On the way back from Nashville on a recent business trip, I flew through Los Angeles. After de-boarding our plane, we waited at the gate to board the next plane for our connecting flight. As I waited, Esther was off searching for her cup of fruit. After some time, she returned victorious, and just in time to board the plane.
We walked down the jet bridge, following the line of people. The line started backing up and finally slowed to a stop with the door of the plane in sight. For a few minutes, I thought it normal since I had experienced this countless times before. A few thoughts ambled through my mind as I pondered what was going on. Perhaps someone was having trouble getting their bags into the overhead compartment, or there was some confusion about seating. Maybe it was a family travelling for the first time. Alas, none of my theories were to hold true.
Only passengers through row seven were allowed to board. And then the news quickly passed down the line, a passenger had projectile vomited as he was boarding the plane and they were waiting on maintenance to come clean it up. Then someone remarked that no one from rows seventeen through twenty-seven could board. Uh oh, we were supposed to sit in row seventeen! We all sat in the jet bridge for quite some time, making jokes and conversation about throwing up. One man had spent the last two weeks in Houston for work and was anxious to get home. He cheekily offered to clean up the mess and sit in the seat. It must have been one enormous mess to be sure. Airline staff of various types walked back and forth down the hallway, alternating between smiling and shaking their heads.
One passenger walked past and exclaimed, “I never knew barfing could mess up so many people’s lives!”
After sitting in the jet bridge for what seemed like an eternity, it was announced that our plane was to be switched and that we were to board at another gate in an hour’s time. Who knew that barfing on a plane could put it out of commission? Well, now you know. The seat in row seventeen next to us on the new plane was empty.