5 Baffling Travel Stories of the Decade

5 Baffling Travel Stories of the Decade


The past 10 years have been a major turning point for both business and leisure travel. With advances in technology, changes in travel trends, and a new generation entering the corporate travel world, it’s a different scene than it was in the 2000’s. And throughout the decade we’ve faced some pretty impactful travel events that have us questioning both our society and the travel industry worldwide. 

From passengers getting forcibly removed to airplanes stranded on the tarmac, here are five of the most baffling travel events of the 2010’s. 

1. The United Express Flight 3411 Incident

On a United flight from Chicago, Illinois to Louisville, Kentucky in April of 2017, David Dao was forcibly removed from the fully boarded, sold out flight. Dao suffered several injuries in the process, including a broken nose, lost front teeth, and a concussion. The incident began when the gate agent asked to have four people get off of the airplane to make room for four crew members who needed to get to Louisville to fly an unstaffed flight that night. When no one volunteered, they randomly selected four individuals, including Dao. Dao refused to get off the airplane because he needed to get back to Kentucky to see patients at his clinic the next day. United Airlines Staff requested security assistance, which lead to Dao getting dragged off of the plane. Read more about the consequences United suffered here

2. Justine Sacco Tweets 

It’s the holidays of 2013. Justine Sacco is 30 years old and the senior director of corporate communications at IAC. As an expert in communications, you’d think she would know where to draw the line when joking around on a public platform. But, during her journey home for the holidays Sacco began tweeting little (yet offensive) jokes about her travels. The final kicker was a post that said. “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” When she turned her phone back on after the 11 hour flight, she discovered that her racist tweet had blown up her entire life. Read more about the incident here.

3. JetBlue flight stranded on the tarmac for seven hours

In October 2011, JetBlue passengers on a flight from Tampa, Florida to Newark, New Jersey found themselves re-routed to a small airport in Connecticut due to weather conditions. The plan was to land at the new airport, refuel, and fly back to Newark. Instead, the passengers were stranded on the tarmac of the small Connecticut airport for seven hours without sufficient food, water or functioning bathrooms. Even worse, neither JetBlue nor the Connecticut airport could offer passengers a sufficient explanation as to why they were unable to get off the plane. Read more here.

4. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was one of the greatest mysteries and most tragic travel events of the decade. In March of 2014, the flight with 239 people on board silently disappeared leading to numerous theories. But, with no distress communication from the pilots, no SOS signals, and no debris or fuel slick found, no one could definitively say what had happened. After years of searching and analyzing the information we do have, experts have concluded that the disappearance was likely a deliberate move by the pilot. Read a detailed breakdown of the disappearance and the continued search for answers here.

5. Thomas Cook collapse
About 600,000 travelers around the world were impacted when one of the oldest travel agencies surprisingly collapsed one Monday morning in September 2019. Thomas Cook’s collapse left thousands of travelers, who had already paid for their tickets through the company, with no way to get home. They were unable to fly stranded passengers back and unable to reimburse purchased tickets. One Florida resident said that he had to pay over $2,000 to get back home after booking a trip abroad through Thomas Cook. Thomas Cook’s collapse was the ultimate result of its merger with MyTravel in 2007, and was triggered by new competition from lower cost companies. Thomas Cook was unable to adapt their traditional methods to more modern tactics, and customers and employees were left to deal with the consequences. Read more about the collapse here

What stories did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author: Kathleen Burns
Kathleen Burns was a Content Marketing Associate at Lola.com from 2019-20.