Man Sues United After Seat Opponent Urinates on His Leg

A man who remembers only drinking ‘at least’ 4 rum and cokes at an LAX bar and then landing at Newark was met by law enforcement when his United flight arrived.

United Airlines Gates at Newark Airport

That’s because his seat mate for United flight UA1871 reports that he was urinated on.

As the cross-country flight prepared for takeoff to Newark Airport, Card alleges in the suit, filed on Wednesday, that the inebriated man next to him in row 24 “took out his penis and aimed it at Card and proceeded to urinate all over Card’s leg, while Card was confined to his seat due to an imminent departure of the flight.”

Here’s what I’m not quite following: “Card said he tried to wake up the passed out passenger, who smelled strongly of alcohol, but could not.”

  • Either this suggests the man’s actions were done in his sleep
  • Or he tried to wake the man up after the incident. Which to me seems risky, I’d rather have him passed out than potentially pulling a repeat offense.

The victim says that flight attendants initially refused his request to change seats, eventually giving in, but he suffered damages because he had to fly in the clothes which had been victimized.

It seems to me — legal merits aside — that he ought to be suing the man who urinated on him rather than United Airlines. However the suit argues that United had a duty to be aware of the inebriated passenger and remove him before he used his human firearm which was missing its trigger lock.

United Jets Parked at Newark Gates

Two years ago it was shocking when a passenger peeing incident occurred on a JetBlue flight. Since then it’s become almost de rigueur with incidents on American Airlines and British Airways and on Air Mediterranee.

It’s happened on Air India (which we’d expect) and on easyJet (which we’d expect) and a somewhat similar incident on Ryanair (which we’d also expect, but in this case it involved the passenger being charged an ancillary fee).

And it’s happened at baggage claim.

British Airways has even had to instruct staff to stop doing it in the cargo holds since “urine is quite corrosive and there was some issues with some of the Boeing 747s.”

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. The racist and classist parenthetical remarks about Air India, EasyJet, and Ryanair are really unnecessary, Gary. You’re better than that.

  2. My point exactly the same as the last poster. (which we’d expect) totally uncalled for! Give me a flight any day on Air India over any garbage U.S. carrier. And I’m an American.

  3. +1 Mitch

    That little bit of racism caught me off guard because Gary normally has that hard CNN-slant. What’s up Gary?

  4. There’s nothing racist about grouping easyJet, Ryanair, and Air India. Do easyJet and Ryanair carry more minorities onboard than other airlines? They certainly carry more drunk passengers. That’s a function of price point and heavy skew towards leisure destinations. At Air India it’s usually staff or politicians behaving badly, a function of a badly run government airline.

  5. @Gary: What about an airline being badly run should make us expect passengers urinating outside the lavatory? The Air India comment stinks of racism. I also said *classist*, which is where easyJet and Ryanair come in. You’re insinuating something about their passengers’ financial situation and that it makes them more likely to misbehave. Grouping the airlines isn’t the problem. It’s the additional commentary that’s a problem.

  6. Haha I am seeing so many pc advocates… please remember that gary didn’t say anything bad about middle eastern and east asian carriers.

  7. I’m of South Asian descent and don’t consider anything from the article as having racist overtones.

    I do agree however that it is entirely possible that the cheapening of airline fares may bring aboard differences extend across as social class lines.

    Consider for example that at least in the US, median income levels and rates of smoking are heavily correlated. In this instance, is it classist to infer that most smokers caught smoking in the bathroom are probably going to be found on LCCs/ULCCs?

  8. I guess this “controversy” depends on where the reader’s mind is at when he/she is reading this. When I read the remarks in parentheses, my mind didn’t go immediately to “racism,” but to the fact that LCCs have had more conspicuous incidents of drunken episodes lately (like drunk people humping, drunk pilots, drunk people being arrested, etc), so it made sense that Gary would use them as an example here.

    If readers know that Gary wouldn’t make a racist remark and doesn’t have a history of doing so, I think they should really give him the benefit of the doubt here and explore how the reader’s own interpretation could have skewed the writer’s original intention.

  9. -1 Mitch
    +1 Gary

    Nothing about racism or prototyping I see here. Anything happens with a certain regularity or frequency is what it is, and can be called as it is.
    If they don’t do it you don’t call it, if they do it you tell it as is. Nothing wrong.

    Keep the good reviews coming.

  10. Also southeast Asian here and didn’t find anything racist.

    Great post and my favorite line:
    “However the suit argues that United had a duty to be aware of the inebriated passenger and remove him before he used his human firearm which was missing its trigger lock.”

  11. There is absolutely nothing “racist” or “classist” or any other “ist” about anything Gary wrote here. Spend your efforts combating true racism rather than contributing to the PC brigade.

  12. I’m imagining supervisors at BA consoling staff that if only urine weren’t so corrosive they’d be ok with it…

  13. Mitch – stop. Everybody knows that ryanair and easyjet are filled with drunken wankers and yabos and punters. (Yes. I mean the English).

  14. I wonder if the commentators defending Air India have ever FLOWN on that disgusting airline’s planes.

    Huh, Mitch?

    Why are you so offended, Brian?

  15. “It seems to me — legal merits aside — that he ought to be suing the man who urinated on him rather than United Airlines.”

    Yeah probably. But suing is often more a financial calculation than anything.

    1. United has deep pockets. The pisser probably does not.

    2. United is a common carrier. As a result, nearly any harm suffered by a passenger is the airlines responsibility- whether or not the airline was actually negligent!! United could have restrained the pisser, zip-tying his arms, legs and penis to a far away chair while they turned the plane around and landed and called for security. If the pisser had broken free, run towards the passenger and began to stream everywhere, United would STILL be liable! As a result, you don’t have to show that United actually failed to exert any level of care. You merely have to show the guy got peed on while flying United and boom, liable.

  16. I think people need to lookup the definition to “racism” before they spout off about how everything in the world these days is racism. Then they should also read “the boy who cried wolf”. So sick of this.

  17. Why would you expect to be peed on while flying Air India? Same with Ryanair or easyjet too eh? Must just be us poor folk or dirty Indians that can’t hold it. Fuck off you racist pig.

  18. I think you should all be ashamed of yourselves for ignoring the vast universe of pee-related puns.


    The police told the drunk guy, “Urine big trouble!”
    The guy who sued United was really pissed off. You could also substitute, “He was really ‘Pee-ohed.”

    And, of course, “Well, it’s still better than flying American.”

  19. All these saying “this isn’t rascist” say what all racists say Shame on u all. Rump says he’s also not racist. Racism is alive and well here

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