Passengers get sick on flights all the time. Sometimes they’re just ill. Other times turbulence does them in. That’s why cleaning between flights is so important. Although Frontier Airlines has an alternate solution, earlier this year a woman was arrested and her child sent to protective services after complaining about vomit at her seat, because of the ‘post-9/11 security conscious environment’.
Regardless, perennial air travel advice: Don’t Eat The Fish.
A family traveling on Sunday’s United flight 2057 from Vancouver to Houston found vomit on one of their seats, and the seat in front. They brought this to the attention of a flight attendant, whom they say replied “Oh, yeah, we can get a cleaning crew, but you’re going to be the reason this flight is delayed.”
- A cleaning crew was called
- The family was “handed..a wad of paper towels to clean the vomit”
- The cleaner arrived “with a spray bottle and towel” but didn’t thoroughly clean the space and there was still residue remaining.
According to United, they’re “disappointed that this aircraft did not meet our standards for cleanliness. Once the issue was brought to our crew’s attention, cabin cleaners were called on board to clean the seat prior to departure.”
American Airlines has revealed they sacrifice aircraft cleanliness for on time departures. Earlier this year British Airways tested not cleaning its planes between flights within Europe. So United’s lack of cleanliness certainly isn’t uncommon.
The airline’s pilots were apologetic and agreed bringing cleaners on board made sense.
Four years ago United failed to clean vomit between flights and didn’t call cleaners, leaving a family with a choice of sitting in it or waiting until the next day to fly. Just a few months later a couple flying United on their anniversary to Hawaii found a full barf bag in their seat back pocket.
Airlines don’t do enough to clean planes between flights. I feel especially bad for the cleaners who have to deal with the mess passengers leave behind.
When a customer is faced with a seat that hasn’t been properly cleaned, and can’t be prior to takeoff, I view the seat as inoperative or out of service — if the airline can’t move them, it’s tantamount to an involuntary denied boarding. Cash compensation should be due.