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At wit's end: Top travel freakouts


Video footage of a Chinese Communist Party member having a destructive tantrum at Kunming Changshui International Airport after he and his family missed a flight is making its way around the Internet.

However, beyond the "OMG!" factor, many travelers can relate. We've all been there -- even if we've never gone there.

"We find ourselves in an environment where we feel more impersonal, less in control of our rights," said travel psychology expert Michael Brein. "All our boundary bubbles are impinged."

The result? We crack.

"I've had my shouting matches over counters," said Brein. "There's a ratcheting up of tensions between the two parties."

But when one of those parties crosses a line, an airline supervisor or a security guard normally intervenes. In the case of the most recent viral video, however, a crowd masses and watches, but doesn't step in.

This incident may be the latest example of a traveler cracking, but it's certainly not the first. And it won't be the last.

Here are some other well-known travel freakouts:

Cathay Pacific airline worker who missed her flight

This 2009 video shows a Cathay Pacific airline worker throwing herself on the airport floor, wailing, and trying to ram through a boarding gate after she missed her flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. Afterward, the airline issued a public apology.

Alec Baldwin

Moments after he was removed from an American Airlines flight in 2011, actor Alec Baldwin tweeted, "Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving." Fellow passengers, however, told the New York Post that Baldwin, after being asked to shut his phone off, threw a wall-pounding tantrum in the bathroom.

The actor returned to the friendly and familiar ground of the SNL Weekend Update desk to play the part of the American Airlines pilot, issuing an apology to himself.


A young woman from the Philippines got into an extended heated argument with a local light rail train security guard, accusing the woman of calling her a liar. The video, and her pronunciation of "I'm a liar," transcribed phonetically as "Amalayer," became a viral sensation, spawning homage and parody videos and songs.


JetBlue airline attendant Steven Slater quit his job in the most epic way possible, mocking customers on the intercom, grabbing a beer and exiting via the emergency escape ramp. The animated recreation, above, is a bit more amusing and engaging than the security footage of the incident, below.