refund.me presents their top top 5 most bizarre flight delays. The delays in the top 5 were truly “extraordinary circumstances”; otherwise, refund.me, the ‘no win, no fee’ online platform and mobile app, would have helped passengers claim up to Euro 600 (approx. Rs.46,800) for a now-reduced fee of 15% plus VAT.
1. ‘Lawnchair Larry’ - In 1982, Larry Walters, or ‘Lawnchair Larry’ as he came to be known, attached 45 helium weather balloons to his patio chair, packing sandwiches and beer and a pellet gun he would use to shoot balloons when the time came to land. Flying at 15,000 feet, he began to drift into the controlled airspace of Los Angeles International Airport and caused a number of flight delays. Eventually, ‘Lawnchair Larry’ shot some balloons with his pellet gun and lowered himself, but not before getting tangled in electric cables and causing a 20-minute blackout in a Long Beach neighbourhood. When he touched down, he was greeted by authorities waiting to arrest him.
2. Las Vegas winnings - While waiting for his flight to depart from Las Vegas, USA a passenger tried his luck at the slot machines, where he won some USD 350,000 and subsequently lost all interest in his flight. The airline was forced to search for his luggage and remove it from the aircraft, and after a considerable delay, the rest of the passengers finally took off while he stayed back with his winnings.
3. Bee swarm - Last month, a swarm of bees invaded a tug at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA causing a boarded plane to be delayed for almost three hours as the panicked ground crew scrambled to find a beekeeper. The tug and plane were eventually declared “bee-free”, but that did not take the sting out of the long delay.
4. Armrest scuffle - Late last year, a Westjet flight out of Calgary, Canada was delayed for over an hour after two passengers got into a vocal argument over their shared armrest. As the two men got more and more agitated, the pilot “turned this plane around”, returning to the gate to boot the two passengers off the plane. They were not charged and were eventually re-booked on later flights.
5. Disagreeing flight attendants - It’s not only passengers that can cause a plane to be delayed because of an altercation. In October of last year, a New York to Washington, D.C. flight was delayed for nearly four hours after two flight attendants got into a loud argument on the plane taxiing to takeoff. The pilot made the decision to return to the gate, judging the two flight attendants could not work together for even the one-hour flight. Meanwhile, passengers were forced to wait for a replacement crew for four hours.