There are hundreds of spooky tales of ghostly figures, ghoulish apparitions and strange goings on spotted aboard aircraft by crew, ground staff and passengers since man took to the skies. In the run up to Halloween you will often find crew huddled together in the galley sharing haunting stories of the strange and supernatural.
The most widely reported aviation ghost story came after the tragic crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401, which plunged into the Florida Everglades in December 1972. Following the accident, hundreds of reported sightings of the flight crew from the doomed aircraft began to emerge. The deceased pilots were apparently haunting other Eastern planes, after parts of the aircraft were salvaged and used on other Tristar’s. If you haven’t already, check out the spooky tale of The Ghosts Of Flight 401.
Meanwhile, have a read of some of our other ghostly goings-on, from mile high terror to crew hotel hauntings.
Please, don’t have nightmares. Just remember boys and girls, the dead can’t hurt you, it’s those pesky living passengers we should be scared of!
The Murdered Captain
Our first story involves one of Europe’s very well known low-cost carriers. At the time, airline operated a fleet of second-hand aircraft purchased from operators around the world, some with a rather harrowing past.
One such aircraft was an old Boeing 737. After a few months, rumours began to circulate of some strange occurrences being encountered, especially at night. After a little investigating (or a well thought up Galley FM hoax) by the airlines crew, it was discovered that the old Boeing had been hijacked during its life with a previous carrier.
But this was no hoax. The ageing plane had indeed been hijacked some years earlier. Worst still, the Captain on that flight had been shot and killed during the siege. The story goes that the Captain loved his job so much, that his soul never left the 737, even when purchased by the new UK owner.
Fleeting shadows and strange visions were spotted in the galleys and flight deck. Call bells going off for no reason and toilets flushing by themselves. Cupboards opening after being securely latched, strange smells and rapid drops in temperature were all experienced by crews and passengers until the aircraft was finally retired and scrapped.
The Tragic Child
Back in the early 90’s, Spanish charter carrier LTE International, based in Palma Majorca, operated a fleet of Boeing 757s on flights across Europe. On one particular journey, a young boy became ill and despite the best efforts of the crew and a doctor who was travelling, the boy tragically died before they could reach the ground.
Some months later it appeared that this mischievous childs spirit had decided to stay behind on the jet and cause some havoc with its crew and passengers. As with the previous story, various spooky occurrences were reported including mysterious moving tea and coffee pots, crews personal items going missing, opening lockers and galley cupboards and extreme drops in temperature which constantly plagued the rear galley.
Frighteningly, the incidents were only ever reported when the aircraft was operating the route on which the boy died. The freaky happenings became so bad that crew began to refuse to work on the 757 and eventually, LTE ensured that the aircraft in question never operated that route again.
American Flight 191
On May 25, 1979 an American Airlines McDonell Douglas DC-10 crashed just moments after take off from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. All 258 passengers and 13 crew members onboard Flight 191, along with two people on the ground were killed in the disaster.
The crash site, an adjacent caravan/trailer park, has since created quite the reputation for itself. Screams heard coming from the darkness, strange floating lights and haunting figures have been spotted by people in the area.
But most terrifying of all are the lost souls who have shown up at people’s caravan doors talking about finding their lost luggage, before disappearing right before their eyes.
The Body In The Hold
On a late night long haul flight, a junior crew member had been told to go and take his break, so off he went for a little shut-eye in the crew rest area. Slipping on his PJ’s, he dived under the covers and shut his eyes. But just as the lad was drifting off, a noise startled him and when he opened his eyes he was shocked to see an old lady standing at the foot of the bed. The crew member jumped up and asked what the hell she was doing in the crew rest area.
“Oh i’m sorry, I just wanted to get my husband a G&T”, she replied. Confused as to how the lady could have got in to this part of the plane, convinced he’d closed the door behind him, he told her he would bring the drink up as soon as he’d finished his rest.
“Ok dear, he’s in 2A. Thank you”.
Unsettled by the encounter and unable to go back to sleep, he put on his uniform and went to the galley to pour the gents G&T. As he approached seat 2A he noticed that the man was sat alone and there was no sign of his wife. In fact, it appeared that no one had been sat there all flight.
“Excuse me sir, here’s your G&T”. “Thank you, but I didn’t order a drink” replied the man. “No sir, your wife asked me to get it for you a while ago, but I was on my rest sorry”. The colour immediately drained out of the passengers face, “I beg your pardon”. “Sorry sir, I was on my rest, I thought your wife may have asked another crew member to get you your drink”.
By this point the passenger was becoming rather agitated, so the Purser came down to see what was wrong. “This young man, claims that my wife ordered me a drink”, bellowed the passenger. “But she did sir, about an hour ago, i’m sorry I was on my break but I have your drink here now”. “I don’t know what kind of sick games your playing young man but there is NO way my wife ordered me that drink”. The crew member was now incredibly confused, “She did sir, she came down into the crew rest area. A small, grey haired lady with large glasses. She was wearing a brown dress and a cardigan and…”, “Oh my god” the passenger whispered. “Describe her too me again young man”.
As the junior crew member explained the lady’s appearance, the old man began to cry. “My beautiful wife”, the man muttered through his tears. “I’m sorry, but my wife is dead”…..
A stunned silence fell across the cabin.
“DEAD?” shouted the purser, before demanding to know if the junior was making this up. “He’s not” replied 2A, “He has perfectly described how my wife looked before she died. She had a massive heart attack whilst we were away. I’m bringing her back to the UK to be buried”. The poor junior crew member couldn’t catch his breath and sat down on an empty seat. Meanwhile the purser went to speak to the Captain, who confirmed there was indeed a coffin being carried in the hold.
Legend has it that the old lady, still dressed in her brown dress and cardigan, with large glasses and grey hair, is often spotted onboard this particular 747 sat in seat 2A, sipping her own G&T.
Numerous cabin crew have spoken of haunted bunks onboard aircraft with some so terrified that they refuse to go and take their rest breaks there.
One such story comes from one of my Australian dollies who shared this on social media: “We were on a 14 1/2 hour flight to the United Arab Emirates when three crew members came out from the crew rest area pale, afraid and visibly shaken. They had been woken by an elderly gentleman who seemed lost and confused and only spoke broken English. While the purser went to investigate the crew waited in the AFT galley. A lady from economy began chatting to them and explained how she had recently lost her father and she was taking his remains back to Beirut. She pulled out his photo and the crew all screamed in horror. It was the same man they had seen in the bunks.”
In the mid 1990’s an Airbus A320 operated by Belgium’s now defunct ‘Constellation International Airlines’ earned the name ‘Scairbus’. The story began when a flight attendant fell ill just before the takeoff. Once her replacement arrived she left the airport but on her way home she was killed in a horrific car accident. On flights following her death, many flight attendants reported hearing a voice screaming for help and whispering into their ears. The plane was also known for its constant and unexplained technical problems, and the crew believed that it was the deceased flight attendant’s spirit coming back to haunt the plane.
Another tale of a haunted aircraft comes from Denmark, where a handling agent told this spooky tale. “One of our customers, Sterling Airlines (NB), has an aircraft that is said to be haunted, a Boeing 737-8Q8. She is known as “the yellow one”. The cleaning staff are especially scared of cleaning the yellow one at night. Some even refuse to go on board. Both staff and passengers have had experiences on this aircraft. It is said that people have heard thumping noises on the roof, as if someone is walking on the roof, both in the air and on the ground. Some passengers have said “Ohhh no, not the yellow one” when they are at the gate about to board. I know a woman died on board that aircraft. Perhaps it’s her spirit?”.
And if you haven’t already be sure to check out the full horrifying story of Sterling Airlines ‘The Yellow One’
Ghostly Trolley Dollies
And it’s not just flight crew and passengers that haunt aircraft. The spooky apparitions of our fellow cabin crew have also been spotted over the years.
On a long night flight some years ago, with the cabin lights were dimmed and galley curtain pulled, the crew relaxed and had something to eat. One trolley dolly sat on his jump seat, could see down the aisle through a crack in the curtain and was keeping his eye on the cabin. Suddenly, he noticed a mysterious figure walking towards them. The lady in question was dressed in what looked like an old airline uniform. She had a pale withered complexion, her eyes were red and sunken and peered un-responsively ahead (usual look for many crew on a late night flight to be fair). But as she neared the galley, right before his eyes the woman disappeared.
Afraid that his colleagues would laugh at him, the cart tart kept his mouth shut. But as dawn broke and the aircraft began its decent into London he went to speak to the purser who had been with the company for many years to see if she knew anything of this haunting spectre. The purser shuddered and confirmed that the ghostly figure was known to many of the crew at the airline, especially on that particular aircraft. She had been around for years and was affectionately referred to as the ‘Senior Flight Attendant’.
On an old Boeing 737 belonging to another very well know airline, the crew often reported seeing the spirit of a deceased female flight attendant. Late one evening a crew member was calling the rear galley using the interphone when two people answered, one male voice, one female. They began to ask who the other female voice was, as there was only one female on board. The ghostly voice never answered them back and there was only one person stood in the galley, a male!
A Boeing 747 belonging to South African Airways was originally pencilled in as a set for the filming of James Bond movie Casino Royale. After discussions with the airlines staff a different jet was subsequently used following reports of the ghost of a woman who wandered the aisles of the jumbo jet at night. The lights would turn off and on (without power), and locked galley doors would slam open and slam shut, even under supervised conditions.
A few of my Facebook dollies told the terrifying story of a haunted crew rest area on board a Boeing 747-400. This particularly evil entity would poke, punch, pull hair and shout at crew members while they grabbed some much-needed shut-eye. When the crew were rudely awakened there was no one around.
One particular flight attendant was fast asleep, when a tapping on her back woke her up. She put back on her uniform and went up to the front, only to discover she had 25 minutes left of her break. Obviously a little pissed off she tried to find out who had woken her up. None of the other crew admitted to it, but one other girl said that she had had exactly the same thing happen to her last time she’d been on the same plane. The haunting eventually got so bad that many refused to go near the crew rest, instead trying to grab some shut-eye in the galleys, under the stairs or in vacant seats.
There is nothing more annoying than a twitching galley curtain, but when it keeps happening and no one is there it can become particularly freaky. This happened to an economy Purser back in 2001. During boarding the crew member was alone in the galley and the curtain kept twitching as if a passenger was about to come through, but no passenger ever did.
One crew member told me their own terrifying tale from onboard UK low-cost carrier “I was in the back galley and heard the toilet door close. Nothing unusual. But after a few minutes I heard someone cry out so I knocked the door to make sure the person inside was ok. A passenger who was stood waiting heard the same thing. There was then a loud thud from inside the lavatory and so I opened the door immediately as I believed the person may have collapsed. But when I opened the door there was no one inside. Suddenly there was a drop in the temperature in the galley and a very strange smell of freshly baked bread. It was very strange and the galley was very eerie that day anyway, it was just a strange feeling I had.”
Crew hotels are a constant source of spooky stories, some invented just to freak-out the new hires. Strange sensations of someone being in the room with you. Someone sitting on the bed while you sleep. Covers being pulled off in the middle of the night. Taps and lights being turned on and off and toilets flushing all by themselves. Objects being knocked over. Strange figures stood in poorly lit corridors that disappear right before your eyes. Some superstitious crew say that you should never open the curtains in a hotel room as this is how you let the evil spirits in.
But one of the creepiest I’ve ever heard happened in Milan, at the Sheraton Hotel at Malpensa airport. A tired and weary crew member checked in and went up to their room to get some rest. When they arrived at their door the key card wouldn’t work. Thankfully a housekeeper who was just down the corridor let them in to drop off their bags but when they got inside the automatic lights turned off after a few minutes and the room was plunged into darkness. The crew member tried to call down to reception, but the telephone wasn’t working and so headed down to reception to sort it out.
The hotel staff offered to move the crew member to another room but it would take around 30 minutes to prepare. In the mean time she was told to go back to the old room and they would come and get her once it was ready. The crew member went back upstairs, lay down on the bed and quickly drifted off to sleep.
Some time later she was awoken by a knocking on the door. Thinking it was the porter to move her rooms, she got up and opened the door. No one was there. She looked up and down the hall but it was empty. Feeling a little uneasy she went and lay back down, groggy from her early flight. As her head hit the pillow the door knocked again, but again no one was there. Then the telephone began to ring, when she picked it up, there was no one on the other end. By now the lady was a bit freaked out and stood in the doorway of her room looking into the corridor.
Soon after a porter came to move the crew member. But as she entered the room she stopped dead in her tracks and turned pale. “How long has that old lady been sat there?” asked the staff member. Sure enough as the flight attendant turned there was an old lady sat on the chair next to the bed. The pair ran out screaming and no explanation has ever been given as to how the lady was or how she got there. Needless to say the crew member never went back.
Airports too have also seen their fair share of hauntings through the years. One of my lovely followers told me this of Manchester Airport… “The transfer area of Terminal 1 and 3 is very well known to be extremely haunted. A number of occasions there things would just fall from the desk for no reason and one evening a door flew open and then slammed shut very violently. It left me so terrified I ran off. In the early hours of the morning the motion detection lights would come on one by one all the way along the pier, as if someone was walking along but there was never anyone there. There also used to be complaints from passengers and staff using the lavatories there that someone would be banding on the door as if telling them to hurry up….but they would be the only ones in there!”
So there we are ladies and gentleman, a few spooky stories to keep you entertained. Please don’t have nightmares.
Do you have any terrifying tales to add? If so pop them in the comments below…..
© confessionsofatrolleydolly.com by Dan Air.
Wasn’t there a film about the flight 401 starring Ernest borgnine ?
Yes there is a movie with Ernest Borgnine, check on line I’m sure you can find is somewhere.
It is based on the actual happenings. I believe Frank Boreman, CEO of EAL is in it too.
The TV Movie. The Ghost of Flight 401. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077610/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1