A Delta Airlines passenger had to sit on a faeces-covered plane seat for a two-hour flight from Atlanta to Miami. The alternative offered by the airlines to occupying the filth-covered seat was to be left behind, Matthew Meehan said while recalling his olfactory ordeal thousands of meters above the ground.
On boarding Delta flight 1949 on November 1, Meehan smelled something foul, which was disturbing his neighbouring passenger too. Initially, his reaction was, "Not another flight that smells bad". Only when he bent under his seat trying to find a charger for his phone did he discover the source of the troubling smell.
"It's not just a smell. It's actually faeces and it's all over the back of my legs, it's all over the floor, all over the wall of the plane. And I sat in it," Meehan told Yahoo Lifestyle.
The report said that upon being informed about the mess, the flight crew said they had informed the cleaning crew earlier, expressing disbelief that it was not cleaned. They knew it was there, Meehan said.
The flight crew initially said an emotional support dog was responsible for the mess, but the gate agent said in his paperwork that it came from an older man who got sick upon landing, Meehan told Yahoo Lifestyle. Asking for the crew members for help, he received two paper towels and a miniature bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin to deal with the filth that was now on his shoes and back of his pants.
Meehan found his way to the bathroom amidst the boarding passengers to clean up. He even posted a few snapshots of his loafers smeared with muck on his Facebook handle, pointing out a possible health code violation in the post.
Doing the best he can with the cleaning supplies at his disposal, Meehan returned to his seat only to find it still covered in filth. He approached the flight crew a second time to enquire what was being done to clean the filth on his seat, who asked him to talk to a gate agent as they were busy with an active boarding (despite being notified about a faeces-covered seat).
Recalling his interaction with the gate staff, Meehan told Yahoo Lifestyle, "So I said, 'Can we get that cleaned up so I can sit down?' So she says, 'Sir, it's almost time for that plane to leave. You can sit in your seat or you can be left behind.'"
While Delta said in its statement that the area was cleaned for the flight take off, Meehan had a different story to tell. According to a Washington Post report, Meehan said that the flight manager had someone clean the area with paper towels without any sanitizer. The upholstery was still soiled and the passengers had to endure the foul smell for the rest of the flight, Meehan said.
In its statement, Delta said that it has reached out to the impacted passenger, offering a refund and additional compensation. The airlines said that it is conducting a full investigation while following up with the right teams to prevent this from happening again.
While Meehan, a top-tier flier with Delta Airlines, has been offered full refund for his flight and 50,000 miles in compensation, he still is seeking answers from the carrier about the potential health risks. He said he will take legal action if Delta chooses to ignore his questions.
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