Delta Air Lines issued an apology to passengers who had no choice but to sit in feces for the duration of a two-hour flight—but for one outraged customer, it’s too little, too late.
Upon taking his seat on flight 1949 from Atlanta to Miami on Nov. 1, passenger Matthew Meehan from Michigan noticed a foul odor.
He recalled the experience to Yahoo Lifestyle:
“I sit in my seat and I immediately smell something, and I thought, ‘Not another flight that smells bad.’”
It didn’t take long for Meehan to discover the source of the stench:
“I realized the person next to me also had their nose covered. And then I went to take my charger out, bent down completely to charge my phone and realized it’s not just a smell, it’s actually feces 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 and his seatmate immediately complained to the crew, but were shocked at their lack of concern. Instead of being offered a biohazard kit to clean himself off with, Meehan said he was handed two paper towels and a bottle of gin.
“They didn’t give me gloves. I had to take my pants off because it’s 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.”
And if all of that wasn’t shocking enough, the crew didn’t even clean the seat wile Meehan was in the bathroom, telling Meehan he could get off the plane and talk to a manager if he wanted to. Which is what Meehan did, only to find the manager “confrontational,” telling him he could either take his seat or get left behind.
Meanwhile, four or five other passengers stood up, refusing to sit down until the area was cleaned. To avoid further confrontation, the manager had the crew give the area a cursory cleaning with paper towels. To Meehan’s knowledge, no sanitizer was used. Passengers asked for blankets which they lay over the seats and floor.
Meehan told Yahoo Lifestyle:
“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.”
Since the flight, Meehan has taken his story to various news outlets and is planning to sue Delta, who issued the following apology stating the feces was from an ill service animal:
“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. Upon landing in Miami, the aircraft was taken out of service to be deep cleaned and disinfected.”
Meehan posted about the incident on various social media platforms including Facebook:
#Share #Delta #Feces
I’m covered in FECES from the person that sat in the airplane seat before me. It’s on my legs, pants shoes…. I’m NOT HAPPY DELTA! SICK!
The RED COAT manager said to… https://t.co/32PqTzdCKl
— Matthew Meehan (@MattyNmiami) November 4, 2018
Twitter users were concerned about his health:
Please get checked for diseases. You don’t know for sure if it was human or animal, and you can get hepatitis and other illnesses from contact with feces.
— Tonya Thordsen (@trtnt25) November 6, 2018
And outraged for him:
I feel so awful for you listening to your last comments! I'm just sick thinking about it!
— WhiteCoAR4Change (@WhiteCo4Change) November 6, 2018
It’s shameful what the airline industry gets away with after mergers and deregulation. What if the hotel industry handed you a towel telling you to clean their room with dog feces? What if they charged for luggage, a window, leg space, etc? They cannot. There’s competition!
— Richard Alan (@RichardAlanEP) November 6, 2018
I hear you Matthew. I’m also a DM MM and had a sickening encounter with hair in my food and got a complete brush off from Delta. This is nowhere near what you went through, but it is amazing what is deemed acceptable from the airline. I’m sorry for your experience.
— dan (@dan01572334) November 5, 2018
Many were disgusted by Delta and some vowed to boycott them:
This is disgusting. And little response from delta. @Delta
— Rod Hildebrant (@RodHildebrant1) November 5, 2018
This is unacceptable, foul and repulsive. I hope you get free flights for the rest of your life. I’ll never fly Delta. I stopped sitting on the cloth seats on CTA public transit after a woman had diarrhea and someone sat in it.
— Freewheelinit (@Minormatter12) November 6, 2018
Meehan has been contacted by multiple lawyers and is currently planning to sue the airline.
Twitter users are in agreement:
Holy cow dude this going to go viral. I would get a good lawyer on this. This is crap. Literally. @Delta
— Wes (@WesinHF) November 7, 2018
I'm sorry that you had to go through this. Nobody deserves such humiliation and disgusting treatment. I hope that you sue the shit out of them (no pun intended). It's an easy win!
— Mike Vo (@DJMisterVee) November 6, 2018
I'm watching you on CNN right now. So sorry that happened to you. I would have vomited everywhere. I don't know how you or even the other passengers stood it for an entire flight! Biohazard is exactly what I was thinking. I hope you sue Delta and win big!
— WhiteCoAR4Change (@WhiteCo4Change) November 6, 2018