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We Asked Our Readers What Was the Craziest Thing They Ever Witnessed in an Airport

To be fair, it’s the one place on earth that can make *anyone* crazy.

We hear it over and over again: “I love traveling, I just hate process of getting there.” Even the idea of airports is enough to raise the average person’s blood pressure: the bureaucracy and lines; the corralling and sequestering humans as though we’re highly dangerous livestock; the forced patronage of mediocre, overpriced watering holes; the obvious displays of classism; all topped off with the mind-blowing realization that literally soaring through the sky is made underwhelming by shoddy accommodations and subpar products. Toss in delays and cancellations into tightly-timed schedules and overpriced expenses and people are going to act out in mysterious ways. So we asked our readers, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at the airport?

The Grossly Unhygienic

Some of the craziest, most disgusting things our readers have seen include inappropriate feet maintenance.

No public space is appropriate for grooming. This genre of activity is reserved for private or accordingly-cordoned spaces, such as your home bathroom, barbershops, and cosmetic beauty salons. The airport is a place where people are forced to eat, drink, and temporarily lodge. Some of the craziest, most disgusting things our readers have seen include inappropriate feet maintenance: a man clipping his toenails (a grievance so unfathomably horrifying it could only be made worse by the fact that said clippings hit other passengers in the space) and a woman grating callouses off her feet (why is anyone ever doing anything to their feet in proximity to others?). In a weird combination of disgusting and unseemly, one reader witnessed a grown man boarding a 7 am flight in his bathrobe and slippers. While the appropriateness of pajamas on flights is a hotly-contested debate, the requirement for soled shoes is absolute. And no one wants to see your grubby robe, dude.

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INSIDER TIPIf you absolutely must primp or preen while you’re at the airport, do it in the bathroom.

Weird Pet Stuff

People bring their pets places, and as long as proper procedures and precautions are carried out, it should—emphasis on should—turn out fairly drama-free. But, sometimes, watching other humans interact with their animals in foreign spaces can really make you question their relationship. For instance, our readers witnessed everything from a woman singing a lullaby to her cat (actually weirdly sweet) to a passenger allowing her dog to poop on the terminal floor (no…that’s not okay). Readers noted again and again that despite the variety of pets (emotional support guinea pigs?), pets in carriers going through security were universally perplexed by the measure.

INSIDER TIPYour pets really, really don’t like flying. Unless it’s an absolute necessity (like you are moving) or you require a designated service animal, it isn’t advisable to bring them with you. If you do bring your pet into the airport, remember this is a people-first place, and keep your pet to designated zones.

The Cases for Security

Cumbersome as TSA procedure is, the things that people try to bring on planes really should be checked by an independent party. Weapons aside, there are things that passengers really just don’t need on their person. One flyer witnessed a woman who apparently had just hit the grocery store and tried to bring on a bag full of raw clams, a raw rib roast, cheese, noodles, a baguette, and some spices onboard. Besides the obvious concern of temperature regulation and food safety standards, what about the smell of slowly thawing meat, seafood, and cheese in an enclosed space?

The justifications for bringing such provisions is often worthy of notation in itself, like the flyer who tried to convince the TSA agent that a cooler full of soda was her “medicine.” While copious foodstuffs are always a strange sight to behold, one reader mentioned the horror in seeing a small cooler with a medical transplant sticker that said “caution human eyes.”

INSIDER TIPKnow the TSA rules before you get to the airport, and don’t argue with agents.


One reader witnessed an octogenarian getting the cops called on her for cursing out the gate agent.

Airports can traumatize flyers of all ages in a variety of wild ways, and of course, terrible people without manners aren’t exactly barred access from cross-country travel. One reader witnessed an octogenarian getting the cops called on her for cursing out the gate agent, while another witnessed a father who’d simply flung his crying child over his shoulder in attempt to ease the cross-terminal commute. One flyer was even pushed over by a very hurried, fully-robed monk.

And while it’s never fun to observe tantrums or impoliteness, there’s nothing more despicable than witnessing frustration and entitlement boil over into violence, like the time one reader watched a passenger slap a check-in agent over the notice that the flight was delayed for a third time.

INSIDER TIPRemember that flying through the air is practically a miracle, and just because science has allowed us to do so doesn’t mean that the process will always go off without a hitch. Be flexible, be patient, and for the love of everyone around you, be kind.

The Downright Whacky

And then there is the wild combination of sleep-deprivation, impatience, boredom, and exasperation that hits certain flyers in absurd, inexplicable ways. Multiple readers witnessed naked commuters; one notable nudist splashed around in a fountain proclaiming to be Jesus Christ, while another fled from the police. In the security line, one reader spotted a self-proclaimed shaman blessing the x-ray machine with sage. Meanwhile, in the customs line, a traveler pulled a boom box out of his luggage and began singing and dancing for the queue.

Oh, and last but not least, one of our readers claims they saw a traveler dragging his washer and dryer through the ticketing line.

INSIDER TIPI don’t know what to tell you. People are weird. Enjoy the ride.

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