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Travel writer and digital nomad JT Genter, who is a great follow on Twitter since he flies so much, just had an interesting exchange with American Airlines about a disturbing incident he witnessed aboard an American Airlines flight (AA969) from Dallas to Los Angeles a few hours ago.

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JT tweeted: “Who would’ve guessed?! The way-too-drunk guy (who probably should have been denied boarding) puked all over @AmericanAir first class on final approach into LAX. ?”

JT went on to say: “This is an embarrassing performance by AA. FA passed off to the gate agent. Gate agent passed off to customer support. Customer support is passing off to a supervisor – with no telling how long that supervisor will take to arrive. The pax flew in from Paris today and is exhausted”

American Airlines chimed in with their standard: “We appreciate you letting us know about this. We’ve shared your comments with our leadership team for review.”

JT pushed back with: “You have a paid international business class passenger that was completely sprayed by vomit by a stranger who is waiting for anyone in the airport to provide assistance. You need LAX to act immediately in this situation, not pass along information for review.

“The poor stranger next to him in the window seat got sprayed, as did the guy in front of him. Flight attendants were saints in doing the most with an awful situation and the pilots pushed through to landing.

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“It wasn’t just being blackout drunk. During boarding, he was loudly slurring to the passenger across the aisle about how much sex he has with his girlfriend. At that point, it was a jolly drunk – but inappropriate and a clear sign he was quite intoxicated.”

American Airlines responded with: “The details are being shared with our leadership team to look into further. A supervisor at the airport can provide immediate assistance.”

JT rightly asks American to “Define immediate. The passenger waited around for anyone to help him. Customer service rep eventually gave him a phone number to call. No supervisor ever came. No one provided him any assistance getting a change of clothes out of his vomit-spewed clothing.”

“Turns out this pax is a Delta Diamond and this is his first time flying American Airlines in years. An all-around absolutely miserable performance by American Airlines. Dropped the ball letting the drunk onboard. Dropped the ball getting this guy any help.”

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American Airlines responded with: “We’ve reached out to our team at LAX to get some assistance for the impacted customer.”

And JT provided the flight information and seat details: “Flight AA969 DFW-LAX Drunk in 3D Affected pax in 3F and 2D”

American Airlines: “We have the details and sent it over. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.”

You have to give American Airlines’ Twitter team credit for continuing to follow-up and sending the information along to their team members as there’s not much they can do from an office at DFW airport. However, the flight attendant(s) who are supposed to be greeting passengers as they enter, should have noticed this guy was drunk or at least the flight attendant serving pre-takeoff drinks as he was seated in first class. If the man was as drunk as JT says he was, and I believe him, then the FAs didn’t do their job. This whole ordeal could’ve been avoided by denying the drunk passenger boarding.

I’ve seen passengers denied boarding before for this very reason and I’ve seen others slip through the cracks. Once, on a Delta flight, an elderly couple came onboard and smelled so bad (I’m not exaggerating), that the row in front and behind us had to hold their shirts over their nose for the entire flight. Fortunately, it was a short flight (90 minutes) but the flight attendant brought me to the back of the plane and said, “Why didn’t you tell us this before we took off? We could’ve denied them boarding.” I didn’t have the heart since they were old and I felt bad but the smell was truly unbearable.

I’ve also seen countless passengers come on board sober but get served way too much alcohol, including once where my seatmate was someone from a famous band, who had performed at the Super Bowl just a few hours prior and the flight attendant just kept giving him drink after drink. He finally passed out on descent into LAX and thank God he didn’t throw up on me.

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I realize some people are nervous fliers so they take to alcohol to calm their nerves. This is obviously a bad idea for a number of reasons, including what happened on JT’s flight.

The only time I’ve witnessed someone throw up on someone else was when my then one-year-old son  tossed his cookies on my poor wife and I just happened to capture it as I was taking pictures of takeoff across the aisle and I guess I kept snapping when I heard her gasp because I later saw I had a Kodak moment. BUT: We learned a valuable lesson from this experience. We ALWAYS pack an extra set of clothes for everyone in our carry-on bags just in case something like this happens and my wife never leaves home without a couple of wet bags, which can be used to store wet or dirty things until you can clean them. Seriously, if you’re not traveling with wet bags, you should be. They’re also great for wet swim clothes if you have to pack up your things before your swim gear can dry. Check out these options of wet bags on Amazon.

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I know other people have witnessed way worse, including @EricPinckert who left this comment on JT’s thread: “Grim. One flight I was seated in an exit row (!) and as we were waiting to push back from the gate to depart the gentleman next to me started muttering “It’s about time they landed ? this Mother F&$@er” and promptly proceeded to regurgitate gallons of his pre-flight beverages.”

Have you ever encountered someone totally inebriated on a plane? What happened?

18 Comments On "Drunk Passenger on American Airlines Throws Up on Seatmates in First Class"
  1. Tim J|

    At what point in this world should someone take responsibility for their own actions ? Blaming AA for this guy is just ridiculous. This guy obviously is at the wrong AA . It’s easy to blame a business …

  2. Darry|

    On one hand… the flt attendants have far less to do since Covid… greeting of passengers can serve multiple purposes and should be of priority… this could be the last line of defense for raging potential unruly or problematic passengers… change the policy… greet people… check them… without stereotyping!

  3. Martina Dinale|

    Rubbish . Of course the puking pax is responsible for his own actions … does this magically mean that it is NOT part of the gate agent’s , the fa’s , and AA staff in general’s JOB to identify and deny boarding to someone ALREADY slurring drunk? NO . ABSOLUTELY NOT . Ridiculous .

  4. Planet Zero|

    I’m a 32 year FA w AA. It is a FAA regulation to NOT board an intoxicated pax. The first line of defense are the gate agents handling the flight. If a pax boards quietly and shows no odd behavior the agent wouldn’t know. However, there are times the agents will board them knowing they are intoxicated. They don’t want to deal with them or put them on another flight. Next is the flight attendants, if that was my flight and he was yelling and slurring in FC he definitely wasnt going on my flight, even of it meant going back to the gate. Sometimes you do not have the full support of the flight crew and they can make the final decision. People think, oh hes just a little drunk. Yea, well, you dont know what kind of drunk he may be and you dont know what else they may have taken. So, it should of never gottdisgusting the point it did. The question of who’s responsible if the pax is refused travel they def need to take responsibility and accept it. Otherwise it should go back on the agents or crew. I feel for the pax that got puked on. We are trained to consider vomit a bio hazard. It’s really disgusting that no one was there to handle the problem. Not surprised in LAX. I get very frustrated at work at times. Some of us actually still give a shitte and have pride in what we are doing.

  5. laura|

    How awful! I can sympathize. I was thrown up on by a passenger on a flight before, luckily I had a change of clothes with me but it was still a pretty terrible experience. I too got no assistance from flight crew

  6. Susan|

    Avoid flying American Airlines if at all possible. They are the worst and never take responsibility; a reflection of one of the biggest issues we have in the United States today. They will waste your time & money each & every time; learn from my mistake!!

    No, it’s not their fault there was a drunk passenger & that can happen on any plane. Their overall policy is a genuine lack of concern or accountability & I have experienced this more than once. I’d WALK before I’d ever give them another dime.

  7. Susan Pfaff|

    Hepatis A, at a minimum, can be passed through body secretions that includes emesis (vomit). If the recipient of the projected vomit had been an AA employee, it no doubt would have been a Workmans Comp incident and would have entailed additional paperwork, a medical examination and possibly an injection of gamma globulin. This is not just a change of clothes and an apology, IMHO.

  8. Woody Edge|

    AA is responsible. FAA reg says that a passenger who appears to be drunk is not allowed to board.
    The Captain should have be notified by the flight attendants so that he could refuse the gentleman passage.

  9. Jenifer|

    I like your wrong AA comment, but when people cannot do the right thing it is up to the business to correct the issues or try to prevent it, especially when it is a safety issue. Having drunk and passengers who are high can cause a safety issue for everyone on that plane. Not letting these people on the plane is the best for everyone, even the drunk person who is in no shape to fly or travel. Unfortunately it would be better if we all did responsible things and took personal responsibility seriously, but too many do not. So for society’s safety, we have things like police officers. Since we do not live in a police state (some people may think we do, but compare to China, Russia or N Korea we do not) where we would have cops on every corner, companies have to come up with their own policies to help prevent problems dealing with everyone’s safety.

  10. Maria Bolivar|

    He probably won’t even remember. He’ll never take accountability for throwing up and blame someone or something else like say it was food poisoning.

  11. Anonymous|

    Stay home!!!! Scary ignorant people are everywhere be safe

  12. Anonymous FA|

    Many times when greeting passengers at the boarding door we do not get a response or get ignored. Most are looking at their phones, talking to others or have AirPods in ears and can’t hear a thing so don’t respond back. Sometimes it can be missed. Our passengers can be very helpful with this and have been. If you see something off or question anything let one of us know right away! We will do something. We do not always see everything.
    Let’s help each other out.

  13. Anonymous|

    I was on a red eye flight SFO – MIA with my husband and 3 daughters (1,3,6). I had a row of 3 seats with our oldest and youngest daughters and my husband was across the aisle with our middle daughter hoping no one showed up for the middle seat. About 1 minute before closing the door for departure a young man staggered down the aisle towards us, he was clearly pissed drunk and took the window seat next to our daughter. I asked my husband to change seats with our daughter because I could tell this young man was not well. My husband brushed me off and before we could take off, this young man stars throwing up into his lap right next to our daughter. I leaped over the aisle (all whilst clinging to my 1 year old who was sleeping in my lap) so quickly and flung our daughter over to my row. The smell of beer infused throw up was overwhelming!!! I quickly got up and headed to the flight attendant in the back and pleaded she get this young obliterated man off the flight immediately. Thankfully she went up and spoke to the pilot and got his approval. The young man was escorted off the plane, but unfortunately his stench remained in the air for the next 6 hours! The flight attendant was helpful and provided us with a blanket to frown over his seat, but due to a full flight, moving seats was not an option. We haven’t taken a red eye flight since this horrible experience 7 years ago.

  14. MarkT|

    Until all airlines start banning drunks, fist fighters and abusers of flight attendants from ever flying again, the problem will persist. Maybe the airlines believe it would be bad PR but the paying public would more than likely cheer the airlines on. Actions have consequences in most cases.

  15. Paul|

    I once had a very drunk Nun sitting beside me. About mid-flight she passed out and dropped the glass of red wine she was holding right on my crotch. I was wearing white khakis. It was the early 90s.

    Lesson: Don’t wear white khakis on a flight. Actually, now that I’ve matured – don’t wear white trousers at all. Fashion crime.

  16. Michelle|

    In the seventies, my husband had a similar experience. He was in a bulkhead, First Class aisle seat LAX/JFK. The guy seated next to him reeked of alcohol, even on the early morning flight, but promptly fell asleep before takeoff.
    About two-thirds of the way to NYC, the guy stood up and peed all over the beautiful designer-carpeted bulkhead and my husband, then sat back down. Unfortunately, he stood up again and vomited on the bulkhead and my husband, as the flight attendants were trying to clean up the urine mess!
    He had a dinner meeting upon arrival, so had the driver take him directly to Brooks Brothers, for a complete new set of clothes, from underwear, dress shirt, suit, socks and shoes…the whole nine yards.
    Took a fast shower, dressed and made a late arrival at the dinner.
    American Airlines reimbursed him for every penny. He was a very frequent traveler on AA, which was a wonderful service-oriented airline at that time. He remained a loyal AA customer for many years.

  17. h8GWB|

    @PLANET ZERO I’d actually place most of the blame on DFW, since they’re the ones who let him board.

    I understand alcoholism is an addition, but as alcoholics are still a danger to those around them, they need to be put in their place.

  18. Robert Zykofsky|

    I had a similar incident on a flight. The man sitting beside me sleeping was unconsciously swinging his arms repeatedly assaulting me. I stood up and told the flight attendant that I realize I must obey any LAWFUL ORDERS of the crew. This is not a lawful order requiring me to obey to be assaulted and refused to sit next to him, which was a problem since the plane was full. The man was very nice about it knowing his problem. I said I have a problem with snoring before I got my CPAP machine, so I only travel well rested and only take daytime flights and stay awake the entire flight. Even though the attendant gave him two heavily caffeinated drinks the problem persisted.
    I told the FA the solution is simple; I am willing to sit in the flight attendant’s seat which is not being used. The problem was solved when the flight attendant went to a passenger and escorted him to the cockpit and announced that he was allowed by his position to ride in the cockpit. I suspect that he could have been an air marshal. I took his seat. PROBLEM SOLVED.

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