>  Flight Attendant Life   >  You Can’t Make This Sh*T Up: The Redeye Turn From Hell
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Gather round, boys, girls, and theys; Have I got a tale for you!


It isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’ve got a strong stomach—and a sense of humor—this one’s for you.

Sometimes a boring flight is too much to hope for. plane logo

How Does She Do It?


If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me “I could never do your job” or “I don’t know how you do it,” I might still be an impoverished flight attendant, but I would at least be a grand richer.

While I totally agree that this job is not for everyone, it isn’t very often that my job feels hard. Most of the time it feels great. Easy. Chill. Dull, even. I feel like the WiLd StoRiEs that make the news and Tik Tok have people believing I show up to work every day and get into a street brawl. That I’m constantly fighting with customers, being set up for a ‘gotcha’ moment on film. That I’m watching airplane parts get ripped off the plane and fall to the earth or I’m being tossed about amid debris, during severe turbulence.

Most of the time my job is nothing like this. The reason these stories get so much traction in the media is because they are so outrageous, so out of the ordinary. No one wants to watch a Tik Tok about a peaceful flight where no one screamed or hit their call button. Where everyone got from point A to point B safely and without incident. It’s boring. Which is just the way I like it.

But as much as these wild and crazy flights are the exception and not the norm, every once in a while, they do happen. And you’ve just got to sigh your way through it, and console yourself that “At least it’s good content.”

My recent 5-day block of island red-eye flying was one for the books, and though those five nights nearly killed me, I came away with a story too good not to tell.

**Trigger Warning: Themes of domestic violence and bodily fluids. Read with care (maybe not while eating.)

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(Chocolate. She does it with chocolate.)

The Setup:


My last week of work in April consisted of five back-to-back redeye turns to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. (For those of you who don’t know, a turn is when I fly somewhere and fly right back. A redeye turn is when I do this overnight. And island flying ain’t easy.)

Five nights of being a vampire will wear you down, even if they’re drama-free. But this particular week of flying was anything but. I never made it to my fifth turn, because a four-hour delay in the middle of the night made me illegal for my final trip—a silver lining that almost made up for the BS my crew and our customers were put through.  I don’t have it in me to get into that infuriatingly preventable delay, but I DO want to tell you about my flight just before that one. A trip that will live rent-free in my mind, and an instant classic in my arsenal of “crazy flight attendant stories”.

On this night, we had drama on not one, but BOTH of our flights. Police were called, customers were removed, pants were soiled. Intrigued? Read on.

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Boring redeye, anybody?

Part I: Hands To Yourself

First up, in my night of horrors, was a little domestic violence incident. Seriously.

We were fully boarded, ready to close the door for takeoff, when the aft flight attendant called to the front. She was calling to inform us that the (giant) man sitting in row 26 had his (tiny) girlfriend in a headlock and was shoving her against the tray table. The customer sitting behind the couple told the flight attendant it was the second time it had happened. When confronted, the couple insisted everything was fine, but the woman had clearly been crying.

I shuddered to think of what must happen behind closed doors, if he felt brazen enough to do this in public. I felt worried for the woman, who also opted to leave the flight when the state police escorted her boyfriend off the plane. Being stuck in Boston with the person who just hurt you, when you were supposed to be on your way to vacation, sounds like a terrible idea. It was a very unsettling situation. More unsettling, yet not at all surprising, was the fact that she backed up the boyfriend’s story. They were a united front to state police: “We were just joking around.”

The flight attendant who witnessed the incident had to give a statement to the police about what she’d seen, and our flight departed late and with two fewer souls.



*Please note my intention here is not to make light of a serious situation. My crew and I were troubled by this event, and I’ve thought of the woman involved many times since that night. I simply want to provide a window into some of the varied and unexpected circumstances that can come up while working as a flight attendant. Things you aren’t trained for and never imagined would be in your repertoire of experience.

If you or someone you know is struggling with domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or text START to 88788. You can also check out their website or visit the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

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Part II: Code Brown


Next up on the crazy train was a good old fashioned Code Brown. Just read on. You’re in for a treat.


Our return flight to Boston started out smooth. No issues during boarding, no fights to break up, no relationships to meddle in. We took off, did our service, and then let our passengers drift off to sleep. We were an hour away from landing when it happened.

The cabin was silent, save for the hum of the engine, the lights were dim, and I was seated cozily in my jumpseat, reading, when a customer call button chimed in the cabin. I went to see what they needed, and I found a young woman holding a dog in her right hand and an air sickness bag, in front of the dog’s mouth, with her left. The dog had vomited into the bag and all over its owner’s lap.

I rushed to the back to get a trash bag, gloves, paper towels, and sanitizer wipes and brought them back to her.

“He started freaking out,” she explained, wiping vomit from her jeans and the seat. “So I took him out of the carrier and he threw up.”

I felt bad for her and the dog, clearly having a rough flight.

Pets on airplanes are not allowed to be outside of their carriers, for a myriad of reasons, but I wouldn’t have asked her to put the dog back into a soiled case. I asked her if he got sick inside the carrier, and she said no. Since it was clean, the vomiting had ceased, and the dog seemed a bit calmer by then, I offered her a compromise. I moved her to an empty row, where she could sit by herself with the dog. He would have to go back into the case, I explained, but at least you’ll have extra space to clean up and the pet carrier wouldn’t have to be under the seat. I imagined having a little more space and airflow would be good for Fido. But you know what they say about the best laid plans.

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Consider the consequences when flying with Fido.

The girl agreed, stood up with the dog, and walked three rows up, to where I’d advised her to sit. I told her I’d bring the pet carrier, but when I went to pick it up, the customer in the opposite aisle seat began pointing furiously at the ground. I followed his index finger and saw a sight that made my blood run cold.

Dookie. Dog dookie. All over the floor. Apparently, when she stood up with the dog, it caused him to… err… “release”.

I brought the pet carrier and explained to the owner what happened. To her credit, she responded EXACTLY as someone should. She apologized and offered to clean the mess herself. (Take note, parents of children and animals!)

Unfortunately, when I got back to the scene of the crime, things were worse than initially suspected. The first thing I noticed was the smell, which had permeated the entire area, causing other passengers to complain. “Can you move our seats?” The couple in the window and middle, next to where the woman and her dog originally sat, asked me. But I didn’t have enough seats to move everyone in the area away.

I noticed the boy sitting behind the dog owner’s original seat was covering his nose and mouth with his jacket, trying to keep out the smell. It was horrendous, to be sure, but I thought this might have been a touch dramatic. That is, until the look of horror in his eyes prompted me to look down lower, to where his gaze fell. His left leg, the one closest to the aisle, was covered in dog shit. A spattering. A puddle. A soupy, pudding consistency, olive green in color and more pungent than you can imagine.

Not only had our airplane been defiled, but so had our other customers. This was very bad.

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One more reason to never be barefoot on the plane. (And no, socks do not count as shoes.)

Of course he didn’t have a change of clothes on the plane. Of course he was traveling by himself. I urged him to consider tossing the pants and wearing a blanket wrapped around his waist for the remainder of the flight (“If Kanye can do it, you can too,” I pressed.) But he refused.

So, while the dog owner cleaned the floor, I got to work wiping down the sweatpants of an 18-year-old boy, while he sat in shock. The Bath & Body Works room spray came out, and though it would normally be considered unprofessional to spray a strong scent in the middle of the cabin, in this case, no one complained.

When the floor was cleaner and the air smelled fresher and the commotion had died down, the boy went to the lav to clean himself up, and the girl went back to her seat, both burning with embarrassment. I gave the boy a $100 voucher for his troubles, and the cabin was quiet until landing.

During deplaning, when the boy with the soiled pants walked by, the girl apologized to him directly. “I’m so, so sorry,” she said. And what else could she say, really? She apologized to me, too. She told me how embarrassed she was. But isn’t this just life? Messy, embarrassing, and ultimately just another ‘something that happened once’.

“One day,” I told her, “This is going to be a really funny story for both of you.”


(And also, I thought, for my readers.)

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This about sums it up.

The Ending


After one of my most dramatic nights of flying in recent memory, I felt like I needed three days off. Instead, I went to my crashpad, day-slept in a top bunk, and then showed up to the airport later that night—to work an even worse flight.

Aviation is a wild ride. Most nights I’m chilling in my jumpseat, writing blog posts on my laptop, chatting with my crew about travel plans, or eating snacks and reading. And other nights I’m cleaning poo off a pant leg, neither of which belong to me.

Let this be a lesson to you all: Always bring a change of clothes in your carry-on, even if you’re checking a bag. Airplanes are dirty, filthy, public spaces, and you just never know what is going to happen.

Also, and this should really go without saying, keep your hands to yourself.


I am happy to report there are no island turns in my near future, but there are many, many redeye flights. Hopefully none of them are story-worthy, but if they are, you’ll be the first to know.

Safe travels y’all.

<3 plane logo

Image Credit:

Feature Image by 穿着拖鞋一路小跑 from Pixabay

Airplane cabin 1 by Michael Pointner from Pixabay

Airplane Cabin 2 by ty_yang via Pixabay

Dog on suitcase by rafi ben haim from Pixabay

Airplane Cabin w/man by Ryan McGuire via Pixabay


  • Rae

    May 16, 2024

    Good hell. This is reminiscent, but so much worse, than our Miami puker flight.
    Bless you.


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