Last year, a California couple were greeted by a truly gross experience when they found a barf bag full of, well, barf in the seatback of the flight they had just boarded. As difficult as it might be to believe, an Iowa man’s recent experience might top that disgusting discovery: he claims the seat he was assigned, and subsequently sat in, was soaked with urine.
The man, who was returning to Des Moines from a business trip via Chicago in mid-January, tells WHO-TV that he’s experienced a lot of things through his frequent work travels, but never something like this.
The ordeal began when the man took his seat in first class, sat down, and after an hour, realized he wasn’t exactly comfortable.
“What is this feeling?” He recalls thinking, “‘Oh, I’m wet.’ I turn to the gentleman next to me.. and I go, ‘Is your seat wet?'”
The answer was no. And that’s when the man realized that maybe the reason his pants were now completely wet was because he was sitting in pee.
“So, I just kind of reach down between my seat to see what’s going on, and I go, ‘It’s urine,'” the traveler tells WHO-TV.
The man notified a flight attendant of the issue, and was offered blankets and a plastic bag to sit on. She told the man an older passenger had previously occupied the seat and had appeared to have had trouble making it to the restroom.
After landing in Des Moines, the passenger notified the gate agent of the issue, but says he was greeted with a response akin to “that’s terrible, but what do you want me to do about it?”
American provided the man with a shower and a pair of pajamas to change into after landing. He says he was also offered a $200 voucher for a future flight, but he tells WHO-TV the compensation was an “insult.”
He says the real issue isn’t compensation — while that would be nice — it’s the failure by American to tell him how it handles bio-hazardous waste.
“I don’t know who was sitting there before,” he said. “He could have been the nicest guy in the world, but could have Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, could have had Ebola. I don’t know what the guy had.”
A spokesperson for American tells WHO-TV that aircraft cleaners are trained to look for visible items like trash left on seats, floor, and seatback pockets.
“We regret that the cleaners did not detect that this particular seat was wet,” the airline said without providing information on bio-hazardous waste disposal. “If our customer service agents or flight crew had been notified before the flight, we would have removed the affected seat cushion and replaced it with a new, clean one.”
In the end, American increased its compensation offer to $1,000, refunded the 10,000 frequent flyer miles the man used on the trip, and paid to replace his suit.
The man says that from now on he will always check his seat before sitting down. “I don’t want any more surprises.”
American Airlines, Urine Trouble [WHO-TV]