As American Staff Eject A Passenger From Flight, The Man Throws Up In First Class

Several passengers were removed from American Airlines flight 1174 from Philadelphia to Miami on Saturday after a man threw up in the coach lavatory prior to departure.

Reader Robert G. was on board on a paid first class ticket sitting in 2B. He had noticed the sick man with what he described as “a weird walk” when they were still at the gate. As the man was coming forward from the back of the plane he stopped at row two and vomited all over this first class passenger.

Fortunately Robert had a change of clothes in his carry on bag, but notes “this is absolute proof it isn’t serving alcohol on planes that’s the problem, he was wasted long before he got on this plane.”

So at the gate, I saw the guy, looked 25-30 years old. …Gate agent should’ve flagged that one. I thought to myself, maybe I should say something, but who really wants to do that these days. Offend the passenger, offend the crew, and since he wasn’ first class I really didn’t care.

[After boarding completed] I start to see a procession of maybe five people, very normal looking, walk to front of plane with their bags. …Then the young guy comes walking up, he’s looking worse off than before, and just looks up and vomits right at me. They keep pushing/guiding him off with American ground staff. ..Other passengers were helpful as could be, handing me their pouches of cleaning wipes.

The man was being guided by American staff, apparently, as the vomited on the passenger. And certainly this wasn’t part of the bundle of experiences purchased with a first class ticket. In my view American should offer a ‘do over’ in first class as compensation, at least, but I’d be surprised if they do.

All of this happened without alcohol being served in coach on the plane. The plane hadn’t even taken off yet. So the ban on coach booze didn’t stop it. And truth be told the rest of the passengers need access to a drink to handle everything that’s going on around them. This went on before the flight even took off (it was only delayed 10 minutes), and most of the passengers on board couldn’t even have a drink and settle into their seats, marveling at what just occurred.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Hmm, alcohol bans encourage binge drinking to front-load the flight, what a surprise. Question for the American execs behind this policy: “You even go to college, bruh?”

  2. they say a photo is worth a thousand words

    Sometimes, we just don’t need those words lol

  3. Yep, I’d alcohol was not banned, he might have waited and had one or two drinks on the plane. And BTW they served alcohol in the main cabin from JFK to MILAN 2 weeks ago. Just beer and wine I think, but point being it was alcohol.

  4. Savvy coach passengers know you can avoid hangovers by staying drunk. Accordingly, as pre-departure beverages are not served in coach, the American Airlines Admirals Club at the Philadelphia airport is an excellent lounge choice to maintain your permabuzz before boarding.

    Even more impressive in this article is the ungloved hand cleaning up the first-class vomit chunks. Is that hand attached to an American Airlines flight attendant?

    Fun fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control, “you can get norovirus by accidentally getting tiny particles of feces (poop) or vomit from an infected person in your mouth.”

  5. You can not assume that the man is drunk. There are many other medical reasons that someone can have a weird walk and vomit.

  6. I enjoy drinking as much as anyone but I still say that passengers should be breathalyzed at the gate. I know it sounds bad but it would only take a second and prevent issues like this on planes. How many times do you walk through an airport to see people who are getting drunk at the bars and restaurants during layovers or at departure. Self-medicating from fear of flying, alcoholics, party types, or whatever. If you’ve ever flown LHR-AMS on a Friday you’ll know why I feel this way. If nothing else go back and watch the old Southwest “Fly” reality show and see how many times they have to keep people from flying drunk.

  7. As a former CSA with a differnt airline, we were trained to. E on the lookout for signs of inebriation and sickness. But you still never know. I had a kid one time seemed fine boarding who then five minutes after being seat threw up on his dad. So, things happen. But AA should definitely compensate that first class passenger.

  8. Throwing up has nothing to with the alcohol ban it is the erratic behavior it causes ! so that stupid point the guy made is moot.

  9. What difference does it make that Robert G was on a “paid” first class ticket?

    Anyone who makes a point of mentioning that they were on a “paid” first class ticket has some sort of an inferiority complex…. especially since he was probably flying for work….

  10. norovirus as I recall is airborne and goes far higher and farther than one might realize when someone vomits. You’d think the aircraft would be stocked with an emergency kit for clean up especially now. Really feel for Robert….

  11. Not surprised that it happened in Philly. – the city where in 2015, a hitchhiking robot that made its way across Europe and halfway down the East Coast, was promptly pummeled, destroyed and left in an alley by a resident of the city of brotherly love.

  12. To Bob: mentioning it was a “paid” ticket is reasonable. Many people and probably AA feel that someone flying on frequent flyer miles is in a different “class” than a paid ticket and not entitled to full perks on a trip. Like not having contagious vomit all over them.

  13. @Bob: One difference between a paid first-class ticket and a non-rev first-class seating assignment is that paying for a ticket is usually not affiliated with someone who works for an airline.

    People flying non-rev tend to fly more because they are qualified to receive a highly discounted airfare. Therefore, non-rev passengers could be more used to seeing puking passengers spew vomitus all over the aircraft. Just one passenger on your flight with projectile vomiting hitting the ceiling and dripping down can ruin your travel, your clothes, and your afternoon.

  14. “And certainly this wasn’t part of the bundle of experiences purchased with a first class ticket”


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