Montezuma’s Revenge Wreaks Havoc

November 30, 2009

in Illness/Medical Stories

Many years ago I was on a return flight from Mexico to the U.S. The flight turned to hell when 50-75% of the passengers simultaneously had reactions to food we had all eaten in Mexico. At first, it was just constant people going to the bathroom with diarrhea or vomit. With about an hour remaining in the flight, a young man was so sick in the bathroom we could all hear and smell him. People were vomiting in the little bags provided for the smell alone. The bathrooms had lines the entire flight and they made an exception to let people from coach use the first class bathrooms. Some people and small children were crying and panicking. I don’t blame them, it was like we had been attacked with bioweapons. I literally choked on my first breath of fresh air when I stepped off the plane. Not the airline’s fault, but definitely a flight from hell.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Hugh December 1, 2009 at 12:17 am

I've been to Mexico numrous times, and have NEVER seen anything even approaching this on the return flight. If you are visiting one of the resort areas in Mexco, most of the hotel water is filtered and chlorinated to prevent these types of symptoms. The food may disagree with some people and cause some "looseness", but for 50-75% of an entire plane to have it come on suddenly seems extrememly improbable. IMHO it was either something else, or this is a made up or highly exagerrated story.


ps December 1, 2009 at 2:57 am

If there was a planeload of ill passengers it would have likely been in the papers as a fairly major story and the passengers would have been quarantined, another front pager. Sounds a little over the top.


Jodi December 1, 2009 at 4:51 am

Many years ago.. I got that part, did anyone else? I'm believing the story, it may be exaggerated, but I remember when there weren't a bunch of nice resorts 🙂


Josh December 1, 2009 at 5:35 am

The "simultaniousness" of the whole ordeal may have been people just getting sick from the smell, sight and panic due to other people being sick. My guess is just a handful of people were sick from Mexican food or water, and the remaining people were getting ill as a chain reaction.


poco December 1, 2009 at 6:46 am

Was it a tour group? If everyone on the plane was eating at the same place this story is plausible. Otherwise it seems unlikely.


D-Money December 1, 2009 at 7:24 am

Ahh, looks like the "author" saw the re-run of House where a plane-load of people make themselves sick. Gotta love mass-hysteria.


Bonnie December 1, 2009 at 8:34 am

It can happen. And it doesn't even have to involve Mexico!

Many years ago, I worked for a company that held a large reception for all employees one evening, including 20-30 sales types from the West Coast who were flown in for the event. The reception was a great success, food & spirits were enjoyed by all, and late that evening, the West Coast crew left for the airport to return home on the redeye…

A few hours later (reportedly about an hour or so into their flight), EVERYONE who had been at the reception and eaten shrimp came down with food poisoning from he**…. It hit hard & fast and pretty much hit everyone simultaneously as best we could tell afterwards. Well over 100 people were affected. Didn't matter if you were at home or trapped in a plane somewhere over middle America.

Have you ever been so sick you felt like you were going to die & you felt so bad that you just didn't care?!?!?!?! That's what it was like for both me & my husband, at home in our little apartment only a couple of miles from the office. I remember trying to crawl back into bed & was so sick, I just stayed on the floor instead…

I can't imagine what the employees who were flying back West went thru… And I also can't imagine what their fellow passengers must have thought (and had to deal with)! Ugh!


Jojo December 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I stayed at a nice hotel in Merida, Mexico around 15 years ago and ended up sick, curled in a fetal position for 24 hours, probably from eating at their salad bar.

I agree with Josh that much of the vomiting was due to the foul odors, which the writer even noted ("People were vomiting in the little bags provided for the smell alone"). Additionally, the sight of vomit along with the smell may have created a psychogenic effect resulting in the chain reaction.


rerere August 4, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Yeah, I'v been to mexico and eaten the food there (not just the resort food), and had no problems.


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