Craziest Airplane Stories of 2023: Not Real Woman, Babies Crying, Ass-Whooping, and More

If 2023 taught us anything, it's that air travel is perhaps more stressful than it's ever been, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

several airplane incidents are pictured
Image via Complex
several airplane incidents are pictured

Unless you’re in a position to regularly bathe in money and dry off with various displays of excess, then you’re like me and most everyone else on this big goofy ball hurtling through space, meaning that any chance to mercilessly dunk on the reliable horribleness of air travel is always met with an enthusiastic YES.

2023, it seems, was particularly rife with airplane stories of the truly bizarre, not to mention downright baffling to a degree that remains unfathomable even months removed from their respective peaks of virality. I’m talking about stories like the bathroom chef who risked it all to cook shrimp and mashed potatoes in an airplane bathroom using batteries and a general disregard for his fellow crammed-into-economy travelers, the Southwest passenger who escaped through an emergency exit before commandeering a service truck, and—as we all should have expected, despite it having fallen out of the zeitgeist some time ago—the “That motherfucker back there is not real” woman who rode her moment in the spotlight all the way to 137,000 Instagram followers.

To be clear, air travel, even without such aggressively headlineable incidents, is an absolutely abysmal experience. The reasons why are practically limitless and include near-comical space issues, inconsistent temperature policies while aboard any given flight, preposterously low food quality (even on international trips), rarely delivered-on promises of good WiFi, forced separation from one’s carefully planned carry-on bag (thus defeating the entire purpose), and people who refuse to wear headphones while blasting virulent non-classics like, for example, the charmless Ghosted. Adding to that in recent years, of course, are the ongoing stresses we’re all feeling but never honestly and openly discuss in our performatively post-pandemic landscape. 

Will it ever get any better? Will this long global nightmare ever cease its onslaught? Unlikely, highly so, but at least we have people angling to somehow make it all even worse by leaning into the whole treat-people-like-cattle thing with shit like new takes on the double-decker plane design, because who wouldn’t want an unapologetic flatulator who just downed airport Taco Bell to be seated directly above their head on, say, a six-hour Christmas Eve flight from one coast to the other?

All that to say, flying sucks, but at least you have us here to catalog a selection of said suckage from the past 12 months.

Keep reading for more.

"That motherfucker back there is not real!"

The way the whole plane looked back lmao

— Lance🇱🇨 (@Bornakang) July 3, 2023

Let's start with the main event. This story, which began (as is most often the case) with a slice of viral footage that swiftly achieved undeniable ubiquity, somehow managed to be everything to everyone.

For those merely looking to get a cheap laugh out of the latest viral clip, the woman filmed yelling on a plane about a "motherfucker back there" who was "not real," later identified as Tiffany Gomas, provided that. But the clip worked on other levels too, Scooby Doo references and vaguely existential meanderings on this very site included.

French Montana's plane searched in Colombia

French joked that authorities must have thought he was “bringing back the big load” when he was stopped before leaving Colombia on a private flight.

“Just because we the Coke Boys, they got the dogs out for us,” French said in footage shared to his IG at the time. “They’re not letting the plane leave ’til they make sure we ain’t leaving with no brick out of Colombia.”

A rep for French later told Complex French’s plane was the subject of “an unexpected search by K9 dogs,” though he was ultimately able to “depart safely” despite the temporary setback.

French recently shared, while on Fame & Flavor, that Coke Boys stands for "Coke Boyz stand for 'Creation Of Kings Everywhere."

Woman tells passengers she's "Instagram Famous"

Unknown woman is kicked off plane, declares, “I’m Instagram famous!” Passengers laugh at her.

— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) September 18, 2023

Though the self-described "Instagram famous" woman at the center of this saga, Morgan Osman, was initially believed to have been booted from an American Airlines flight, she later spoke at length about the viral incident and disputed this part of the briefly widespread coverage.

"Obviously things happened, transpired before the cameras roll and we all know that," Osman said of her virality. "So I feel like it’s very unfair that people are attacking me when I was provoked and reacted."

Babies cry

View this video on YouTube

Chika found herself being publicly called out after it turned out that the crying children she complained about on social media were related to Tiny Harrisindecent. In fact, the children in question were Tiny’s grandchildren, who were flying first class with their mother at the time, i.e. Tiny’s daughter.

"I hate you and I hope you get a paper cut between each finger tomorrow, you senseless wench," Chika said in her social media-delivered assessment of the atmosphere on the flight.

Earlier into 2023, an entire flight was forced to deplane due to an adult passenger's reaction to a crying baby aboard the aircraft.

Odell Beckham Jr. gets into it with passenger in newly released footage

Bodcam footage shows the moments before Odell Beckham Jr was kicked off the airplane in Miami

Odell got angry with passengers after they kept looking at him & telling him to get off the flight

— Shannonnn sharpes Burner (PARODY Account) (@shannonsharpeee) January 11, 2023

Though the incident itself occurred in 2022, body cam footage was shared in 2023 showing a more in-depth look at Odell Beckham Jr. in the minutes leading up to his escort off a Thanksgiving weekend flight from Miami to Los Angeles.

The release of the extended footage prompted several public statements from Beckham, who said being removed from the flight ultimately resulted in him being delayed "an entire week" when it came to seeing his son.

"I can’t lie I was so mad…… bro really said everything but the N word to me… he had to get it … if him and the other white gentleman wouldn’t of looked to me with such and entitling manner," he said of his filmed interaction with another passenger. "I woulda removed myself from the plane. That’s the real reason everyone had to get off."

Boosie and Desiigner make masturbation headlines

View this video on YouTube

Desiigner was charged in April 2023 with indecent exposure after allegedly exposing himself on a plane. During “one of the exposures,” prosecutors alleged, the “Panda” artist “masturbated.”

Amid coverage of Desiigner's charge, which later resulted in a mental health facility check-in and a plea deal, Boosie Badazz took the opportunity to publicly reveal his fondness for masturbating in airplane bathrooms.

Tarmac sprint leads to arrest

An woman who apparently missed her flight tried to catch it by running after the QantasLink Embraer E190AR plane (VH-XVO) on the tarmac.

The strange incident was captured at Canberra Airport (CBR) on Nov 01, 2023. On chase, woman started waving at the pilot.

📹Dennis Bilic

— FL360aero (@fl360aero) November 2, 2023

Being on time for a flight doesn't ensure you're magically going to have a somehow better travel experience, as being uncomfortable for hours at a time is a given, but it's still a hell of a lot better than being late.

Airport lateness can get the best of anyone, including the woman who decided to sprint across the tarmac in a misguided effort to catch up with her plane. Not to spoil the story, but the woman did indeed fail to pull off the daring maneuver and instead found herself facing several charges.

College student commutes via plane because it’s cheaper than rent

The practice of "super commuting" leapt into the spotlight this year thanks to a viral video in which a college student broke down her decision to fly to her New Jersey-based internship instead of trying to afford rent in the area.

According to the student, taking routine flights proved to be a cheaper option than renting a full-time place, even when factoring in added expenses such as Uber rides and food.

Promise to "film an ass-whooping" fulfilled

This is so embarrassing💀

— FadeHubb (@FadeHubb) December 4, 2023

Fittingly, we’ll bring this (not exhaustive) roundup to a close with a Scoot Airlines "ass-whooping." The less said here the better, so as not to ruin the viewing experience, but I will point out that a passenger's friendly warning to a fellow traveler that he would "film an ass-whopping" proved decidedly prescient.

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