There are few greater joys than people watching. From malls, to parks, to the airport, finding the strangest things happening is like opening a present on Christmas. You, sitting on a park bench, or hanging out near a terminal, just waiting for something to happen, is a great way to spend a day. That day is highlighted when someone actually does something that makes your raise an eyebrow and just wonder. Here are 50 of our favorite things that happened at airports, ranging from bizarre to hilarious and everything in between.
I Found Santa
It isn’t clear what Santa was delivering here, but it appears that he should have stuck to his own sleigh instead of trying to get through security. While no information is available on what he was pulled aside for, this isn’t something you want to explain to your kids.
I’ve Had it With These Birds on My Plane
This has to be the most embarrassing thing for a bird to admit in bird culture. Granted, it seems these particular falcons are used for falconry and likely being transported to a show or a festival, but you really have to feel for the falcons when they speak to others. They essentially had to take a large bird to get to where they were going.
Star Studded Flights
While Minka Kelly is recognizable to most of the public, she isn’t going to be noticed at a glance by most. She has had a wonderful career, but she is no Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie. Still, she is an attractive woman, made up much more than most people would be for a flight, regardless of where they would go. She must be flying first class at least.
Welcome Home… Mom!
Family is always there to make you feel great about yourself after a long business trip, or a trip to see other family. On return, you can always expect a warm welcome from your family. You know they really care when they make sure you are embarrassed the second you step off the plane.
Is This a Yoga Thing?
If you have ever had the misfortune of a layover or a cancelled flight, you know just how difficult things can get when it comes to taking up time in the airport. You also have to find a way to catch a little sleep, which is notoriously difficult in airport seating, which is almost as bad as the seating on most planes. So, what do you do? Lock yourself in for the night the best you can.
Sometimes You Just Give Up
Children can make or break a trip based on their mood. The destination is generally something they are going to love, but getting there is not something that fits into their schedule. Apparently, lugging the kid around on your carry-0n has become a new thing that is more and more common in airports. Gone are the days of tantrums on the ground. Now, we have fast moving tantrums that are easily transported.
Do You Have to Pass Driving School to Become a Pilot?
Maybe the most embarrassing thing to have to face is when your mistake ends up all over the news and the internet. You know you made an error in judgement and the fact that it can haunt you for the rest of your life is somewhat frustrating to say the least. It seems here, that the pilot didn’t account for all the ice on the runway and ended up parking inside the terminal instead of outside.
Bad Design is Bad Design
Most anxiety brought on by airline travelers is due to the fear of an “unexpected” landing. Airports and airlines do everything in their power to make sure travelers know that they are flying safely and will get to their destination without issue. That is why this Turkish Airlines ad is so surprising. Everything about it makes you think of the start of the T.V. show Lost.
Make Your Own Fun
Travel is stressful and at times you need to find a way to lighten the mood. Other times, boredom takes over and you have to find a way to make your own fun. This individual was facing one of those two issues, most likely, when they decided to get some surfing practice in. Or, they were just on a trip to Hawaii.
He’s Got Legs
Sometimes things work out just right. These advertisements were in place for a reason and this gentleman probably didn’t realize that he fell right into the advertisers trap. For others, it lightens the mood and makes a fantastic picture. That, or he is going to have some explaining to do when he gets home.
You Have My Full Attention
Anyone that works behind a desk has fallen into the same trap. Solitaire is sitting right there, within reach, calling to you. You know you need to focus on work, but a quick game of solitaire can’t hurt. Can it? Here, someone got just the right angle to show one of the employees with a long line, refusing to give up their solitaire run.
Check that Baby!
I’ve been on a few flights recently and I don’t remember security being this intense. It seems that the TSA has upped their security game a good bit. In all honesty, this is likely just a perfectly timed shot as a mother had to put her baby down for a moment to remove her shoes for security. Still, it makes you wonder.
Jennifer Hudson Getting Checked
This picture shows that even the wealthy or the famous get no special treatment on a flight. If you’ve been pulled to the side for a full check by security, you know how frustrating it can be. If you are someone famous, in a crowded airport, it isn’t a picture you want taken. In this day and age though, there is no getting away from it.
I Want to See What Cause this Sign to Go Up
Specific rule signs rarely go up without good reason. The traditional “No Smoking” and “No Firearms” are common and just about everywhere, but when you see a non-traditional sign go up, that means something happened that the company felt it was necessary to clearly set the guidelines for saying goodbye to loved ones. There must have been some kiss to require this sign.
Just Some Bears
There is always something happening when you get out to the more remote airports. Alaska’s Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport did not take over the entire area that it was built. Instead, it is built with nature in mind. That means pilots have a few more things to keep their eyes on, such as this polar bear, before taking off or landing. Oxen, caribou, and seals are frequently seen on the runway as well.
I’ll Take One of Those
Luggage carousal are similar to large sushi bars. Figuring out which piece of luggage is yours is always a headache. Fortunately, one airline has come up with an easy fix, that seems to also fit their overall theme. They bag the luggage in a sushi print which makes it much easier for travelers to identify their items, removing a great deal of the frustration after landing.
Practice Makes Perfect
When you and a friend or sibling have a special skill, there is always time to practice. If you can entertain other travelers at the same time all the better. It is likely that these two are already employed based on their hand balancing act, or they are travelling to audition. Either way their calm style not only lets them prepare, but also entertains those around them.
Don’t Leave Your Phone Out
If you are travelling with your phone, you best make sure it is locked. Workers at airports probably live for moments like this. They mean no harm, but they definitely take full advantage of this find. An unlocked phone left by someone named Jasmine was just begging for a little fun warning that would also get a laugh.
Airplane! I Choose You!
There is no denying that the Pokémon franchise has become a worldwide phenomenon. What may be surprising is the Pokémon-themed planes that are wrapped for Japan’s All Nippon Airways. Hello Kitty! is also featured and the idea of character themed planes goes further than just the outside. The interior of each plane is also themed for whatever wrap is on the jet. Pokémon buddies on your flight? Yes, please!
Beer is something that is special throughout the world. From Australia to Germany to America, every country seems to specialize in a unique beer that can often only be found in its home country. Some is so good, like this one imported by a man in Perth, that paying the checking fee is worth it.
Mom Isn’t the Only One Getting Roasted
Just like in the earlier slide, families love to prank or roast family members on their way home from a long sabbatical. While a simple sign with an embarrassing message is funny, the amount of work put into this one is so much sweeter. The fact that it actually looks like the grandkids made this sign really sells the rehab idea, even if the parents probably had a heavy hand in creating it.
Airplanes and Acrobats
Just like the earlier two men, talent springs eternal wherever you go. When you can pull off a fairly complicated position, you might as well. Add to that, the fact that she is doing so on a moving walkway and her balance is second to none. While not many are around to see her daring feat, she lives on through this picture forever.
Where’s My Luggage? Oh.
In most airports, you aren’t given the same special treatment as the sushi shown previously. To combat this issue, some people get pretty creative. Some will get hot pink zebra prints, or beat up old suitcases that stand out from the crowd. Others tie a bow or ribbon somewhere around a zipper to make it easier to stand out. Or, if you are like this man, you can get the most noticeable picture printed right on your case. The fact that it is probably not his best picture is probably as much a security measure as it is a way to find his luggage quickly.
This is Fine
Nothing like a stack of luggage on a cart to make you feel like you are in the safest airport around. These two suitcase towers are located at Sacramento Airport and as much an art piece as a way to take your mind off the frustration that can come with flying. These are likely well secured, but at first glance, they can be nothing short of terrifying.
The News Just Isn’t that Exciting these Days
We’ve all heard of taking a dirt nap, but this guy really solved the problem with the bright lights that make it very hard to rest while waiting for your flight. Grab a newspaper, cover your face, then use the rest as a makeshift blanket. If Walmart is the grocery store where no one cares how they look, airports are the public place where everyone does what is required to survive. No judgement here.
Learning to Fly
While penguins are amazing to watch in the water, they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to flight. These two previously flightless birds apparently decided to take a jump over evolution and take to the air. The story is that the two Humboldt penguins were caught by conservationists before poachers could get to them. With a desire to return them to their home in South Africa they learned that it would be difficult to go by boat around the Cape. So it was decided that they would fly there instead.
Dads. Am I Right?
Those of us that are fathers of daughters know that much of our manliness takes a sideline to the joy of our little ones. A lot of times we put a limit on just how far we are willing to let things go, but when the sandman comes all bets are off. These two little girls decided to help dad wake up to a new look that they likely imagined would be much more exciting and fun. I wonder if he felt the same way.
Who Needs to Walk?
Working at an airport can be stressful at any level. From pilots to check-in to baggage claim, it is all a lot to handle for the individuals that choose this line of work. So when you find a way to make the job a little less stressful and a bit more fun, you have to try it, right? Who knows what happened in the long run, but this man showed a great deal of balance and grace on his ride on the wild side.
Lord Vader Approaching
On Star Wars Day a group of individuals dressed as storm troopers at Denver International Airport as they awaited the arrival of their boss, Lord Vader. The question is, would Vader actually take a commercial airline, and what would he be doing in Denver?
The Imperial March
The Empire still has their ducks in a row as Lord Vader, did indeed, take a flight on a commercial airliner to Denver International Airport. While the four storm troopers are likely not the usual greeting that he would expect, it was a show of solitude that they were there waiting. Of course, all of this seemed to please fans on May the 4th, Star Wars Day, and the people dressed up made the most of it all.
I Give Up
No picture can show just how exhausting travelling is. At some point, you stop caring and you just need a little rest. Long trips, in particular, can be extremely exhausting physically and mentally. For this woman, it seems her travel plans took their toll as she just laid out on the floor and passed out. Hopefully someone checked her vitals from time to time to make sure she was all right.
Sometimes there is No Roast
While there are plenty of people roasting loved ones on their way back from a trip, this little girl wrote a simple sign that clearly reads “Welcome arowamoaa2 bra.opa.” There isn’t a clearer way to welcome home a loved one than that face and the hand made sign.
This one is a fantastic optical illusion when you see it at first glance. It only takes a second to realize that those are not bare buns, but a neck pillow. Still, it is a somewhat unfortunate color, and the way they hang is even more troubling. Hopefully the woman caught on before she got too many shocked looks as she headed to her flight. She likely got a good laugh out of it once she realized what happened.
I Hear that the Top Eats Things
Planking like this has to be somewhat uncomfortable, but the real concern is what an escalator can do when you reach the top. As a child, we were all taught that we need to step over the lip or else it would grab our shoes and drag us under. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that extreme for every kid, but if there is even a hint of truth to that, this guy is in for some trouble if he doesn’t get up soon.
There are people that take precautions, then there are people that go over the top. This image was taken place at Dulles Airport outside of Washington D.C. after the first Ebola death went through the same airport. At some point, you just have to live on the edge, but this is a sign of the amount of fear that the media was able to drive about Ebola and it obviously hit home here as the bubble suit is in full effect.
This is Real. Right?
The problem with images these days is Photoshop. You never know if you are getting a real image or not unless you are well versed in the image editing software. For those with extreme skills, they can make anything look legit. While it is pretty clear this is not a real image, but a composite, based on basic understanding of how much pain this pilot would be in, it doesn’t take away from the stunning shot. This isn’t a pilot taking a picture while taking off, it is just a well done Photoshop job. A great profile image to be sure.
Well There’s Your Problem Right There
It isn’t always the visitors to an airport that create the best pictures. Sometimes something goes horribly wrong and the picture captures a moment in time that is unforgettable. At least to those involved. Obviously the driver lost control and hit the motorized walkway, which must have cost the airport a great deal of money to repair. Hopefully the drive was okay and not admonished too strongly.
So that’s Why They Have Wheels!
Most luggage these days come with rollers on the bottom. Even the smallest ones have the rollers even if they seem unnecessary. Well, know it is perfectly clear why designers make sure that luggage is able to roll. It isn’t just for your convenience as you walk to your terminal, it is to ensure that everyone can get their belongings home, regardless of their chosen style of travel.
Oh, We Found Vader’s Flight
This is likely a sign that was put up to celebrate Star Wars Day. The great thing about it is just how much detail they put into the simple call out. Flight 1977? The same year the first movie was released. R2-D2, similar to other flight numbers, but also one of the most lovable characters in the films. And the location; Tatooine. That is where it all starts. Luke is there with his Aunt and Uncle, so it makes sense that the flight number references the first film. A nice way to show love for an enduring franchise.
That May Have Cost Extra
With many airlines now charging by weight for over-sized luggage, this is an important piece for the owner, obviously. The bill must have been through the roof, depending on what the item was made of. While it looks like one of the heads from Easter Island, it is likely a lightweight reproduction. Plus, it is rocking a rad ‘stache. Totally worth whatever it cost.
Airports are very good at directing traffic through their buildings, but this seems a bit extreme. Insulting people before you even get to know them. Maybe this is more for those that self-identify. Either this was not posted at an native English speaking airport, or someone completely missed just what this sign said. Either way, I imagine this is something that gets a few chuckles throughout the day.
Okay, Airports and Acrobats are a Real Thing
We’ve already covered a few acrobats on this list, but this is the one that makes me think that airports are just a magnet for people with amazing balance and acrobatic skills. Again, we have the automated walkway acting as the platform as a group starts to put on a bit of a show. It may not be as impressive as some of the others on the list, but it is starting to show a trend. Either way, they seem to be happy, and that is all an airport can ask when it comes to their travelers.
They are Called People Movers for a Reason
This woman seems to have had her fill with travel for the day. The people mover is going to go at the speed it wants, and she isn’t going to move until she gets to the end. To make things even better, she stands directly in the center, arm reached out, blocking all other traffic behind her. Hopefully no one here was in a hurry because they weren’t moving until she said so. You can’t blame her though, travel is exhausting and this is probably the first bit of rest she has had in quiet a while.
I’m Not Sure He Has a Pilot’s License
We all love dog wearing hats. There is something universal about a picture of a pup dressed up as a person that puts a smile on our face. But, with that said, I’m not sure I would want to be on this flight if this is going to be my pilot. Obviously the big guy is having a good time and has one of the most photogenic smiles seen on a dog, but there may be questions about the legitimacy about this pups ability to fly.
Put it all on Red
Las Vegas is one of the greatest places on Earth to visit. Even if you don’t go to gamble, or watch the shows, or experience the night life, the atmosphere is so well handled, that as soon as you land, you know where you are. At McCarran International Airport, the luggage carousal is a game unto itself. Sure you aren’t gambling yet, but place a wager or two with your family or friends and it makes the wait exciting instead of frustrating. The design is wonderful and it makes a trip to Vegas a must for anyone.
Someone Messed Up
One of the most dangerous parts of an airplane are the powered engines. Don’t get near them. Hollywood has shown us what could “happen” if you get too close. While some of that is overblown, this is a clear example of just how dangerous they can be. Fortunately, no one was hurt and it seems the plane wasn’t damaged, but someone likely got a little piece of their bosses mind for letting this happen. Especially in the view of travelers.
If You Can Pull it Off, Do It
Airports are a fantastic place to meet people from all walks of life. They come from different countries where different things are acceptable and normal. The most important thing, though, when flying is to travel comfortably. This guy has it down pat. He can rock the look and he seems to have a favorite color as well. The great thing is the total lack of interest anyone around him is showing.
Ground Control to… Someone?
Something had to go horribly wrong in the communications tower, or with one of the planes for this type of accident to occur. It seems likely that one aircraft was backing up while the other was moving behind. The two had a little collision. If you think a the cost to repair damage to your car in a fender bender is bad, imagine what this cost Northwest Airlines.
What Could She Be Hiding?
This woman was pulled to the side for a security check. While most checks are just added security, this one seems a bit unnecessary. Her clothes aren’t baggy and there isn’t much room that she could hide anything of concern. So the real question is why was this attractive woman pulled to the side and asked to lift her shirt. Seems a bit fishy to me.
Does She Have to Buy Two Seats?
Kim Kardashian is well known for her… assets. The question, though, is if she just pays for one seat or two. It is likely she is taking a private jet or flying first class, but if she was in coach, there would be some questions. Still, finding celebrities at the airport, ones you love, or ones you don’t, is part of the fun of the experience. Many people have a story of some sort that they saw or met someone from a show or movie at some point in their travels.