Two Air Canada customers were allegedly escorted off an aircraft after they refused to sit in a seat that was covered with visible vomit for their four-hour flight.
The airline has since apologized to the two as-yet unidentified passengers after a post about the situation went viral on Facebook. According to the post, the flyers were told there was nothing Air Canada could do about the visible vomit on their seats.
Susan Benson, one of the passengers on the Aug. 26 flight from Las Vegas to Montreal, said she noticed a smell as soon as she boarded the plane. At first, she didn’t know what it was from, but she quickly learned that someone from the previous flight had thrown up in the area.
While Air Canada had done a quick cleanup of the seats before boarding, they weren’t able to remove the stained area completely. They resorted to using perfume to try and mask the smell.
According to Benson, the female passengers, who were “clearly upset” talked to the flight attendant about the visible stain on their seats. The staff member was apologetic about the situation but told them there was nothing she could do.
In a subsequent media interview, Benson said the female passenger was wondering why the soiled seat was still wet if the cleaning crew had allegedly changed the cover. She also expressed that the seat with the vomit residue and smell was not acceptible for someone to sit in for four hours.
Despite her efforts, the passengers were once again told, this time by a supervisor, that they would have to sit in the vomit-covered seats. They were reluctantly given wipes, vomit bags, and blankets, to clean the seats themselves.
While the women involved were clearly upset with the situation and had been arguing with the flight attendants, they were “not rude”, said Benson.
Eventually, the pilot of the plane gave the women two options: to be escorted off the flight by security and placed on a no-fly list or leave the plane and pay for another flight on their own accord. He had allegedly cited their rude behavior for the forced exit.
Benson eventually noticed a fellow passenger, who was seated beside the women, talking calmly to the pilot in French. She later found out that he was a police officer. While Benson doesn’t understand French, it is obvious to her that he is trying to talk to the pilot on the passengers’ behalf.
Once the pilot got up to leave, he told the ladies that he was a police officer in Montreal and reassured them that they were not being rude. He also told them that things are settled now. However, that was quickly proven not to be the case. Within minutes. security came up to the two women and asked to talk to them privately.
Benson didn’t realize they were being kicked off the plane but noticed that they never came back. She wished she had asked for their names and contact details. She also wished that she had recorded the situation on video.
As soon as the flight landed in Montreal, Benson saw the police officer who was on the flight go to the Air Canada kiosk and assumed that he had filed a complaint. Benson herself also hasn’t stopped thinking about the incident.
According to the airline, they are currently conducting an internal review of the incident. They are also in contact with the two women who were told to sit in the soiled seats.