Airline Passengers Showered With In-Flight Maggots

A US Airways flight from Atlanta to Charlotte had to return to the airport gate on Monday evening after writhing maggots rained down on passengers in one row while the plane was taxiing. The source of the critters? A container of rotten meat that a passenger somehow brought on the plane and stashed in the overhead bin.

“I felt like they were crawling all over me because it only takes one maggot to upset your world,” [a passenger] said. “And as they’re telling us to stay calm and seated, I see a maggot looking back at me and I’m thinking, ‘These are anaerobic, flesh-eating larvae that the flight attendants don’t have to sit with.'”

Passengers left the plane while a cleaning crew intervened on the ground, and US Airways fumigated the aircraft after the flight reached Charlotte. The airline put the owner of the spoiled meat on a different flight.

Video: Maggots Fall from Overhead Bin on U.S. Airways Flight [Fox 5 Atlanta]
Maggots force plane back to gate in Atlanta [AP] (Thanks, Evelyn!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. econobiker says:

    “A container of rotten meat that a passenger somehow brought on the plane and stashed in the overhead bin.”

    Got to love those bush meat aficionados…

    (unless anyone has a better idea why you’d bring a container of rotten meat on board a plane.)

  2. pantheonoutcast says:

    Wow. Samuel L. Jackson must really be hurting for work…

  3. GuJiaXian says:

    Shouldn’t the owner of said container of rotten meat at least be fined or something for disrupting flight traffic? Now, I don’t think he needs to be sued or thrown in jail or anything. It just seems like he got off easy if he was just able to get on another plane and continue on his way.

    • ScarletsWalk says:

      I think he should be fined or jailed. But I’m bug-phobic and I don’t like heights or small spaces very much, so maggots falling on my head several thousand feet in the air in a flying closet? That’d be the mother of all panic attacks.

      There is no legit reason I can think of where that would have been ok. He’s either so gross that he doesn’t even notice he’s carrying rotten meat or he’s trying to transport maggots and not only doesn’t tell the flight crew, doesn’t put them in a safe container.

      Since he made all of my most horrible fears come true, there’s just about nothing I personally wouldn’t be up for if I was on that plane.

      • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

        They were still on the ground, taxiing down the runway. And really, Jail time for this type of mishap?

        What have we come to…

        • Platypi {Redacted} says:

          Maybe not jail time, but perhaps he could be required to spend some “quality time” with the maggots.

        • NahWukkers says:

          This isn’t a “mishap”. This is pure grossness. He packed the bag, he’s presumed to know its contents for better or worse. I say he can’t claim ignorance – it’s not as if the meat was canned – it wouldn’t have released maggots in the plane if it was. It was clearly inadequately contained, and I bet he could smell it, but just tried to ignore it. I’m not sure about sue, but I’d like to beat the living snot out of the f-wits who brought it, and allowed it, on the plane.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        Well, I have a phobia of vomit… and fi someone threw up on a flight, I probably would have a panic attack.
        I dunno if I would want the person “punished” for not taking proper precauctions, though.

      • SharadaThyestes says:

        If a bunch of maggots landed on my head, I would likely be lead away in hand-cuffs after jumping out the emergency exit door after the plane stopped. No way could they have connected to a gate fast enough to prevent a full blown panic attack. Ick!

  4. MovingTarget says:

    It must have been a really nice container.

  5. aja175 says:

    What’s wrong with maggots? People bitch about the cost of the food on planes, that’s a free meal!

    • perruptor says:

      Maggots keep fallin’ on my head
      And just like the guy whose bugs are too big for his bed
      Nothin’ seems to fit
      Those maggotss are fallin’ on my head, they keep fallin’

    • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

      Actually, US Air hit all the deplaning passengers with one of two fees: $25 for having maggots fall on you, $75 for not having maggots fall on you.

  6. ZeGoggles says:

    “..And as they’re telling us to stay calm and seated..”

    Yeah. The flight crew and FAA can F-off. No way I’d be staying seated if that was happening.

    Rotten meat guy should be fined for disruption of air traffic.

  7. Daverson says:

    I don’t think anyone brought a container of rotten meat aboard the plane. The meat was probably fine when it was stashed…like a week earlier. I’d have some serious questions about the airline’s janitorial crews, though.

    And as for the panties-shitting passenger who said, “These are anaerobic, flesh-eating larvae…” Attention, dumbass: maggots only eat rotting flesh, so they’re not going to be OM NOM NOMming you unless you’re gangrenous.

    • Caged Wisdom says:

      The article and video both specifically state that the “owner of the spoiled meat was put on a different flight.” Unless said passenger managed to stay aboard the same plane for a week, this is a case of someone actually bringing a container of spoiled meat on board a plane. Maybe they didn’t know it was spoiled, but this was not just a container left behind by someone.

    • Gish says:

      You are incorrect as some species of fly maggot do feed on live flesh and others feed on live or dead flesh. Unless you saw which species of maggot it was and I did not then you do not know.

  8. Tim says:

    Doesn’t raw meat have a bunch of liquid in it? Like … more than 3 oz.?

    • Caged Wisdom says:


      I want to know where the TSA screeners who make women drink their own breast milk were for this situation.

      • econobiker says:

        Rotting meat typically doesn’t have an ounces published on its (Tupperware, etc) container. Me thinks the TSA probably let that one through without as much investigation as say, 5 year old little Johnny’s half full 8oz Gatorade bottle…

    • Hoss says:

      Not if it was properly dried.

  9. chaesar says:

    rotten meat brought onboard and stashed in the overhead?

    wouldnt writhing maggots show up on the TSA scanner?

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      Yes, but they would have let them through because of professional courtesy…

    • runswithscissors says:

      The maggots weren’t 7 year old children with names on the no-fly list so they were allowed to board.

  10. womynist says:

    “Maggots…..the maggots are falling like rain!”


    • cash_da_pibble says:

      I must admit, I never in a million years thought I would see a GWAR reference on Consumerist.
      In Context no less.


  11. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Well, if they were anaerobic, like the entomologist passenger above stated, then why would the container not be sealed tight?

    • Gish says:

      Maggots are not anaerobic. Just like flies and other animals they require oxygen to live thereby making them aerobic organisms. I don’t know what idiot didn’t catch that mistake.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Well, they also seemed to miss that almost all maggots eat DEAD flesh, not live flesh. That’s why they are used for maggot therapy.

  12. nbs2 says:

    We want to ban peanuts, but not rotted meat?

    Also, how did the TSA miss this? I suspect that bringing rotten meat aboard an aircraft is more likely to cause a disruption than a pen knife.

    • econobiker says:

      Maybe the person had the container concealed on their body. ///shudder///

    • humphrmi says:

      The x-ray machine takes a snapshot, so it’s not like they can see that something is wriggling around in the bag. All they’d see is something that doesn’t look like a bomb, firearm, knife, or other weapon.

  13. DarthCoven says:

    “it only takes one maggot to upset your world,” and “I see a maggot looking back at me “

    Two of the best lines I’ve ever read on Consumerist in a single article quoting a single witness.

    Please tell me I wasn’t the only one cracking up.

  14. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    How the hell did this get past the TSA?

    I have a really hard time understanding how a passenger got though security with anything even remotely like this in a carry-on. There would be odor, it would show up on the x-ray, it would have more than 3oz of liquid, it was hazardous…etc.

    And then the passenger who was carrying it just gets “put on a different flight?” Who the hell was this person who did this? We have no names, no identification, no reason why they didn’t get arrested for disrupting the flight.

    I bet whoever it was, was traveling on a diplomatic visa and had a courier pouch which wasn’t searched.

    • stanfrombrooklyn says:

      That was my exact thought. I used to travel with a friend who had a diplomatic passport. He would take some “plants” from home and stick them in his courier pouch and nobody would search for it.

  15. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Before I read the linked story I took that to mean that the owner of the container was on an earlier flight in the week and was moved to a different flight prior to take off, forgetting his/her container.

    However, that would mean that the container was not very well sealed and flies had access to it during that week.

    Really it sounds like someone was on a business trip and took home food from a restaurant and didn’t have a fridge in their Holiday Inn Express. Figured they’d take it home after their trip and Bazinga!

    “How do you like those maggots, Michael?”

  16. Hoss says:

    I saw this happen on “Airline” — a reality show. A woman had raw meat in a bag that was teaming with maggots. Considering that maggots hatch in about 10 hours after a fly lays eggs, I can see how this could happen rather easily

  17. SlayerGhede says:


    *breathes in slightly*


    • cash_da_pibble says:

      no kidding.
      I don’t mind most bugs, but MAGGOTS… ohmaigawdgetitawayfromemeeeeeeeeeee!

  18. El_Guapo says:

    This was the wrong story to read whilst eating breakfast.

    • dadelus says:

      The headline wasn’t enough of a tip-off for you?

    • econobiker says:

      Also note: Don’t look for the true story verification on the guy with maggots on his head…

      You’ll want to brillo your brain.

  19. Urgleglurk says:

    Just another day in the airline business….Ah, the stories I could tell about my former career….

  20. Dustbunny says:

    Ooh, my maggoty tip made it on Consumerist! My day is complete….Evelyn aka Dustbunny

  21. Ben says:

    Flesh-eating? They eat DEAD flesh. Relax, lady!

    • Gish says:

      Actually some maggots do feed on live flesh or blood so sh is not technically wrong as the species of fly was not stated. The housefly maggot which is common will feed on dead or live flesh.

      • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

        Props for using more thinking power than the house of reps and congress has done in approve bills lately.

  22. NarcolepticGirl says:

    That’s almost as bad as the centipedes that fall from the ceiling here at work all day.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      I think the centipedes are worse, as some species are poisonous enough to cause temporary debilitating ailments.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        Yeah. I do not like them.
        Our department called for pest control several times. they said they’ve come out. but I’m thinking they need to do a little more than just spray the hallways if they’re falling from the ceiling.

    • Sarahnoid says:

      Oh my gawd, that would make me fuhreeeeek the eff out!

    • evnmorlo says:

      Centipedes will probably eat maggots

    • hmburgers says:

      …the heebiest of jeebies… thanks for that, I’m going to spend the day looking up, with tape over my ears and nostrils.

      I used to get house centipedes in one apartment I lived in… living in new england we don’t get very many large insects… those f*ckers are huge, wriggly, hairy and fast as hell… I moved.

    • Winfield says:

      Holy hell. Now I’m all itchy and keep checking the ceiling and the damn vent above my head.

      Sorry for you. That does suck.

  23. outoftheblew says:

    Maybe they can count the maggots and charge him a $250 pet fee for each one, for bringing live animals on board.

  24. dcarrington01 says:

    Ok, so remind me again why I can’t bring a seal bottle of water/Gatorade/soda through the security checkpoint, but a container of rotten maggot infested meat is perfectly acceptable. TSA aka: To Stand Around, is such a joke….

    • econobiker says:


      you can get around the Gatorade ban by bringing an empty bottle and the powder drink mix and then using water from the fountain to mix it up. You can bring as many empties through as you want…

      • dcarrington01 says:

        That’s not the point. IF we aren’t allowed to bring beverages through the checkpoints, but rotten bug infested meat, along with 18″ long 3/8″ dia. knitting needles are approved, something somewhere in the minds of those who set the rules, is way, way, way outta whack….

  25. Nick says:

    This is the reason I read the Consumerist after breakfast.

  26. Xay says:

    Between this and the beach umbrella impaling story, i may never sleep again.

  27. socritic says:

    they put the owner on a different flight? so they’ll kick you off if you’re fat, charge you extra if you have a bag, but if you bring MAGGOTS on a PLANE, you get to be put on another flight? How about health code violation? how about the cost of all that needed to be done to solve this? this douchebag was to be fined if not arrested

  28. smo0 says:


    In fact, this is horrible. Last month I was on the bus and some guy was standing 3 feet away from me with rotting chicken hanging out of his bag, the “juice” was dripping down on the floor and it smelled something rancid…. as soon as I could I immediately got up and ran away the furthest direction I could without making a “Smo0 shaped” hole out of the back.

    Seriously, I started having a panic attack and imagined that this is what Hell must smell like… REALLY.

  29. pk says:

    Last month I was stopped in security for having a 5oz bottle of Aveeno facial lotion. How did this guy get through security with rotten meat??

  30. Winfield says:

    “it only takes one maggot to upset your world.”

    Such a wise statement. Should be made into a song.

  31. dush says:

    So you can’t bring more than three oz of water but you can bring a container of rotten maggot infested meat? Thanks for keeping us safe TSA.

  32. Winteridge2 says:

    Could that passenger be charged an extra fee for “carrion” baggage?

  33. Winteridge2 says:

    But seriously, how else would you take your pet maggots home for a visit? They cannot fly -yet!

  34. Carlee says:

    I would be soooo grossed out if I was on that flight.

    Not sure if the owner of said meat could be fined for something, though. This was a domestic flight, so customs regulations don’t apply (I think?).

  35. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    “These are anaerobic, flesh-eating larvae that the flight attendants don’t have to sit with.”

    Yeah, I feel like that when I fly with Oil Company management in Business Class, too.