Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Stinking up the Joint

What's that smell?

Believe me, sometimes you just don't want to know. Anytime you cram a bunch of people in a long, metal tube and close the door on them, somethings going to smell. . . bad.

What can you do about it? Usually, nothing. But if it's beyond the normally offensive smells, you should contact your Flight Attendant while you're still on the ground. There may be options.

Gridskipper reports:

. . . it’s a relief to know that at least some airlines are actually willing to do something about evil aromas. In their conditions of carriage , American declares you can be booted from a flight if you “have an offensive odor not caused by a disability or illness.” The right of determination is granted to the flight crew, but you must raise the issue early (i.e. before takeoff) in order to have the best chance of a favorable resolution.

In an article in the L.A. Times, a more detailed list of options and remedies are explained, including removal of the offending passenger(s), upgrades, changing seats, and re-booking on another flight. It's delicately handled.

Speaking up may not solve the problem, but keeping quiet definitely will not.


number4of5 said...

I can't imagine there is anything worse than being stuck on a flight for several hours, sitting next to someone who stinks. Thank God this has never happened to me. However, I would not sit there quietly. I would not bitch to the crew, but the smelly offender would be sure to get more than an earfull from me. It is so rude to get on a plane all stinkified and expect to get away with it. BO is not OK! The same goes for too much perfume and cologne. Gross.

Somewhere during the whole security process people should have to pass a smell test. Repeat offenders should not be allowed to fly anymore.

Anonymous said...

The absolute WORST flight I ever had was next to this guy with HORRENDOUS gas. Is there anything FA's can do about that?

Fly Girl said...

Number 4of5: I'm trying to think how I would actually handle this. If we're on the ground, I'd let the lead flight attendant know. If I was the lead, I would probably call for a ground supervisor and explain the situation. That person would have the authority to remove the person from the flight. Quite frankly, I'm not sure that they would. I'm also not sure if they are even aware that they have the right to do so based on their malodorous state. I'm going to ask this question on my next flight.

Anonymous: Unfortunately gas is beyond our authority. It's awful working a red-eye flight when everyone is asleep. There's more than one reason that flight attendants are reluctant to walk through the cabin.

jiffy said...

comrade i think you will find this article by Boeing very 'illuminating'.

-issues pertaining to flight attendant comfort-

it's succinct and comparatively easy reading for the laymen, though certain bits may be a little tricky to grasp. now it doesn't directly address the issue of irritating odours, but it appears to scoff at the suggestion that it is a common occurrence on modern aircraft (given the sophistication of ventilation processes onboard). nevertheless im sure they'd concede that all the ventillation on board can't stop certain annoying BO cases!

pg4-7 deal with the bits relating to odours (referred to here as "microbial aerosols"). hope this is of some use.

jiffy said...

that address again,

Fly Girl said...

Jiffy: Thanks for the referral to the Boeing article. I am familar with all the information written about in the article, but urge everyone to give it a read. With all the charts and graphs, it may be easier to print out and read than to read online.

The article was written about the issue of "air quality" onboard aircraft. I was suspect that this was in response to numerous lawsuits, claims, and bad press about flight attendeants and passengers getting sick onboard aircraft after smelling some unusual and consistent odors.

(I liken the issue to the earlier "sick building" complaints that were raised by people working in high rise office buildings.)

At one time, I believe that a design defect was suspected and that Boeing was one of the parties in the lawsuits. I do not know the resolutions of those lawsuits/claims and will leave it as that.

My post was trying to provide options when passenger odors (rather than air quality) "stink up the joint." Of course the odors can spread throughout the entire cabin, but I was thinking of it in a more localized fashion. -- like sitting right next to you.