In-Flight Service

We all know that airlines treat us like crap and don’t actually care about our comfort or making sure we have a cozy trip. First they took away the free in-flight meals. Then they took away being able to check two bags free. Then they took away being able to check one bag free. Now, I hear they’re even charging for water and the little bags of pretzels. On many flights they don’t even have an in-flight service at all. They’re just loading us into a flying metal pen, shooting us into the sky, taking as much money as possible, and giving us a swift kick in the rear when we leave just knowing we have to come back eventually.

That all said, this latest news story takes the cruelty of airline hospitality to unbelievable heights (bad pun, I know, I apologize). If you can, read this news item here. If you don’t have the time, the title sums it up pretty well (take heed before clicking the link): Family Forced to Sit in Vomit on United Flight. Yes, you read that correctly.

All I can say is YUCK.

A family boards a plane, finds their seats, then realizes (as they put their bags in it and then running their hands through it…because placing their bags in it wasn’t gross enough) that there was someone else’s vomit already occupying their space. How much did the airline care? Whatever the smallest amount possible is, that’s how much they cared.

To make matters worse, the wife suffers from mysophobia, which is a fear of germs.  Can you imagine!? I’m sure she wasn’t expecting the plane to be pristine when she boarded, but I’m sure she had a very reasonable expectation of a clean seating area for her and her family…one that was at the least vomit-free.

Instead of, oh I don’t know, cleaning the seat or maybe bumping the family to first class or offering to reimburse them for their tickets or somehow fixing the situation in a manner that was proportional to the gross violation they stuck the family with, here’s what United did:

“United offered the family two unsatisfactory alternatives—fly out the next day or stay in their seats. Since Shirley’s wife, who works at the Food and Drug Administration, had to be at work that Monday, the family opted to stay put and were given trash bags with which to wrap their soiled luggage.”

DOUBLE YUCK. Which of course doesn’t even begin to describe it. Add a few colorful expletives in the middle there and you get the picture of what my face looked like when I was reading this article.

As bad as it was to READ about this experience, can you imagine LIVING it!?  Forced to sit in the wet spot of someone else’s throw-up!?  To have that smell in one’s nostrils for the entire flight. To have one’s bag marinating in this puddle of bile.  If this story were about me, I can guarantee you there would’ve been a hell of a lot more “stuff” there than they originally found.

In the end United’s “gesture of goodwill” to the family amounted to a $150 flight voucher for each family member. Oh great, barely any real discount for the same airline so I can maybe have a repeat experience.

Good job, United!  You truly do win the “we simply don’t care about you” award. It was a disgusting situation but an even more disgusting display of customer service.