In the high-flying, heady days of the Internet, I was working at a firm in Boston, MA and was attending a conference in San Jose, CA. I was flying back to Boston on a flight with one stop in Denver.
The flight to Denver was uneventful, but there we picked up a large group of elderly passengers who were traveling with caregivers. Getting these folks settled was difficult, and some of them were in the early stages of dementia, as they clearly didn’t know why they were on a plane. After MANY demands from the flight crew to sit down and buckle their seat belts, we finally were able to take off.
This leg of the flight was a nightmare. I was seated mid-cabin, near the center lavatories. As soon as the Fasten Seat Belts light was off, the migration of the elderly to the restrooms began. Some people used walkers, some canes, some refuse to be assisted to the restroom, only to call the Flight Attendant to help them clean themselves. The most difficult cases wore adult diapers that needed to be changed, and the caregivers needed to help them. This meant that the door to the lavatory had to remain open. Several people fell either on their way to the lavatory or back to their seat. Throughout the flight, I could hear many of them moaning, groaning, burping, slurping, etc.
Finally, we approached Boston’s Logan airport. Again, the flight crew had to work hard to get these passengers in their seats and prepared for landing. The nervous twitters of pre-landing died down and I breathed a sigh of relief that I would soon be off the plane. Looking out of the window, I could see the tops of houses.
Then the Call Flight Attendant button was pushed behind me. A Flight Attendant came over the intercom and explained that we would be landing shortly. The button was pushed again. And again. And again. An agitated flight attendant came from behind me and began speaking with a woman. The woman explained that her husband had to use the restroom. NOW. The attendant explained that he couldn’t get up from his seat. I looked down to see the tops of the houses and I could almost read the license plates of the cars parked in the driveways.
And then the man let go. Not number one. And he wasn’t wearing a diaper.
The stench was unbearable. People began to vomit – loudly. The man in the soiled pants began to cry, the woman with him began to sob.
We landed. Then we taxied. Then we stopped. The Flight Attendants were on the intercom begging for calm and for people to remain in their seats. Those of us closest to the scene ignored them and moved to the front of the plane.
We were trapped on the plane for nearly 20 minutes waiting for a gate before we finally got off the plane.
I, and others, went to the gate agent to complain to the airline. We were basically told to choose another airline if we were disappointed with the service.
I never found out why those people were flying to Boston, but it must have been as bad a flight for them as it was for us.
Signed, No Flight of Fancy