Puke On A Poor Passenger

July 16, 2009

in Odor Stories

My plane was 2 hours leaving from Seattle going to Atlanta. I was sitting in the aisle seat with a mother and her adult daughter sitting next to me. The daughter paged the F.A. before we took off and asked for some ginger ale because she had an upset stomach. The F.A. brought her the drink and I figured that was that — NOT. About 30 minutes into our flight, I was listening to my MP3 with my eyes closed when I received a rather rude tap on my shoulder. It was the mother saying her daughter was sick and needed to get out of the row to the bathroom. Too late — the adult daughter had just gotten her face over my lap when she lost it and continued losing it. I’ve never seen so much puke in my entire life. And it was all in my lap – from my neck down to my shoes. I was so in shock that I couldn’t even move for what seemed like an eternity. I’m sitting there and thinking “this is NOT happening.” It was absolutely beyond description. Now mind you it’s only 30 minutes into a 5 hour flight — so I finally get up and go to the back of the plane where the F.A.’s were doing their do, and one of them looks at me and says — you need to go to the lavatory if you are sick and I say “it’s not me – it’s her” pointing back to where the puking girl is.

So to make a horribly long story shorter, I asked for some help, they handed me a rag, and I stood there slinging puke off of me onto the floor of a lavatory as best I could. I asked if they had anything to change into – they said “no.” They asked me if I had a change of clothes and of course, they are checked. They handed me a can of bathroom cleaner and said I could use that to spray myself. Right. They did put me in a clean seat which I’m sure all the passengers around me enjoyed immensely. Five hour flight – remember? So at some point I had to go potty myself and pulling down wet, pukey, unimaginably smelly clothes and then putting them back on was an experience I hope I never have to repeat. I absolutely just wanted to die.

Well, the story gets better (or not). When we got to Atlanta, I had missed my connecting flight because my first flight was 2 hours late leaving. It was also the last flight of the day so I was told I could sit in the airport for the next 8 hours, or that the airline would put me up in a hotel until the next morning. My luggage is checked and I could not get it so I’m going to go to a motel room and deal with pukey clothes??? Just let your imagination run wild here.

I ended up renting a car for $350 (I could have gotten an $11 refund on my ticket I didn’t use) and driving myself home – three hours away. So by the time I finally got myself home, I had been wearing some stranger’s puke for nearly 12 hours. Absolutely no way to describe what I was feeling on my skin or smelling by this time. When I got home, I stripped at the back door and threw my clothes in the trash. I showered for what seemed like an hour – absolutely sobbing through the whole thing.

Next morning (like 3 hours later that is) when my plane arrived, I had to go to the airport to get my luggage and low and behold – there was the mother and daughter that had puked on me waiting for their luggage. They stared at me and walked away, never offering any words, apologies, anything.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

SAW July 17, 2009 at 4:18 am

That… is truly awful. I can not even imagine how nasty it must have been to live in those clothes for as long as you did. The flight attendants didn't offer you blankets?

What shocks me more, is that those who did it to you didn't apologize, or in some way, do something to recognize the trauma they put you through.

I can understand that it's possible the "result" of the illness may not have been predictable – I'm sure the girl didn't WANT to throw up in your lap, but still – if it was me – I'd be horrified if it involved an innocent stranger.

Take a lesson from a "hitchhiker", though, and … always carry a towel. If it was me – my pants would have come off on the plane and I'd have sat in a towel Hell – I'll sit in my underwear before I'd sit in vomit-ridden clothes – modesty be damned!

Don't know if there's parts your leaving out *wink* but it does seem as if you handled the entire situation with a degree of grace I likely wouldn't have been able to maintain.

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Jodi July 17, 2009 at 5:01 am

OMG.. this is horrible. Anyway, I’m sorry this happened to you and I agree with Saw in that she should have said something even though I’m sure the last thing she wanted was to throw up in your lap.

You seemed to have handled it great though. I really think they should have offered to have your clothes professionally cleaned as well as an apology.

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Jeanie July 17, 2009 at 7:32 am

Oh, that's just awful… for everyone involved, I'm sure! Although I must say that if that young woman didn't feel well, she should have had an air-sickness bag at the ready.

I have a cross-country flight two weeks from today… maybe I should add a change of clothes to my carry-on bag?!?!?!?!

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Jodi July 17, 2009 at 9:45 am

Jeanie you could take a rain slicker that you can put on during the flight! LOL

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SAW July 17, 2009 at 10:16 am

I think I might start flying in Tyvek overalls…

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Jeanie July 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm

A rain slicker… there's a thought. Someone could hose me down if there were a problem! LOL

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DSD July 19, 2009 at 10:18 am

Only one thing to do at that point. Start drinking heavily and have the flight attendant collect from the Mother and Daughter.

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poco July 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

Now THAT'S a flight from hell.

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aaron July 22, 2009 at 8:23 am

absolutely a flight from hell!!!

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Jess July 26, 2009 at 10:29 am

What a horrible experience!

Not that anyone ever expects this to happen, but I was taught to always pack a change of clothes in my carry-on, especially if I am going to be making a connection in the evening. You never know when you will miss the connection and have to take a flight the next day.

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Anon July 30, 2009 at 12:01 pm

From now on, I have a change of clothes in my laptop bag. O.O THAT is truly a disgusting flight from Hell.

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John August 28, 2009 at 4:12 am

For this and other reasons, I always carry a pair of short pants, t-shirt and underwear with me in my hand luggage on a long flight.

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alex September 3, 2009 at 10:09 pm

I would have probably knocked the b*tch out. Or sued her for psychological damage. Either way, she would have been sorry.

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Mark December 2, 2009 at 7:10 am

Wow, some people pay for that sort of experience!

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rerere January 31, 2010 at 1:55 pm

what rude people.

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DillyO July 14, 2010 at 6:35 am

I always keep a spare change of clothes in my carry-on…even if it's just a t-shirt, shorts & socks n' jocks.

This story re-inforces the reason why many people do the same thing! 😛

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James July 15, 2010 at 5:13 am

I had an experience like that (but no where near as bad) a long time ago. I was flying from JFK to LHR for the FA Cup Final. About an hour out of London, a person waiting for the lav in the aisle just puked, and part of it went down my trouser leg. All Pan Am (it was 1985) provided was some paper towels.

To make matters worse, the flight was 4.5 hours late (typical Pan Am) so I didn't have time to change before rushing off to Wembley for the football match.

At least I wasn't soaked.

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Tux November 20, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I would have been forgiving if they'd apologized, but as it stands I'd probably knock her teeth out.

I'm flying in a wetsuit now.

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Kirsten June 25, 2011 at 9:54 am

That's a horrible experience, but anyone who uses the phrase "I had to go potty" deserves all they get.

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