Southern Airways Flight 49

The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

Check out this insane route caused by some, uh, ambitious passengers. Last stop? Communist Cuba. For Sweden:

It had a scheduled departure from Birmingham, Alabama, and was supposed to make several stops in Florida and Georgia before landing in Mobile Alabama. However, a few unruly passengers caused the plane to divert to Detroit, Toronto, Knoxville, Cuba, Orlando, and Cuba again. It was several days before the passengers reached their intended destinations, if they reached them at all.

Suggested By: For Sweden, Photo Credit: AP Images


1.) A Week for Air France 139

The Ten Worst Flight Delays In HistoryS

Known as Operation Entebbe, if there's one place that's worse to end up with on a highjacked plane than Cuba, it's Uganda.

The Israeli Army was needed, and you know how tough those solders are.

Tater Spalding:

You know, it's ironic that you posted this article. I was just in Israel for the past two weeks, and we stopped at the grave of Yonatan Netanyahu and were told the story of this mission. Crazy stuff man.

Suggested By: Demon-Xanth, Photo Credit: Getty Images

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

Top Photo Credit: Charles Krupa/AP Images