Two passengers on an Air Canada flight were reportedly escorted off an airplane for refusing to sit in wet, vomit-covered seats.
Susan Benson was a fellow passenger on the Aug. 26 flight from Seattle to Montreal sitting near the vomit. She shared the incident in a now-viral Facebook post to hold the airline accountable because she felt it was unfair to the passengers.
“There was a bit of a foul smell but we didn’t know at first what the problem was,” Benson wrote in the post. “Apparently, on the previous flight someone had vomited in that area. Air Canada attempted a quick cleanup before boarding but clearly wasn’t able to do a thorough clean.”
According to Benson, the seatbelt and seat were still visibly wet and there was vomit residue around the seats. The smell of vomit mixed with the scent of perfume and coffee grinds, which were put in the seat pouch to mask the smell.
The passengers flagged down a flight attendant to tell her they couldn’t sit in those seats for the five-hour flight, calling the incident “unacceptable,” Benson told USA TODAY over the phone.
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“The passengers were clearly upset and clearly bothered,” Benson said. “They were not rude, not yelling, not belligerent. They were firm and just insistent that she couldn’t sit in that.”
According to Benson, the flight attendants were “extremely apologetic” and said, “it was a miscommunication with the cleaning crew the night before and the seat didn’t get cleaned properly.” They also told the passengers there was nothing they could do because all the seats were full.
After some back and forth, the passengers were given blankets, wipes and more vomit bags and settled in for the flight.
Then the pilot came over to the passengers and, according to the post, “told the ladies that they had two choices: 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!”
Security came soon after and escorted the women off the flight. “Air Canada literally expects passage (sic) to sit in vomit or be escorted off the plane and placed on a no-fly list!” Benson wrote.
The flight ended up being 31 minutes delayed but made it to Montreal safely.
Benson told USA TODAY that she posted details of the incident online and tagged Air Canada so “they would do something about it.”
Air Canada did not respond immediately to USA TODAY’s request for comment but shared a statement with Insider saying, “We are reviewing this serious matter internally and have followed up with the customers directly as our operating procedures were not followed correctly in this instance. This includes apologizing to these customers, as they clearly did not receive the standard of care to which they were entitled and addressing their concerns.”
“I really hope they actually do something and not just say they do to keep the peace,” Benson said. “(The passengers) weren’t unreasonable at all in my opinion.”
Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at email@example.com