Flyers go online to share horror stories from around the world

Do you have any airline horror stories to share? Post them in the comments section, or e-mail

Airline customer service has been in the news recently, as the National Airlines Council of Canada — made up of Air Canada, Jazz, WestJet and Air Transat — recently released a Passenger Bill of Rights. This was in response to a bill introduced in the House of Commons by Winnipeg NDP MP Jim Maloway, which would entitle passengers to compensation and lodging in the event of delays and cancellations.

Complaints about the airlines’ customer service is nothing new, as can be seen below in the famous 1980 “Economy Class” sketch from CBC’s long-running Wayne and Shuster comedy show. (Looking back now, one could say that their sketch was rather prophetic.)

However, by global standards, Canada’s airlines put in at least an acceptable performance. Perhaps not up to the standard of Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines or Emirates, which operate some of the world’s longest flights. But anyone who thinks Air Canada and WestJet are bad should have a look at what travelers have said about what I would say are truly the world’s worst airlines:

Bellview Airlines (Nigeria)

“The flight was cancelled from Lagos, we were stranded for 2 days until Bellview finally pulled their finger out and put us in a Hotel for two nights.”

“Certain passengers were fast tracked to the check out by giving bribes to members of staff.”

“Its very obvious that the plane had a recent paint job from the outside but the inside of the plane looked somehow frightening. Loose parts of the ceiling and very worn out seats that were not properly attached to the floor were some of the things i documented.”

Biman Bangladesh

“Absolutely abysmal airline. They ask passengers to bear with them as they are an “emerging airline / from a developing nation” and hope that that comment makes us feel sorry for them and allows us to understand and condone their absolutely shocking service, food, plane.”

“I was travelling with my three children aged 20 months, 3 years old, an 8 year old and my mother from Heathrow. My flight was for 3pm but was delayed until 9pm. My return flight from Shylet was for 10.40am and was then delayed to 3.00pm. Once we arrived in Dhaka the flight was for 2.00am but then delayed again for the following morning but there was no time given. This carried on for the next 5 days.”

“Toilet seats were bad and lets not forget the train of ants on the toilet wall; I saw tiny roaches crawling on a another flight!”

“…I was to land in Dakar and get told that I am not allowed to leave… 9 hours of hard negotiation, a call to the British Embassy, and some serious negotiation with the London office meant that I was able to board the flight 9 hours later with only 20 mins. to spare. If this had not happened I would have been trapped in Dakar for between 3-5 days. I am not a religious man but I must admit I was praying with everyone else at takeoff when I saw the decor and found a piece of the plane (not sure which) under the seat in front of me. I carefully replaced this and tried to forget that I ever saw it… Long live Biman; since my return you have made me appreciate every minute of every day that I am still here.” [Formatted for readability]

Domodedovo Airlines (Russia)

“The heating system seemed to be optional and reserved to first class passengers. It has the smallest space for legs I have ever witnessed. When laying back, I apparently crushed the legs of the passenger behind me which almost ended in a fight.”

“You would have thought the water was the price of gold as they were reluctant to give any water out and was only offered half a glass of water in 8 hours. Toilets like a pig trough and were not cleaned in the 8 hours. Staff unfriendly not a smile amongst them.”

“Old Tupolev, nearly no english spoken on board, passengers undisciplined, food poor, no alcohol on board which is a good thing due to the number of potential strong alcohol drinkers onboard.”


“An extortionate price was demanded for a couple of coffees then I paid with a £20 note. FA returned with coins only and “We haven’t got any tens I’ll get you one when we arrive”. On arrival, no tenner. Rang CS and they effectively told me to get lost. Thieves everywhere.”

“Ryanair have the worst call centre and worst website I have ever used. After 3 attempts to book online, and 3 error messages, I was on hold for 15 minutes and spoke to somebody who could not understand the flights I wanted, got fed up and hung up on me. The second time I called, the person understood the flights but simply hung up just as I was about to pay.”

“…I tried to phone them – after 3 hours on engaged tones, cut-offs, and dead lines I got through to a young man who spoke Italian, He thought it would be funny to see how long I would hang on – they were speaking in Italian which I can understand, he said to his colleague “how long do you think this english w****r [wanker?] will hold on until he hangs up”. I replied to him in Italian which shocked him into swearing again and hanging up.”

“We were supposed to fly out of Girona airport to Stansted at 6.30am on Sunday morning… We eventually boarded at 5.50pm and took off at 6.20pm. Only 10 mins short of 12 hours late. No explanation was given other than technical difficulties and the captain had the nerve to say he hoped we had enjoyed flying Ryanair.”


“The cabin staff on the way out smoked behind the curtain, and when my husband challenged them about this, they actually offered him a cigarette… Finally, there was a beetle in my salad in the in-flight meal on the way home. The cabin crew were very apologetic, telling us as best they could in poor English that this had happened several times before.”

“There were no overhead bins, just elastic netting like you’d find on a train or bus.”

“The aircraft was tatty – springs sticking up in the seat and flies buzzing about. At least one person had smoked in the toilet and not all food trays were collected before landing.”

Tajikistan Airlines

“Dushanbe to Khujand return and can honestly say it was the most terrifying experience of my life. The check-in was fine, we were the last on and despite the seats at the front being available and reserved for us they had three bolts holding two seats to the floor and only half of one seatbelt!”

“There was even scotch tape on the windows!”

Source: Skytrax


About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

2 Responses to Flyers go online to share horror stories from around the world

  1. Rudy says:

    It’s unfortunate that you seem to indirectly infer or group Westjet with airlines that are not known for the customer service or great experience. Westjet is known for taking care of its passengers and providing exceptional service. Instead of highlighting this you give the impression they are just like the other airlines. They are not! You should boast Westjet, instead you go on to cite other international carriers about how great they are. How typically Canadian…

  2. theviewfromseven says:

    Hi Rudy. I’d be quite happy to put in a good recommendation for WestJet. They (or should I say “you”?) run a friendly, safe, reliable operation.

    One of the points of my post is that we Canadians don’t always appreciate what we have. Our air transportation system works well. If you get on an Air Canada or WestJet flight, the odds are strongly in favour of your having a problem-free flight. And both airlines have such a strong safety-first orientation that passengers rarely give a second thought to the subject.

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