Toddler’s Throw-Up Creates Tough Situation For AA Pax
Ah, the joys of flying with children.
Booked on a flight from DCA to LAX with his wife and child, Raj Purohit arrived at the airport for an AS flight. He had previously enjoyed good experiences with the carrier.
But trouble began when he arrived at the check in counter. AA, a partner of AS, was operating the flight and they had different carry-on baggage requirements than did AS. Purohit’s bag fit AS standards, but not those of its partner.
However, after rearranging his baggage, the check in agent allowed Purohit to take it with him. That permission only extended to the gate, where he was told to check the bag and pay a $25 fee. Purohit says he convinced the agent that he shouldn’t have to pay the $25, but the agent still made him check the bag.
So the family boarded the plane with just some basics — their child’s diaper bag and his wife’s purse — but without their clothing, which was stowed under the plane.
About 5 min. after takeoff, the Purohit’s 18 mo old toddler threw up all over his wife Sandra, covering her shirt. Although Purohit says that other passengers were “terrific” and quickly passed napkins and wipes to the couple, Sandra’s shirt was unwearable. Raj says he then took off his shirt so that Sandra could put it on, as he didn’t know what else to do.
While giving out drinks, a flight attendant informed Purohit that he was required to put on a shirt because of Federal Aviation Administration rules.
“I note, politely, that (1) as he is surely aware my daughter threw up everywhere and Sandra’s T-shirt is in the bag by my feet and she has my shirt, (2) her shirt is not wearable, (3) I am happy to buy a T-shirt if they have some type of SkyMall equivalent because (4) they took our hand luggage and placed it in the hold,” Purohit says.
But, the flight attendant informed him that they don’t sell shirts and don’t have anything else that he can wear, and then “returns with 2 to 3 paper napkins to see if I can ‘clean the shirt and wear it.,” Purohit says.
When Purohit showed him the vomit-covered shirt and told the attendant it wasn’t wearable, they continued to argue over the issue. Luckily, Purohit says, he was saved by another passenger who lent him a shirt to wear, but not after being “shocked” by how the airline handled the situation, he says: “There was a lack of kindness.”
A spokesperson for AA says that “this is obviously a difficult situation for everyone involved” and that their “customer relations team is reaching out directly to the passenger to obtain additional information.”
Now a man sitting on a plane without a shirt on would likely make some pax uncomfortable, but in this case it was seemingly done out of necessity and not a case of someone behaving badly.
The lesson for parents is to toss a t-shirt or 2 into the diaper bag, because with babies, what goes down often comes up.