Stories of haunted travel that are scarier than overbooked flights

On second thought, nothing's scarier than being overbooked

By 10Best Editors,

An airplane flies through spooky clouds — Photo courtesy of iStock/middelveld

We've all heard stories about haunted hotels.  They send chills down your spine and sometimes make you double-check online reviews out of paranoia. After all, hotels are kind of creepy when you think about it. You never know what went on in your room before you got there (unless housekeeping was really slacking – that's a different kind of scary).

But have you ever stopped to think about the ghosts you might be encountering on your journey?  Here are a few phantom tales that might give you a new perspective.

Flight 401

Eastern Airlines TriStar in 1972 — Photo courtesy of clipperarctic

In 1972, Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crashed into the Florida Everglades, claiming 101 lives, including those of Captain Robert  'Bob' Loft and Flight Engineer Donald 'Don' Repo.  Many parts of the plane, especially those in the galley, were deemed re-usable and were therefore salvaged and installed on other planes in Eastern's fleet.

That's when the alleged paranormal appearances began.  On planes where salvaged parts had been installed, the ghosts of Bob Loft and Don Repo started to turn up.  In one instance, the story goes that an airline VP had a pleasant conversation with a man in a captain's uniform shortly after boarding.  He realized halfway through that he recognized the man as the deceased Captain Bob Loft.

In another tale, a flight attendant reported seeing the face of Don Repo in an oven door.  She grabbed two other members of the crew to come take a look, just in time to hear the specter say "Watch out for fire in this plane."  Sure enough, the engine failed on the return flight and was shut down just before catching fire.

It didn't take long before stories of these ghostly encounters began to circulate, almost always sharing a common thread:  these friendly phantoms were trying to protect the planes and those aboard.

The sightings weren't limited to just crew either.  There were several reports of passengers seeing the same ghosts as well.

Eventually, the threat of bad press (and the crew's fear) prompted the airline to remove all salvaged parts from the affected jets.  That didn't, however, halt the release of the book, The Ghost of Flight 401, as well as a movie by the same title.

Heathrow Airport

Terminal five at Heathrow Airport — Photo courtesy of Citizen59

In the 1730s, there was a brutal highwayman by the name of Dick Turpin.  He would steal, torture and kill, taking anything and everything he could.  The scoundrel was finally caught and sentenced to death in 1739, but Turpin took matters into his own hands and jumped from the gallows with a noose around his neck, effectively killing himself.

And for some reason, his ghost has reportedly taken a liking to the grounds of Heathrow Airport. Reports of sightings can be traced back to a time before the airport was even constructed.  Descriptions of alleged sightings often include a black stallion, while many report seeing Turpin standing in the main terminal wearing period clothing, including a tri-cornered hat.

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Denver International Airport

Blue Mustang sculpture at Denver International Airport — Photo courtesy of Mike Sinko

Over the years, Denver International Airport has established a reputation for being one of the most evil places in the world, owing mostly to conspiracy theories rather than ghosts. Nevertheless, the story goes that you'll hear unnerving Native American chanting between Concourse A and the Jeppesen Terminal building. 

Employees assert that its music being played on a loop as part of the arts program. Others agree that it's music being played on a loop, but that its purpose is to drive out any angry spirits.  Meanwhile, a third opinion maintains that it's actual ghost chanting. But who really knows where the truth begins and ends?

It's been reported that the airport was constructed on sacred Native American land, perhaps angering any spirits left behind.  That claim has been refuted, with airport staff citing that the ground was surveyed by archaeologists prior to the build.  However, in 1995,  Native American spiritual leaders performed a ceremony to lay any remaining spirits to rest – you know, just to be on the safe side.

Vancouver Waterfront Station

Waterfront station at night — Photo courtesy of Bobanny

Vancouver Waterfront Station is said to be the most haunted place in the city, with almost all spooky sightings occurring at night.

Security guards on night patrol have reported seeing several instances of odd activity.  For instance, guards and various crew have reported hearing 1920's music – not being played by the sound system – accompanied by a dancing woman adorned in clothing of that era.

In another tale, the phantom of a rail worker, who died a very violent death whilst working in the yard, is reported to show up at night.  If you're wondering how he died, let's just say this ghost appears with a lantern and is always looking for something: his head.

Phantom bus of London

Night bus in London — Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn

Long before the Knight Bus made its first appearance in Harry Potter, there was the Phantom Bus of London.  Described as a red double-decker bus with a number 7 on the side, this haunted transport has been the stuff of legend since 1934.

Motoring along one night, a driver met his untimely demise when he swerved suddenly and ran into a wall. Witnesses described seeing a ghostly bus driving down the center of the road, which caused the crash.

In the years that followed, several other sightings were reported corroborating the original claims.  A ghost bus would appear in Cambridge Gardens at exactly 1:15 am, with no driver and  no passengers, inexplicably careening down the road, causing frightened motorists in its path to swerve out of the way and get in an accident.

The bus hasn't been sighted since 1990, just before the curved road leading up to the infamous intersection was straightened.