Demoted To Coach Due To Sickened Senior

August 29, 2010

in Illness/Medical Stories

About 2 months ago, a flight I expected would be more pleasant than usual turned out to be a real flight from hell.

Before my flight, I used my miles to upgrade to first class on an AA flight. I thought this would make my flight much more comfortable than usual… I was wrong.

Next to me was sitting a woman who was 86 years old. I know this because I heard her talking to someone else. Her family was seated back in coach. Soon after take-off, the 86 year old lady sneezes and covered her entire face with snot. I mean her ENTIRE face. Given that I was still in a great mood, I happily took out tissues I had in my purse and offered all of them to her. I should have known this was an omen of a bodily fluid nightmare…

Half an hour later, I was brought my meal. As I was about to begin eating, my seatmate suddenly and explosively vomited. The flight attendant rushes to her aid and was able to fill 3 bags with her vomit! At that point, I was not able to continue eating the hummus dip I had been brought. You can imagine why.

Another half an hour later, as I am stepping around her to use the restroom, she vomits again in the same explosive manner. This time, some of her vomit actually got on my clothes! After cleaning myself out in the restroom, I come back to my seat to find a lot of people around her. Because she is so old, vomiting continuously poses a real health risk. Because of this crowd, I was asked to simply stand and wait. The problem, of course, was that we were experiencing turbulence and I felt unsteady and wanted to buckle up. The turbulence lasted another 40 minutes, and during that time I just stood and the sick lady vomited yet again. That whole area smelled terrible. For some reason that I still don’t know, her family members would give me rather harsh looks. I didn’t at ANY point say or make a face of any kind! In fact, I was more than helpful the whole time.

To top it off, because I couldn’t just stand while the plane landed, I was demoted to coach. There went my upgrade. They gave my seat to the old lady’s niece. I asked if I could get my miles back and very swiftly they said “NO.”

So, to finish this crazy story, I can only tell you that about two days later I woke up extremely nauseous… I wonder where I caught that stomach virus!!!!!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

The Teenaged Tourist August 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Ughhh that's horrible! However I can't blame the old lady from being sick.


Josh August 30, 2010 at 4:46 am

The lady is vomiting all over the place from a bad stomach bug and YOU are having the flight from hell?

They should have refunded your points, but I don't think you should begrudge her for being sick.


James August 30, 2010 at 6:28 am

Drop a note to Christopher Elliot — — he may be willing to intercede on your behalf with AA to recover the miles, or get some compensation.

I can understand AA's "letter of the law" perspective, but good public relations suggests they refund the miles, and/or give you a voucher for a free upgrade at a later date.


Eric September 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm

James has an excellent suggestion. It's amazing how airlines suddenly grow a conscience when their behavior is highlighted on his site.


rerere August 30, 2010 at 4:46 am

Again, I don't blame the old lady, but I'd definetly never fly AA after the way they handeled that situation.


Eloise November 25, 2010 at 10:23 am

You should have most definitly recieved your points back and a free flight too! Why was this woman flying in the first place?


Ilovefyling February 3, 2016 at 12:26 am

Possibly to go home? Be


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