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Air Canada boots passengers who refused to sit on vomit-covered seats

Two women on a recent Air Canada flight were left with a tough choice that may have put them on a no-fly list.
Air Canada boots passengers who refused to sit on vomit-covered seats
Posted at 5:43 PM, Sep 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-06 19:43:55-04

Passengers flying on a recent Air Canada flight were hit with a double-edged dilemma: Either sit in vomit-covered seats or don't sit on the plane at all.

The impossible choice was presented to some passengers on an Aug. 26 flight from Las Vegas to Montreal. Susan Benson was seated behind the group and shared how it all went down in a Facebook post, saying she wasn't sure at first why two women and a man in front of her were struggling to get seated.

Benson said there was a "bit of a foul smell" and she soon learned a passenger on a previous flight had vomited in the aisle.

"Air Canada attempted a quick cleanup before boarding but clearly wasn't able to do a thorough clean," Benson said.

The airline put coffee grinds in the seat pouch and sprayed perfume to mask the smell, Benson said, but the "clearly upset" passengers reported their seats and seatbelts were wet and that vomit residue was still visible in the area.

A "very apologetic" flight attendant explained they couldn't do anything further as the flight was full, prompting back-and-forth arguments with the passengers who said "they couldn't possibly be expected to sit in vomit for five hours," Benson wrote. 

Minutes later, she said a supervisor reiterated the same thing to the passengers.

"We are sorry, but you have to," Benson shared in the post. "It's a full flight and there's no other seats available."

The passengers were "reluctantly" given blankets to sit on, wipes to clean the area themselves and vomit bags. But once they settled down, the pilot came, "very calmly knelt down" next to the aisle and told the two women they had two choices. 

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"They could leave the plane on their own accord and organize flights on their own dime, or they would be escorted off the plane by security and placed on a no fly list!" Benson wrote. "When they asked why he said they were rude to the flight attendant. They were certainly not! They were upset and firm, but not rude!"

Though the other passenger in the aisle tried to further explain the situation to the pilot, he walked away and security took his place. They escorted the two women off the plane.

"I am ashamed to be a Canadian and ashamed of Air Canada," she said. "I hope they find a good lawyer and sue the pants off Air Canada."

Air Canada told The Associated Press it was looking into the situation in which its passengers "clearly did not receive the standard of care to which they were entitled." The airline said it had contacted and apologized to the affected passengers "as our operating procedures were not followed correctly in this instance."

Benson's original Facebook post has been shared more than 6,300 times. She recently posted again about the matter on Sept. 4 saying, "I won't be happy until I know there was more than an apology."

This isn't the first time an airline has had to deal with bodily fluids tainting a recent flight.

In July, CNN reported a passenger on an Air France flight saw a human blood stain about 20 inches long and wide left from a passenger's hemorrhage the day prior. And just recently, Delta Airlines had to return to its takeoff location in Atlanta just two hours into a flight to Spain after a passenger left a trail of diarrhea down the aisle.


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