top of page

American Airlines passenger says a woman vomited on her bags. Airline responds by giving her $50

When Nicole Schreib spotted three intoxicated women inside a bathroom at Laguardia Airport, she thought that was the last time she'd see them.

Then, they boarded her American Airlines flight from New York to Miami where one was seated in the row in front of her.

Less than three hours later, that passenger was puking — and the vomit covered two of her bags, Schreib told Business Insider.

After the incident, Schreib reached out to American Airlines in hopes that the company would take some responsibility since she says the flight crew was aware before takeoff that the passenger was intoxicated.

Unhappy with the airline's response, Schreib posted about the incident on X and shared a clip of the woman.

"@AmericanAirlines allowed this intoxicated, verbally abusive woman on my flight despite removing one of her friends," she said in the post, which was published on Monday. "Here she is calling the two men in her aisle "pu**ies" prior to puking on the floor and my bags - $50 credit is all they offered as compensation. #americanairfail"

In a statement sent to Business Insider, an American Airlines spokesperson said "we strive to provide a positive travel experience for all of our customers, and a member of our team has reached out to learn more."

Schreib said it wasn't until the end of the flight that she realized her belongings were covered in vomit

Schreib and her fiancé were traveling from Buffalo, New York, to Miami on November 30. During a short layover in New York, Schreib used the restroom, where she first spotted unruly travelers.

"Two of them were walking arm and arm, stumbling drunk, and ran right into me in the bathroom," Schreib said.

"It was just crazy because it was 7:30 in the morning," Schreib said. "You don't expect that at that time."

Schreib boarded her flight with her fiancé, and one of the women from the restroom took a seat in front of them. She watched the woman start conversing with the men in her row.

"She's slurring her words and can barely talk," Schreib said. "This woman should not be on this plane. I was concerned, honestly."

The flight took off, Schreib said. Later, she said she noticed that the two men seated with the intoxicated passenger relocated to other seats.

"Then I became aware of a vile smell. I thought, 'Oh god she must be getting sick,'" Schreib said.

Flight attendants came over and offered the passenger ginger ale and water. Schreib said she assumed the woman was using an airplane vomit bag.

As the plane neared landing, Schreib grabbed her canvas tote that was stored underneath the seat in front of her and discovered it was covered in vomit. So was her purse.

"I couldn't believe the amount," Schreib said.

BI was unable to verify the claims of vomit, as Schreib did not take photos in her haste to clean it up, she said.

When she questioned why no one had cleaned up the vomit earlier, she said a flight attendant told her that they "can't do anything about that. It's bodily fluids, and we can't touch that."

As of publication, BI was unable to confirm this policy with American Airlines, and there is no mention of it on their website.

Schreib said she disembarked the flight frustrated.

"You kind of freak out a little bit when someone else's vomit is on your belongings," she said.

Schreib reached out to American Airlines in search of an apology

A few days later, Schreib emailed American Airlines.

"Within an hour, I had a response from American Airlines, which was surprising," she said. "But what was even more surprising was that they took absolutely no responsibility for this."

In an email viewed by BI, an American Airlines representative wrote, "I'm sorry to hear your property was damaged by another passenger. While I can certainly understand your frustration with the situation, unintentional things can and do happen in public spaces. Although it is unfortunate that you were involved in this situation, we are unable to take responsibility for the actions of another individual."

Schreib pushed back and ultimately received a $50 voucher. Still frustrated, Schreib posted on X.

The airline responded to Schreib by saying that it was "sorry to hear you weren't satisfied by the resolution of your claim. You can request a review by replying to the last email they sent."

That's the last she heard from the airline.

"It's not about the money," she said. "It was about taking a little responsibility and actually apologizing for what happened."

There aren't set standards for how passengers are compensated in situations like this.

Schreib isn't the first airline passenger to encounter another traveler's vomit.

In September, Business Insider reported that two Air Canada passengers were asked to leave a plane after they refused to sit in seats with vomit residue from a passenger on the prior flight.

While many airlines have formal policies to respond to flight delays or cancelations, there are no comparable standards for this type of scenario.

Katy Nastro, a travel expert at told Business Insider, "When you fly with an airline, you are agreeing to their contract of carriage, which is basically an agreement between you and the airlines based on the fact you bought a ticket."

This contract might cover things like showing valid ID, dressing appropriately, and behaving respectfully.

"It should be the responsibility of the airline to deal with this erratic passenger upon boarding, but it isn't clear whether the cleanliness factor is guaranteed," she said. "A basic level of cleanliness sure, but if another passenger spills a drink, or in this instance gets sick and it invades the space of the other passengers, to my knowledge there is no item in American Airline's contract of carriage that promises anything in return."

Going forward, Schreib said she's going to think twice before booking another American Airlines flight. And for all future flights, she said she "certainly will be bringing a bag that is waterproof."

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

3 views0 comments
bottom of page