Airline Passengers Kicked Off Flight for Refusing Vomit Covered Seats

Two women were onboard an Air Canada flight from Las Vegas to Montreal on August 26, 2023. Their assigned seats had a foul smell due to someone vomiting in that area on the previous flight. Some of the vomit was still visible. The airline had attempted to clean up the seats before boarding by spraying perfume and placing coffee grinds in the seat pouch.  

When the passengers spoke with the flight attendant about their seats, the staff member apologized, but stated nothing could be done. The passengers were upset about the seats being in an unacceptable condition for a four-hour flight. They were provided with blankets, wipes, and vomit bags to clean up the area themselves.  

The pilot eventually told the women they could either leave the plan and pay for another flight or be escorted by security and placed on a no-fly list. Security eventually arrived and escorted them off. The pilot reportedly cited their rude behavior as the reason for the forced exit, but other passengers stated that the women were “upset” but “not rude.”  

Air Canada claims it is conducting an internal review of the incident and was in contact with the affected customers. The airline stated: “Our operating procedures were not followed correctly in this instance,” the airline said in a statement. “This includes apologizing to these customers, as they clearly did not receive the standard of care to which they were entitled.” 

No-Fly Lists and Consumer Protection Laws  

No-fly lists have evolved from government safety precautions against suspected terrorists, to private penalties against unruly passengers who violated social contracts regarding behavior. However, there was always the possibility that no-fly lists would turn into a power play by airlines to coerce passengers into poor airline conditions, especially passengers who are old, young, or otherwise vulnerable. No-fly lists are no longer about stopping the next 9/11; instead, they have become leverage for airline companies to coerce passengers into accepting otherwise unacceptable consumer relation practices.  

This incident is a potential concerning future trend into airline abuse of no fly lists. To stop any potential future abuse, the federal government needs to enact laws to ensure due process for those who find themselves on such lists. Even when the federal government was the sole arbitrator of no-fly lists, mistakes were made. Children, seniors, and even high ranking politicians found themselves on the no-fly lists maintained by Homeland Security. The potential for abuse is even higher when private airlines are maintaining their own no-fly lists.  

This isn’t to say that no-fly lists are always a bad idea. If a passenger is a clear and present danger to the crew and other passengers, that dangerous passenger should be barred from flying with that airline. If a passenger attempts to open the cockpit door while a plane is in the air or assaults an airline attendant, the airline is well within its rights to keep that passenger out of its next flight.  

The gray area is when an airline is attempting to enforce a controversial policy, such as a mask mandate. However, allowing passengers to challenge a no-fly list inclusion in court or other neutral party on a case by case basis would serve as a backstop against the worst mistakes or abuses by private businesses and the government alike.  

Do I Need the Help of a Personal Injury Attorney? 

If you have sustained a personal injury through the unlawful act of another, then you should contact a personal injury attorney. A skilled personal injury lawyer near you can review the facts of your case, go over your rights and options, and represent you at hearings and in court. 

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