I sit in my seat and I immediately smell something, and I thought, Not another flight that smells bad, Meehan tells Yahoo Lifestyle. And he wasnt the only one who noticed. I realized the person next to me also had their nose covered, he says. And then I went to take my charger out, bent down completely to charge my phone and realized its not just a smell, its actually feces and its all over the back of my legs, its all over the floor, all over the wall of the plane. And I sat in it, he recalls.
And you thought your flight was sh*tty… Delta passenger forced to sit in FECES for 2 hours
He and his seatmate went to the front of the plane to notify the flight crew. As if the excrement werent shocking enough, what was even more surprising was the response they got. The flight crew said, Are you kidding me? We turned that in. I cant believe they didnt clean it. They knew it was there, Meehan says.
Delta passenger finds dog feces on plane seat
Meehan knows for a fact that Delta planes are required to have a biohazard kit onboard for situations like this. The Delta representative that spoke with me after the fact told me their protocol is to have a biohazard kit onboard, he says. The fact that they either didnt take it down and offer me something from it to clean myself properly or it was absent completely from the plane broke protocol either way, Meehan says. They said they didnt have one.
Instead of calling the gate and asking for sanitizing products, Meehan alleges the flight attendant gave him two paper towels and a bottle of gin to clean himself with in the lavatory. She wanted me to clean myself with regular alcohol, drinking alcohol, he says.
At this point, Meehan wasnt sure where the diarrhea had come from — dog or human; he just wanted it off him. We didnt know if it was a person whod gotten sick, an animal whod gotten sick. … Originally, the flight crew said that it was a German shepherd. And then the gate agent said in his paperwork that it was an older man who got sick upon landing. And now Delta Corporate is saying that it was a golden retriever puppy, he says. But to me, it doesnt matter. Its feces; it carries disease any way you look at it.
So, Meehan took the meager cleaning materials into the bathroom hoping that when he came out, his seat would be cleaned. It got all over my bare ankles, he says. They didnt give me gloves. I had to take my pants off because its on the back of my pants, so feces, at this point, is transferring to my hands, with no kind of sanitizing solution to be able to clean anything with, and only one tiny bottle of gin.
When he exited from the bathroom, to his surprise, they were still boarding as if there werent excrement coating parts of the plane.
The Delta representative also told Meehan that Delta broke protocol in continuing the boarding process once the biohazard was identified and reported by him. Once a passenger brings a contagion or biohazard to staffs attention, youre supposed to stop boarding entirely, Meehan says he was told. And youre supposed to deboard if possible so that the contagion or biohazard can be properly cleaned without spreading or contaminating others. But they just kept boarding the plane.
Yahoo Lifestyle asked Delta about its specific protocol for dealing with contagions but has not yet received a response with that information.
When Meehan asked the flight crew for an update, he alleges they said, If they didnt clean, thats not our responsibility, someone from the gate needs to take care of that. We are in the middle of an active boarding. Were busy. If you want, you can get off the plane and talk to somebody. So he did.
Delta told Business Insider that, upon landing, the aircraft was taken out of service so that it could be deep-cleaned and disinfected.
The gate agent called a manager, who Meehan described as confrontational, while he was trying to remain calm and not get kicked off the plane. I tell her what happened and she said, If the cleaning crew didnt do their job, thats not my problem. What do you want me to do about it? Meehan alleges. Very confrontational, like, so what? So I said, Can we get that cleaned up so I can sit down? So she says, Sir, its almost time for that plane to leave. You can sit in your seat or you can be left behind.
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Meehan and the manager realized he wasnt the only passenger upset about this. At that point, four or five other passengers had gotten up and out of their seats as well, standing at the flight attendant area in front in protest and wouldnt sit until it was cleaned, he says. To avoid causing a commotion, the manager had someone clean that area with paper towels. To my knowledge, they did not use any kind of sanitizing solution, and I was supposed to be OK with that because she quote unquote, cleaned it.
In situations like these, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staff remove any visible contamination and clean and disinfect the area with products approved by your company. After the flight, the CDC instructs staff to notify cleaning crew of areas contaminated with diarrhea, vomit, blood, or other body fluids, needing more than routine cleaning or possible removal.
“It was feces, and it was everywhere. It was on my seat. It was on the floor. My feet were in it,” Meehan said.
Meehan tried one more time to ask for the area to be sanitized, but he got the same answer: She said, We are pushing this plane back, you can either sit in your seat or you can stay behind. Meehan had to be somewhere the next morning and this was the only flight that could get him there in time. So he had no choice but to fester in feces for two hours.
It felt like I was an animal tied up, forced to lay in their own feces that you see sometimes in PETA videos, he says. It was dehumanizing to be spoken to like that, demanded to sit in a seat full of feces with no care. They care more about getting a plane out on time than the safety and health of the passengers on the plane.
Since the flight was oversold, he didnt even have the option of sitting elsewhere. So we sat there during the entire flight, my row, the rows around me, it still smelled horrific. There was still feces caked into the carpet. They asked for blankets and covered the seats and floors to try to protect themselves from contact with the excrements.
Meehan took this story to social media, and local news outlets have since picked it up. Delta has addressed the issue, as well.
On Nov. 1, an aircraft operating flight 1949 from Atlanta to Miami was boarded before cleaning was completed following an incident from a previous flight with an ill service animal. Delta apologizes to customers impacted by the incident and has reached out to make it right, offering a refund and additional compensation. The safety and health of our customers and employees is our top priority, and we are conducting a full investigation while following up with the right teams to prevent this from happening again.
Delta also stated that the aircraft was taken out of service to be deep cleaned and disinfected upon landing in Miami.
The airline offered Meehan 50,000 miles in compensation. Thats what Im worth to them? 50,000 miles? After putting my health at risk along with everyone else on the plane? Thats what people get for signing up for a credit card. Its not even enough for a flight, he points out. Their offer was insult to injury. I wanted to know definitively if it was an animal or person, if it was sick, had they gone to a doctor, why was it diarrhea? What was it? Do I need to go get hepatitis shots? Do I need to get inoculated? And they wont give me the answers.
Meehan said he would have appreciated a heartfelt, genuine response, but instead got a scripted, corporate heres 50K, now go away.
That interaction happened last Friday afternoon, and he hasnt heard from Delta since, he says. Im a diamond medallion and a million miler, Meehan says. If this is how they treat their top tier, I cant even imagine how they treat people who arent part of the SkyMiles program.
He may take legal action. I am waiting for Delta to give me the answers Ive asked for and to make things right, he says. If they dont, I will absolutely take action.
After landing in Miami, Meehan was supposed to then fly to Tampa, but says he took a four-hour Uber instead. Im just not ready to get back on a plane. Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
Matthew Meehan was given the option of sitting in the mess or missing his flight from Atlanta to Miami entirely, when he brought it to the flight crews attention. He was as shocked by how airline staff treated him as he was by finding the excrement on his seat in the first place, describing the entire experience as “dehumanizing,” Yahoo Lifestyle reports.
Delta flight crew told Meehan they had actually reported the mess to the cleaning crew and appeared shocked it was still there. Instead of cleaning it themselves, however, they gave him two paper towels and a bottle of gin from the drink cart and told him to wash up in the airline bathroom.
The discovery of the mess didnt stop the boarding process, either, though Meehan says Delta protocol is for boarding to stop as soon as a contagion or biohazard is discovered. Then again, the plane is supposed to have a biohazard kit on board – presumably more than paper towels and gin.
Adding to the absurdity of the situation, there seemed to be no consensus on where the feces had come from. The flight crew blamed a German shepherd dog, while the gate agent blamed an old man whod gotten sick on landing and Delta corporate pinned it on a golden retriever puppy. Meehan was not impressed. “Its feces; it carries disease any way you look at it.”
As more passengers discovered the mess, they were able to convince the manager to at least clean the area with paper towels by blocking the flight attendant area in protest. But on the oversold flight, there was nowhere else to sit, and the feces were still caked into the seats and floors.
Meehan calls the airlines response – a refund and a token quantity of frequent flyer miles – “insult to injury.” “Thats what Im worth to them? 50,000 miles? … Thats what people get for signing up for a credit card. Its not even enough for a flight.”
When it was time to fly back home, Meehan took a cab instead. “Im just not ready to get back on a plane,” he said.