It's no secret that flight attendants have to put up with a lot — and that includes discovering bizarre items passengers leave behind. We asked some professionals for some of their more memorable findings (some of whom wanted to be identified by first name only, or not at all) — including the good, bad, and ugly.
1. Body fluids
Two flight attendants admitted to finding both used and unused condoms during cleanup — and perhaps that shouldn't surprise, given the seriously sizable statistics for mile-high club membership. Beyond that, Tyesha once disposed of a used tampon while Sharon found an airsickness bag containing a white, gooey substance. Oh, and one flight attendant had the misfortune of retrieving a bottle of pee. Yes, that happened.
Derrae once found a bag of cocaine after a flight. Granted, it was back in the '80s, but still. Another flight attendant, Jennifer, once saw a used crack pipe lying in plain sight.
We've all seen Home Alone, right? Look, it happens. A flight attendant reported that a family traveling with three children managed to forget their dog. The frazzled humans came back 30 minutes later.
Five different flight attendants cited this as the craziest thing left behind on planes. Michelle Post of Tales in the Sky once found five colorful thongs in a back seat pocket. Other lingerie sightings? A black bra, a purple bra, a matching bra and panties set jumbled under a window seat and — yeesh — dirty underwear in an overhead compartment.
Flight attendants Larry and Mary discovered a weave that got separated from its owner, and Kimberly had the misfortune of finding a full set of dentures in the seat back pocket. Unfortunately, they’re weren’t wrapped in anything either. Sure, it's important to try to get comfortable however you can, especially on long-haul flights — but perhaps this represents a bit too much comfort.
Unless you have the pleasure of sitting in business- or first class, your mid-air meal may leave much to be desired. So, many passengers pack their own snacks... and they're not always thoughtful about airplane food etiquette. Danielle once found an unopened half-pound of ham while DiAna threw away a fully cooked duck with no parts missing — wrapped in paper towels. Then there was the chicken leg in the middle of the seat that Tia trashed.
7. Designer wardrobe
Living the Fly Life Instagrammer and blogger Elizabeth Lynchonce found an item of designer clothing some people would give their right foot for: a single black stiletto Louboutin with its signature red sole. “I didn't have the nerve to look for the owner, so I just left it there, sitting proudly in business class like it dared anyone to question if it was sure it had the right seat," she said.
8. (Apparently not) treasured memories
Lynch described a birthday card with a marriage proposal as the most sentimental item she's ever seen left behind. "I mean who could have left that?" she said. "I would have held that so close to my heart that the words would have imprinted in my chest. We all had a collective sigh over the sweetness of that card and felt a little wonder at the secret, special things that occur during a flight. I hope she said yes.”
9. A dismembered doll
Lynch also reports finding a Barbie without a head. (It wouldn't be the first time a creepy doll raised eyebrows on a plane.) “During a security check, I pulled her out from the fold of a seat by a swathe of blonde hair. I turned her around to see those wide blue eyes and that familiar frozen Barbie smile."
10. Passports from around the world
Despite the fact that a traveler's passport may be his most important material possession, Lynch has seen many left behind. “I'm always surprised that the owners are not racing back to collect them in a panic — I hold on to my own as if it was my child," she said. "It's hard enough to tell a taxi where you need to be in a foreign country, I can't imagine trying to explain who you are and why you are in their country with no identity.”
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