Businessmen Barf on Passenger’s Belongings

June 20, 2012

in Passenger Stories

I live in Switzerland and needed to go home on short notice for my grandfather’s funeral. It was a stressful time, as I was leaving my husband and year-old daughter at home in Zürich; this would be the first time I had been away from her overnight. I was also four months pregnant with my second daughter.

I boarded a Delta flight from ZRH to ATL, exhausted, nauseous, and upset. Soon after takeoff, I asked for some water, took off my shoes, slipped my purse under the seat in front of me and had a snack (which I brought for myself). Then I tried to sleep.

Except I couldn’t. Two German-speaking businessmen were behind me, dressed in suits, drinking beer, talking very loudly. One of them was digging his ample knees into the back of my seat. After the first round, they had a second. I moved to the empty middle seat, put on my headphones, and after beer number three was delivered to the two men, they seemingly quieted down and I finally fell asleep.

A few hours later, the flight attendant came by and woke me up. “You may want to clean your belongings.”


I looked down. Vomit was sprayed over my shoes and purse. Vomit on the floor, all over the aisle. Everywhere. I turned and looked behind me. Neither man was there.

“What happened?”

“Well,” the FA said, “one of the gentlemen behind you got sick. He’s on a prescription medication, he wouldn’t tell us what, so he is resting up back there.” She pointed to the row of seats with the curtain around it, normally reserved for the flight attendants. Apparently, his companion also got moved to a different seat. Those of us around them weren’t so lucky. We got a few napkins. Both the shoes and the purse went into the trash bin.

One of the other passengers, hearing the explanation given and commiserating as we cleaned our belongings, told me that the men had had at least seven beers each in the first two hours of the flight. Kids or businessmen? I’ll totally pick the kids.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

epeek June 21, 2012 at 1:45 am

Did they even apologize at the end of the flight? so rude


Substantial June 21, 2012 at 3:20 am

Just wondering what is relevant about the language spoken by the businessmen? Do German speakers spew a particular type of vomit as opposed to, say, Cantonese speakers?


paul June 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Hey "Sub" get a life and stop bothering people


Substantial June 25, 2012 at 3:59 am

Congratulations on your thoughtful and important contribution to the discussion Paul.


paul June 29, 2012 at 10:41 am

Hey…………Thats "Mr Paul" to you…………………….


Substantial June 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

I had no idea you were a ladies' hairdresser.


Robert June 21, 2012 at 9:26 am

Oh, come on, Substantial …. of course it doesn't matter, but it does lend a bit of color to the story ….or do you not know how to interject interesting comments into an anecdote?


Substantial June 21, 2012 at 11:25 am

Thing is, Robert, the author of this article has a history of making snide remarks about nationalities other than her own and deserves to be called on it. It's not adding colour, it's propogating the myth that Americans are somehow superior beings to all others.


Jodi June 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

How do you know who the author is?


Curious June 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Why do you think the author is American?


Substantial June 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Jodi and Curious: Read her previous story. Anything else you would like me to spell out for you?


Kam July 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Sub spends way too much time on this website.


epeek June 22, 2012 at 1:16 am

Oh come on, why does one have to analyse every bits and bobs of a story, when at the end of the day the author just wanted to share their experience to the rest of the world.

It is true going into that kind of detail gives the story more juice. But im sure the aim is not to descriminate.

If you really want to analyse this the author desribed the two passengers as 'german speaking', who say's they HAVE to be German? I have experienced many cases where this was not the case.

Anyways, good story! 🙂


Samantha June 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Ha ha! Great story.


John July 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Just wondering why the passenger just accepted this whole episode without (apparently) taking any further action. What about making a complaint to the airlines (7 beers served to a passenger…) What about visiting the men themselves and saying hey, you barfed on my purse that cost me $80? She just accepted it? Seems to me some kind of apology and compensation was in order.


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