In the spring of 2009, three of my friends (A, J, and K) and I decided to go on a cruise to the Bahamas together. We were excited to go have a wonderful time together. Because we live in Utah and the cruise left from Orlando, Florida, we knew we would have an entire day’s worth of air travel, including a layover. Our first flight went without incident. Hooray! We were halfway to Florida! After a short layover, we got on our flight to Orlando.
We were seated near the rear of the plane, with only two or three rows of seats behind us. A restroom and an area for the flight attendants was directly behind that. There were six seats in a row, with three on either side and the aisle in the middle. So, J, K, and I ended up on one side of the aisle, while A was on the other, seated next to two complete strangers. Directly behind J, K, and I was a woman (Mom), man (Dad), and baby. The woman’s mother (Grandma) was seated in the window seat across the aisle from Mom and Dad, with an empty seat in the middle and a man in the aisle seat (behind A). This is important for what happens later.
Dad and Baby were pretty calm and quiet during the flight. Mom and Grandma were a different story. Throughout the flight, Mom and Grandma passed Baby back and forth, with little consideration for the man in the aisle seat. (Mom was in the aisle seat as well.) Grandma also complained loudly several times about how much she hated the airline, how terrible their service was, and the terrible flights she’d been on with the airline. Well, if you hated them so much, why did you fly with them?
As usual, about fifteen to twenty minutes before we land, everyone is asked to return to their seats as we would be landing soon. At that moment, Grandma and Mom decide that Baby’s diaper needs to be changed, so Mom stands up to use the restroom in the back of the plane (as I said earlier, only two or three rows away.) The flight attendant politely asks her to please stay seated, as we are going to land soon. “But she needs to be changed!” Mom and Grandma complain. The flight attendant tells them, again politely, that it would need to wait until we land.
The plane lands, however, there is another plane at our gate, so we have to wait until it is done before we can disembark. The flight attendants ask us all to remain seated until we reach the gate. This makes perfect sense to me. If people are standing up and walking around, and then the plane all of sudden starts moving, someone could fall and get hurt. This request makes no sense to Mom and Grandma. They insist that they should be able to get up and change Baby. Baby, in the meantime, is fine – cooing, no crying, and certainly no smell of a poopy diaper. The flight attendants again repeat that everyone, including Mom and Grandma, need to stay seated until we reach our gate.
Grandma decides to take matters into her own hands. She takes Baby from Mom (over the poor man again), and changes the diaper in the empty seat next to her (again, poor man). Then, she takes the diaper and THROWS IT INTO THE AISLE! She doesn’t wrap it up or anything, just chucks it towards the back where the flight attendants are sitting. I am in the aisle seat across from my friend A, so we both get a pretty good look at what happens. We both kind of looked at each other with an appalled look on our faces and the question, “Did that really just happen?”
The flight attendant sees the diaper, of course, and picks it up with a paper towel. Thankfully, it is just wet, not poopy or anything. She walks up to Grandma and Mom’s aisle, holds it out to Grandma, and asks, “Did you just throw this?”
Grandma says, “Yes. It’s your job to pick up my trash.”
The flight attendant replies something along the lines of, “No, it’s my job to keep you safe. This is unsanitary! Why would you do something like that.”
Grandma says, “Well, it’s your fault. She [referring to Baby] needed to have her diaper changed.”
The flight attendant tells her that that was unacceptable behavior. Mom and Grandma then proceed to scream obscenities at the flight attendant for not letting them change the diaper. About that time, we’re finally able to taxi to our gate, and the flight attendant lets Mom and Grandma know that security would be escorting them off the plane.
My friends and I disembarked, and headed to the restroom, where several other women from our flight were. We couldn’t talk about anything else! It was just so unreal. As we went to get our baggage, we ran into one of the other flight attendants from our flight. We talked to her for a bit, as we were all headed in the same direction. She was as flabbergasted as we were. We apologized for Grandma and Mom’s terrible behavior because we felt so bad that they were treated that way. She was pretty upbeat as she replied, “Well, they won’t be flying [Airline] anytime soon.”
A, J, K, and I went on to have a wonderful time on our cruise. But anytime something didn’t go exactly as we had planned, we would say, “Well, I guess I’m going to have to throw a diaper now!” 0604-11