Wanderlust readers' tales: Memorable plane journeys

We asked our Wanderlust readers for their best stories from up in the air, whether they were up on cloud nine or had a turbulent time...

3 mins

Spectacular views

Tropical island views (Shutterstock)

Tropical island views (Shutterstock)

Flying in to Mauritius, the beautiful azure sea with it's coral reefs and the low green mountains bestowed in lush tropical growth led to an air of anticipation of the good times ahead.

Tim Browne, Hampshire


Most memorable to me was a light aircraft flight from Carson City to the Grand Canyon. If course for the scenery but also our 15 year old son was allowed to co-pilot and the soundtrack played by the pilot featured 'Free falling' by Tom Petty !

Pamela Taylor, South Wingfield


My first ever flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong: my Dad asked if I could visit the cockpit, in those days I was allowed and my Dad and I had a brilliant view of India cities all lit up at night time. Wow. 

Martin Briggs, York


The most spectacular view from an aircraft was our return flight from Paris on the evening of November 5th some years ago - watching the fireworks from the air as we came into land was superb.

Ann Mason, York

I was flying from Calcutta to Bagdogra in eastern India on a sunny cloudless Winter afternoon, preparing for another tryst with the mighty Himalaya when the pilot interrupted the somnolent droning sound of the flight - he asked us all to look to the snow clad peaks in the horizon and remember the magic moment that day; for we were staring at the top 5 of 6 highest peaks in the world : Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu huddled to the left and the mighty Kanchenjunga soaring to the right of the path of the flight. (Only K2, the second highest peak was not present, being a part of the Karakoram ranges). While it was difficult to discern the exact peaks for the amateur eye, the sight of that winter-white cordillera showcasing the highest peaks was reason enough to make that flight the most memorable I ever had.

Ayan, Sydney 


I visited Singapore at the time of my 10th birthday. On returning to the UK, we had to circle Heathrow airport for about an hour as there was a big queue to land. We got to see the lights of London but also watch the fireworks as it was the 5th November!! A very different experience to watch them from above instead of on the ground. The flight was made even more memorable as my Godfather who used to work abroad and I didn't get to often see, was waiting to greet me in the airport.

Melissa Dobson, Basingstoke

Turbulent time 

Flying through a storm (Shutterstock)

Flying through a storm (Shutterstock)

I had just finished a 6 month contract working on cruise ships working in the kids camp who were sea sick on a daily basis. Flying home I was hoping for a quiet journey but the turbulence had other ideas! The 2 children next to me ended up projectile vomiting all the way down the aisle, luckily I had a strong stomach by then! The guy next to me not so much, seeing the little girl next to him projectile vomit the milk she had just drunk caused a chain reaction and he threw up into his coffee cup. Eugh. He was very apologetic though and I genuinely did feel bad for him! Hears hoping my next flight isn't so hectic!

Kayley Wilson, Chesterfield


My most memorable plane journey was for all the wrong reasons in 2019 during severe storms travelling to France. After having two flights cancelled our flight made three hair raising landing attempts amidst severe side winds in Lyon. The last attempt was aborted and we were diverted to Paris!

Adam Bradbury, Horley

I remember once looking out of my window at 35,000ft and witnessing a wing bolt fly off abruptly and what looked like blackish brownish oil start to come out of the remaining hole, which then streaked a tell-tale path where the wind had whipped it away. I gestured silently to a passing Air Stewardess who bent over me, saw what I was pointing to, put a conspiratorial finger to her lips and disappeared quite quickly up the gangway. About ten minutes later, she reappeared smiling and whispered that it was fine, that it wouldn't affect anything and, thanking me not not yelling about it, slipped a airline goodie bag onto my tray. Of course, we landed without a hitch but I spent the rest of the flight with my face glued to the window in case there was another one. I've never booked a wing seat since.

Linda Jennings, Scarborough


Before taking off from Sharm el shiekh the captain appeared at the front of the plane and said “I have some good news and bad news. Good news is half of you will be going home today ……. The problem was the air temperature and weight of the plane, it was too heavy to take off full of passengers and fuel. In the end the captain said “ We are taking off with everyone, but will need to land halfway back to refuel , don’t know yet where! We landed then later at Bari in Italy. The captain appeared again and said “ we have a small problem, the airline has no fuel account here, can I borrow some money from some of you!” True story!

Richard Marsden, Ripon

Stellar service

Flight attendant (Shutterstock)

Flight attendant (Shutterstock)

There were only 2 passengers on a 30 seater commuter flight in the USA. The safety briefing began with "Now listen carefully y'all. There will be a quiz at the end with prizes." So I for once did listen carefully. The question from the attendant was "What is my name?" I recalled the correct answer and was given a bag of peanuts!

Stephen Gilmore, Hillsborough


My friend and I turned up at the airport in 'Tana in Madagascar, bleary-eyed and eager to get on our flight for the beach part of our trip. Our stomachs fell when we were met at the check-in desk with lots of whispering between staff, pointing at us and our passports, and the minutes ticking down to our departure time as they told us to wait. We expected the worst, that our flight had been cancelled, but no! There would only be 4 people on our flight so they were moving us to a private jet. A boujie experience I've never had before nor probably will have again. It was amazing and the views out the windows were incredible!

Helen Pye, Twickenham

My first trip to the USA on Virgin Atlantic...the ice cream service was such a delight and so welcome. Little detail but THAT was the start of the holiday.

Sheila Shepheard, Hove


I used to fly regularly from the UK to Dallas a few years ago in business class with American Airlines. On the return journey the cabin crews first question once you were sitting down and were getting ready for the aircraft to taxi was always "warm nuts sir?". Which to British men obviously had an alternative meaning. It was always hard to avoid a smile.

Tim Flesher, Preston


Crashing on take off as we left an airstrip in the Masai Mara - it was ironically the start of my love affair with Africa!

Julie Spence, Cambridge


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