Airport Employees Are Sharing The Craziest Things That Happened At Work (20 Stories)

Airports are strange places. Rules don’t seem to apply and certainly not rules surrounding time. Want booze at 9am? The airport’s got you covered.

So it sort of stands to reason that airport employees are going to see some really wild stuff there. People are exhausted, jet lagged, and often confused — it’s a recipe for trouble. Recently members of the BuzzFeed Community who have worked at an airport shared the wildest things they’ve seen while at work.

1. Covered in shit

 “I worked at a smaller airport in Ohio for many years and you wouldn’t believe the shenanigans we got into, and we were KIDS! That’s right, the people fueling your plane, stacking your luggage in the pit, and marshaling in your plane were unqualified, untrained 18-year-old kids! My absolute favorite story is when one of those kids didn’t hook up the lavatory cart properly to empty the contents of the plane and the hose popped off, dumping gallons and gallons of shit and everything else you can imagine onto the tarmac AND the people standing below loading bags. Luckily I was not near that end, but the kid was COVERED in shit. Cue everyone projectile vomiting and those of us not around laughing our butts off!”


2. Snakes!

 “Years ago, I worked on one of those two-person trucks that put food on airplanes. The job meant lots of time sitting and waiting for our plane while getting our brains rattled by all the planes taking off and landing. One summer day, we saw a big propeller-operated cargo plane from Central America land and park off the runway not far from our truck. Two men exited the plane via the front stairway. One walked around back, opened a big cargo hatch, then strolled into the belly of the plane. Seconds later, he came flying out like he’d been shot from a cannon. Right after him came many dozens of large black snakes. They slithered all over the runways and roadway. We never found out what the situation was. All I can tell you is this: It was unbelievable to watch.”


3. Deranged passenger

 “This was about 35 years ago when I was an air traffic controller assigned to the San Antonio Tower. The tower sat about 65 feet above the tarmac around the old terminal gates. It was a Saturday night and not much was going on. Back in those days, Southwest Airlines parked their planes right below the tower and loaded and off-loaded them via outdoor air stairs. Since it was after 10:00 p.m., some of the planes were parked there for the night for maintenance or cleaning. Not much was happening, so we were just sitting and chatting while monitoring the radios. Suddenly, I heard someone say, ‘HEY! That guy doesn’t have any clothes on!’ That got everyone’s attention, and we all rushed over to the side of the tower overlooking Southwest’s parked planes. Sure enough, at the bottom of one set of air stairs was a naked guy being chased around the ramp by a couple of people.”

“He eventually sprinted up the stairs and back onto the plane, with the others in close pursuit. Our first thought was that there was a deranged passenger on the loose. But, this was long before there were TSA screening checkpoints in airport terminals. Anyone could enter the terminal and access the gate areas, though passing through a boarding door to get near an airplane would require an employee access code or badge. The maintenance and cleaning crews would have possessed such badges though, or known the code. Well, nothing came of it. Though our supervisors were made aware of what happened, it was over in a flash and no official reports were made.”


4. Santa

 “At an airport in New York, we had what we called ‘Saxophone Santa.’ Every Christmas a guy dressed as Santa would roam around the terminal playing his saxophone. It brought a little bit of fun to the pain of being stuck working at the airport on Christmas Eve.”


5. Service dog poo

 “I watched a woman’s clearly fake (or poorly-trained) service dog take a dump on the airport floor. The woman stood up, kicked the poop under a chair, and then moved to another set of seats. There was a family with a small child on the other side of the seats. They kept checking the kid’s diaper because of the poop smell.”


6. Kegs

 “A St. Patrick’s Day traveler arrived drunk with his buddies to the airport and wanted to check his beer keg. Kegs are considered ‘dangerous goods.’ No can do, sir.”


7. Ex law student

 “While working at the ticket counter, I received a call from the security office to confirm if a man matching a certain description was at our location. I confirmed that he was at our counter earlier, but was turned away after arriving late for our last flight to his destination. I saw the guy hang up the payphone and return to the ticket counter. As this was happening, we were advised of a bomb threat called in. The guy had called in from the payphone with a fake threat so he could make the flight. He was detained, missed his flight, and became the newest ex-law student in his class.”


8. Bikini

 “I worked on the ramp. For our planes, you had to walk on the tarmac to board. This 20-something-year-old came out, in December in Seattle, in just a bikini. When I asked her why she wasn’t wearing clothes, she told me because it was easier going through the X-ray with just a bikini.”


9. Inmate

 “A passenger came to check his bag and we asked for a boarding pass and photo ID. He indicated that he only had one ID with a photo. He provided his photo ID from the Department of Corrections. It specified: inmate.”


10. Dildo

 “I worked operations for a major US airline in a major US city. I once saw a USB-powered dildo catch fire inside a suitcase on the way from being counter-checked to being loaded onto the plane. It melted the suitcase handle. We were required to report it to the FAA and we joked about it for weeks.”


11. Lonesome toilet

 “I did an internship at Rome’s airport when I was in uni about 10 years ago, and we had some booths close to the biggest stores. One of the booths was close to the bathrooms. One time, a famous international sports celebrity (I don’t want to name names, but he has passed away a few years ago) had to go to the toilet. They made everyone exit the toilet, then his security staff just kinda cordoned off the entrance while he was in (for a long time). My booth was inside the cordon. It was so embarrassing.”


12. Avocado in the bag

 “I saw a lady get stopped by a female officer while going through airport security for having a rather large bulge in her crotch area. When the officer asked if she was hiding anything down there, the lady reached under her skirt and pulled out an avocado from her underwear. When the officer questioned the lady on why she was hiding an avocado in her underwear, her response was that it helped the avocado become ripe faster.”


13. Smuggler

 “I worked at the Hobby Airport in Houston for a major airline carrier. There was a guy who smuggled drugs every Friday like clockwork. He had a method that worked well. Cops set up a sting operation to catch him. One Friday, it all came to an end. His flight landed and the arrest soon followed. They opened his bag that contained what looked like a few kilos of cocaine and a ton of cash.”


14. Nudes?

 “I did social media for a major airline and SO many people would send nudes via DM. Some intentional, some not. Like…why?”


15. Terrible people

 “I worked customer service for a total of five years on and off. I had a guy so panicked he was going to miss his flight that he tried to ditch his backpack in a trash can. I had to remind him that he could go to prison for that. I had a grown man (over 60) call me a bitch in front of other people because I wouldn’t give him a free drink voucher. I had 50 people gang up on me at once when I announced a flight had been cancelled. One woman told me that she needed to get home to her dog and if her dog died, the blood was on my hands. I could go on for days…”


16. Bags

 “A passenger came to the ticket counter with all of his friends and family to see him off. He had five heavy, oversized suitcases, the heaviest of which was 123 pounds. He was advised of the extra baggage and heavy weight fees, and he attempted to barter. After several minutes, he decide to ‘repack’ and handed random things, such as canned ravioli, to his relatives who placed the items in duffle bags. Once he had gotten the fees down to something ‘reasonable,’ he borrowed scissors and tape to secure his baggage with plastic wrap, which he brought with him. Finally, after 40 minutes of dealing with the situation, he pulled out a GIANT wad of $100 bills, tossed several on the counter, and I was able to check his bags. As he was saying goodbye to his entourage, they began handing him all the duffel bags to take as carry-ons. A supervisor intervened to tell him he would not be allowed to board with all of them, at which point he threw the scissors at us!”

“We ducked and they hit the wall behind ticket counter with such force, one of the blades broke off! A few minutes later, an agent from a different airline’s ticket counter walked over with the missing blade and said, ‘I think this is yours.’ The blade had narrowly missed one of their passengers. He did not make his flight.”


17. Vibrating bag

 “One time, I was loading a bag and it was vibrating. This was a year or two before 9/11, so we would either open the bag ourselves or take it to the counter at the gate. Then, we’d call the customer up to open the bag and identify the object. Usually it would be an electric toothbrush and we would turn it off. Well, this time it ended up being a huge vibrator with a dildo attached. Boy, was she embarrassed.”


18. Arrested for six bucks

 “I managed a shop in the Indianapolis airport. It was a chain that is known for scented candles and soaps. One afternoon, an international flight attendant came in, picked up several bottles of hand sanitizer (this was 25 years ago, pre-COVID), and walked out. She was arrested and she lost her job…all for $6.00 worth of hand sanitizer.”


19. Dead bodies

 “A lot of people have no idea that dead bodies are transported on regular flights. They get totally freaked out when they have to load them on the planes. Some people end up quitting, even though they’re in coffins.”


20. Gas cap

 “I worked at a small, rural airport in 2006. Only one flight would arrive or depart during my 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. shift. One night, a plane was cleared and was being taxied to the runway when we noticed the gas cap had not been put back on. There was a ground crew that walked the outside of the plane to make sure this was done, so I’m not sure how it could be missed. I had to rush to notify the captain to turn back right before they were lined up on the runway. Very stressful moment. I left that job shortly after and never flew out of that airport.”