Dirty Diaper Grounds Qantas Flight

A few years back, I had the unpleasant experience of sitting behind a baby that had vomited all over his row only an hour into a flight from San Francisco to New York. I remember wishing at the time that there would be some non-disastrous reason for the plane to have to make an early landing so I could get away from the smell. Little did I know it would only have taken a single dirty diaper.

Earlier this week, passengers on a Qantas flight across Australia from Darwin to Brisbane complained of a suspicious stench wafting about the cabin.

The commotion became so bad that the plane made an emergency landing in Mount Isa, more than 1,000 miles from its destination.

The culprit: A dirty diaper that someone had unsuccessfully attempted to flush down a plane toilet.

“Unfortunately the fumes turned out to be a very smelly nappy dumped in the fwd toilet,” reads a statement from Qantas. “‘Procedures dictate to land as soon as possible. [It’s] very embarrassing for us all at [Qantas], but, better safe than sorry.”

The UK’s Daily Mail reports that a forklift was required to get passengers off the plane.

Travelers were put on to another jet and whisked away to Brisbane. However, they still had to wait for the plane with the soiled nappy to be checked and cleaned before they could get all the luggage that remained in its cargo hold.

Qantas flight grounded by a DIRTY NAPPY after passengers complain of strange smell [Daily Mail]


Edit Your Comment

  1. IphtashuFitz says:

    Quick, somebody at the TSA enact a policy requiring all diapers to be screened so that air travel in the US isn’t disrupted in a similarly nefarious manner!

    • Don't Bother says:

      That diaper better not have contained more than 3.4 ounces of liquid before being taken on the flight D:

    • Cat says:

      TSA should have to search all dirty diapers by hand.

    • Tunnen says:

      The should start insisting that babies and small children are checked in with the other check luggage. Or just banned outright for being a known creator of biological weapons. =P

      Mind you, guess we should also include the adults with mass BO issues too.

  2. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Saw article title, thought of a diaper full of old coffee grounds.

    This Friday needs to end.

  3. OttersArePlentiful says:

    Not quite sure why any sane mum would attempt to flush a diaper… there have always been trash bins in the stalls when I’ve flown. Sure, it’s stinky, but most people would have known better than to attempt to flush a diaper.

  4. mauispiderweb says:
  5. Sunflower1970 says:

    Should not have read this while eating lunch…Now lost appetite…

  6. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:


  7. Geekybiker says:

    I ounce found a dirty diaper stuff in the seat pocket of my seat. Gross. What the hell is wrong with parents?

    • Kate says:

      What the hell is wrong with the janitorial servicers of the airline?

      • binder34 says:

        Do you realize how little time there is for planes to be flipped to the next destination these days? It’s the price we pay for reasonably affordable airfare, and it means that when the flight attendants come up and down the aisles four separate times collecting trash, you need to do your part and hand over your garbage to help keep the plane clean. And if you miss the last flight attendant collection on board, then you take your trash off the plane with you and throw it away in the terminal. It is NEVER acceptable to leave a soiled diaper in a seat pocket (or even to put it there in the first place, frankly). Pick up after yourself like a reasonable human being. It’s not hard.

        • orion70 says:

          I’m pretty sure it’s not acceptable to hand a dirty diaper to a flight attendant either. Or to be anywhere near a seat pocket to begin with while changing a diaper.

          • Geekybiker says:

            There is no reason a dirty diaper should be anywhere near the seats. Go put in the disposal in the bathroom like a real human being. Just the idea that someone thought it was okay to store there is vile, or even to change a diaper in the seat like that.

  8. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    I’ll never forget the time my one year old daughter and I were flying to see Grandma and she decided to unload her baggage about ten minutes before we landed. It was one of those voluminous dripping-diaper gushers, and boy was it ripe! Everyone started turning up the flow on their air nozzles and bitching I couldn’t get up to take her to the bathroom because we were on final approach, so I just said “damn the turd-pedoes” and changed her right there on my lap. After I opened up that can-o-stank, I bet those snooty folks wish they’d have shut up and taken it. People were retching, passing out, and beating on the windows. It was very ugly. Surprisingly, after we landed everyone stepped aside and let us off the plane first. Stand back! I have a loaded baby! Don‚Äôt make me shoot!

    Unfortunately, I left her Teddy Ruxpin on the plane. Oh well.

    • daemonaquila says:

      There is absolutely nothing “snooty” about people being revolted by your kid’s diaper stench in an enclosed area. That attitude is exactly why so many fliers complain about flying with babies – and parents who don’t seem to care what an unpleasant situation they create when dealing with the kids’ needs.

      • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

        Oh I cared, but all the caring in the world would have done nothing to make it any better. I had to choose between 20 minutes of stank and about 3 minutes of uber-stank. I thought I did the considerate thing. And if you weren’t such a clueless, snooty jackass then you might understand that. But I doubt it.

        • orion70 says:

          As someone who had to fly with a mask last year while in the middle of chemo, I would have much rathered having put up with an unpleasant smell than someone opening a bacteria bomb right next to me.

          Also, an apology to those near you goes miles. A smug “that’ll show em” attitude just makes it that much harder for the next parent who gets on the plane.

          • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

            The diaper was leaking – it was bad. And I did explain what I had to do and why, and I apologized.

            BTW, that mask you wore was more of a placebo than anything else. The only effective barrier would have been a full-face respirator with HEPA cartridges.

      • humphrmi says:

        Wow. I guess you helped define that snooty. Babies poop, sometimes when you can’t do anything about it for a few minutes, but I guess you wouldn’t know, I’m sure your poop smelled like flowers and unicorns when you were a baby.

      • Chipzilla says:

        You sir (or madam) are a moron.

        Ever tried forcing a baby to hold in a turd? You can’t.

  9. Thopter says:

    “The UK’s Daily Mail reports that a forklift was required to get passengers off the plane. “

    And here I thought the US was the fat country, not Australia.

  10. RayanneGraff says:

    I know I’ll probably get a lot of shit for saying this(see what I did there?), but I don’t think babies & toddlers should be allowed to fly. Everyone suffers when parents take sub-3 year olds on planes. Babies do nothing but poop & scream the whole time from their ears popping, and toddlers are still in diapers too & can’t sit still long enough to not annoy everyone.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      I’ve seen more than a few childish asshole adults on planes that would put any kid to shame.

    • sadie kate says:

      I personally am not planning on flying with my 3-month old daughter any time soon, because I know she’s a screamer when she’s unhappy, and I just can’t predict how she’d do on a plane. poorly, I suspect, as she doesn’t even handle a car ride very well yet. But there are plenty of children who do perfectly well on planes. I’ve ridden on planes with dozens of children and small babies in the past who were more well-behaved than many adults I’ve flown with. Hell, my sister flew to Alaska and back with her one-year old who made nary a peep. I get where you’re coming from, but I think banning kids from all flights is pretty extreme. Just wear some headphones. Trust me – the occasional screaming kid is more miserable than you are.

    • SusieHomemaker says:

      You’re totally right. Why should my children ever meet their relatives?

      • chrisb71 says:

        you can fly your parents over to meet your baby, it will cost the same amount or less (if it’s one of the airlines that forces people to buy seats for babies). we are talking 3 month olds, not older children. 3 months old who you also cannot teach to pop their ears on descent, so they scream in pain.

        • shepd says:

          Sounds great, but what about the (great) grandparents who will die soon and are unable to fly due to debilitating diseases?

          That’s the case for many, many families with newborns. And I imagine those grandparents would die a lot happier having seen their grandchildren IRL.

    • shepd says:

      Can your taxes (not mine) pay for my child’s grandparents to fly to my house? And you can pay for childcare, etc. for me during family vacations, too.

      And before you say “it was your choice”, yeah, you’re right. I am willing to bet you’re pretty damn happy your parents made that choice (and if you’re not, please call the suicide hotline). Pay it forward, my man.

  11. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I think I would have some Walmart or plastic grocery bags in my diaper bag so I could put the bomb in one, tie it shut and put it in the trash can. That would be the SENSIBLE thing to do. I can’t understand why people discard diapers like that. Really? Throwing them in the lake (making them have to close beaches) or clogging a public toilet with them? Whatever happened to cleaning up after yourself?

  12. u1itn0w2day says:

    What the airlines have called fair pricing and treatment over the years should be called a dirty diaper.

  13. daynight says:

    To those who defend taking really young children on planes: its all about your convenience, isn’t it? First, there are other ways to get places, like trains and boats, that do not make the child so distressed with ear popping. Yes, they take longer. Duration is a convenience.
    And taking children to see relatives while so young is a nice luxury. LUXURY! They will remember little or nothing of the trip by the time they are 6. It accomplishes nothing except flex personal arrogance to say you did it for them instead of for yourself.
    In this case the parent made a bad choice of bringing the child onto the plane followed by a second bad choice of opening up the diaper in a bad situation.
    One idea that may have worked better would be to layer a second diaper on top of the first to catch the leakage and contain it. (I believe this would work, but am not sure about the type of diaper to know this beyond a conjecture.) This may be a bit wasteful in that when the baby is properly changed there will be two diapers to dispose of, yet that would be a quick and simple way to delay having to open the diaper is a bad location to everyone’s dismay.