With so many horror stories coming out of the woodwork, great discernment is required in determining which tales will pass the smell test. Today’s story: a woman is attacking United Airlines for allegedly forcing her to pee in a cup on Mesa-operated Houston to Kansas City flight.
Nicole Harper shares her story on Facebook. Here’s part of it–
While allowing other passengers to get up and use the restroom on a seemingly uneventful flight, United Airlines crew wouldn’t allow me to get up and use the restroom until the pilot turned off the seat belt sign. After explaining that I have an overactive bladder and would either need to use the restroom or pee in a cup, I was handed a cup by flight attendants. Bad enough? No, crew then escorted me to the restroom (now it’s safe to get out of my seat), shaming me down the aisle while other passengers overlooked. The flight attendants treated me like I had committed a crime, stating they would be filing a report, calling in the hazmat team to clean the entire row (let me mention there was no mess involved) and told me I would need to talk with the pilot after the flight!
She claims this incident occurred 30 minutes into the flight.
United Disagrees With Her Account
United’s initial statement, however, tells a different story–
Customer safety is always our first priority. Initial reports from the Mesa Airlines flight attendants indicate that Ms. Harper attempted to visit the lavatory on final descent and was instructed to remain seated with the seat belt fastened per FAA regulations. The situation as described by Ms. Harper and our employees is upsetting for all involved. We have reached out to Ms. Harper and our flying partner Mesa Airlines to better understand what occurred.
You can hear her story in her own words here. But since I cannot embed that video…here’s another news clip that summarizes the incident:
Which Timeline is Accurate?
The timeline of the occurrence is absolutely essential. IAH-MCI is 2hrs. That means there is no way this could have happened both 30 minutes into the flight and while the plane was descending.
I am much more sympahtic to Harper if this happened 30 minutes after takeoff rather than during “final descent”.
Harper is right to wonder about a double standard:
They were absolutely horrible to us the rest of the flight! And to top it all off, once on our final descent… a gentlemen got up from first class (yes the seat belt sign was on, and the plane was flipping tilted) walked right by a smiling flight attendant and entered the bathroom. What!?!?!
Perhaps that is the key, though. The man in first class just got up and used the restroom. Harper asked. When you ask and the seatbelt sign is on, FAs are required to “advise” you to remain seated. Sometimes (as long as it is not during taxi, takeoff and landing) it is best just to go.
It sounds like the problem here is not permission to use the restroom or even the cups, but the FAs ridicule of Harper after the fact.
We’ll see if we hear any more about this, but more bad news for United…