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Reports From the Forum

Truly Terrifying Travel Stories From Very Frequent Fliers

Truly Terrifying Travel Stories From Very Frequent Fliers

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever encountered while on the road? It may depend on how often you hit the road. When the question came up in FlyerTalk’s TravelBuzz forum, stories of dangerous Himalayan driving and Newark airport’s Terminal C were certainly good reads. But, when you travel the world frequently and intrepidly, your scary travel stories can get pretty harrowing. From kidnappings to close encounters, these are the best of the scary stories from the FlyerTalk forum.

Have your own to add? Tell us your story in the thread and stay tuned to see if you’re featured in Part 2.

What’s That Noise?

So, yesterday, I was hiking at a state park in Florida. I was by a pond and I saw some ducks in the brush so I bent over to take a look.

Suddenly, I heard a loud low growl about 5 feet away.

I have never heard a noise like that before, but evolution must have left some instincts because I bolted up a sand dune without thinking only to have a very large alligator show its face exactly where I had been standing.

The park ranger said it was protecting some babies and I shouldn’t have gone down by the lakeshore. Good to know.

Just thinking about that growl is chilling.

A Taxi Tale

Me and the missus found ourselves surrounded by 6 guys trying to rob us in Delhi, India. Our taxi driver took us just off a main road where we were met.

I told the cab driver that he may take our stuff but he was going to be hospitalized because my only goal was to hurt him badly. This startled him enough to back him off for a few seconds and me and my missus just ran… right out into traffic.

We almost got run over but we stopped a rickshaw and just jumped in.

They didn’t get anything.

An Inciting Incident

I was walking in the Federal Plaza of Mexico City when I saw a young man walk deliberately up to a guard (at one of their many front facing doorways) and pull a bandana up to cover his face.

I was watching from roughly 15 or 20 feet away as he pulled a machine gun out from his jacket, cut the guard in half with gunfire, then turn quickly away. He lowered his bandana and the gun and then dissolved into the crowd. 

It was the beginning of the Chiapan Indian uprising.


The offending photo in question, taken by FlyerTalker Gardyloo

Arrested at Gunpoint in Iran

I was arrested at gunpoint in Rasht, Iran, for taking a picture of a cute building that turned out to be the local office of Savak, the Shah’s secret police. I was finally released after the cops learned I was working on a project for the provincial governor, who, surprise surprise, was one of the Shah’s cousins.

“I’ve Always Wondered If My Last Passengers Were Murdered”

I was staying at the Hyatt at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (it was at least 20 years ago) and took a mini van with the hotel’s shuttle service to a shopping center. But, I wanted to leave later than the return pick up so just took a cab.

The cab driver was totally lost and it was before GPS etc…he was talking to someone in dispatch and I saw us PASS the hotel. We wound up on a back road somewhere near Federal Express and it was very dark… and poorly lit…I truly was beginning to contemplate getting out when he conveys his appreciation for my patience because…

he had these people a few weeks ago, and THEY got out, and then he heard on the news that night about people being murdered and he wondered if it was them…

I suggested that he just take me back to the airport (signs were frequent) and just drop me off at American because from there I knew I could find my way. When I got there I nearly kissed the ground. I was never so happy to see a baggage claim area in my life. The hotel sent the shuttle to pick me up and I could have hugged the driver. I told him what happened and he just shook his head.

The Kenai Peninsula of Alaska

A Very Close Encounter

I was sleeping in a 2-person tent next to a salmon spawning pool on a fly-in fishing trip to a remote lake on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. In the middle of the night, I heard the fish going crazy in the pool then heard bear noises.

Then, said bruin bumped my arm through the tent fabric.

Then it did it again.

I was frozen in my sleeping bag then heard the fish go nuts a second time as the bear departed the scene. In the morning I finally crept out of the tent and looked around.

The paw prints were the size of dinner plates, from a very big brown bear.

Short, but Terrifying

28 June, 2016 being in the Istanbul airport during the terrorist attack.

A Disaster Movie in the Making

I was in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand in the early 2010s with the 2004 Tsunami fresh in my mind.

I had just arrived by ferry and was walking around getting my bearings when what sounded like air raid sirens started going off and I saw a wall of humanity screaming and running towards me and away from the water.

I joined the crowd and found out that there had been an earthquake somewhere and a tsunami warning had been issued for the island and that we had to get to high ground.

We first climbed some sort of construction, then decided that it wasn’t high enough, got down and went up a big hill. There was essentially no information and everyone was scared, but we all rallied each other and bonded.

In the end, the tsunami never materialized and around 9pm they sounded the all clear.

I got fantastically drunk that night, woke up the next day covered in sand, presumably from falling over on a beach the previous evening and boarded a ferry straight back to Phuket and then got on a plane to Bangkok. I figured I wouldn’t get a great night of sleep on an island for a little bit after that.

A Different Kind of Horror Story

Getting food poisoning in [Phnom Penh, Cambodia] and landing in the hospital there in 1998 was no fun. No drinkable water easily available and the toilets were clogged and really gross.
[Some stories have been edited for clarity]
View Comments (3)


  1. HomerJay

    December 6, 2019 at 5:35 am

    “I was in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand in the early 2010s with the 2004 Tsunami fresh in my mind.”

    The correct spelling is “covfefe.”

    – Stable Genius

  2. Danwriter

    December 6, 2019 at 6:52 am

    And this has what to do with flying? Could have taken a train of a bus to most of these.

  3. Bohemiana

    December 6, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    When HomerJay mentioned is Koh Phi Phi experience, I was painfully reminded of mine. My husband and I were on the island 4 days before the 2004 tsunami staying at a resort in a bungalow steps from the beach (Charlie Beach Resort). Our last night, the resort had a family-style buffet dinner and we dined with a German family who had just arrived that day starting their the Christmas holiday trip. I have no idea what happened to that family as we only dined together that one night, but also wonder about all the staff from the resort, etc. Words can’t describe our feels.

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