April 02, 2009

Flying the Friendly Skies

Once upon a time it really was a case of flying the friendly skies.

(CNN) -- There was a time when airline travel was a special treat, the kind of occasion that inspired passengers to dress up.

Now, the awe people once felt about flying through the clouds is tempered by additional fees, cramped seats and horrifying tales of fellow travelers.

Take, for instance, "Mr. Poopy Pants" -- a grown man who allegedly soiled himself 10 minutes into a flight from Florida to Minnesota. And then he just sat there.

"We've all had our flying hell experiences," said Gregg Rottler, creator of FlightsFromHell.com.

The site provides a venue for people to share their tales of woe, said Rottler. "It's therapeutic ... so it benefits them and provides entertainment value for others."

Rottler, a 54-year-old environmental health supervisor in Tampa, Florida, launched the site more than two years ago. Since then, FlightsFromHell.com has attracted submissions from passengers and flight attendants that have run the gamut, touching on categories that include "odors," "attendant issues," "weird people," and "luggage and delays."

Among the story headlines: "Titanic toddler creates tumult," "Wifey punched by elderly 'sleepwalker,' " and "Lip-locked tousle-haired 20-somethings."

"There's something about being scrunched up with strangers ... The seats aren't that big, and once someone starts going wacko, it just creates an extremely stressful environment that was already stressful enough," Rottler said.

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