EDMONTON—Modern air travel on low-cost airlines often means no frills, but an Edmonton woman who says she found blood on her tray table never expected that she’d be asked to clean it herself.
Jessica Starcheski was flying from Edmonton to Vancouver on Flair Airlines Friday night when she noticed red patches on the back of the seat in front of her. Starcheski, who was sitting in the middle seat, pulled out her tray table to discover drops of what appeared to be blood.
She said it looked as if someone had a nosebleed and called the flight attendant to ask if the table could be cleaned.
“She looked really shocked and kind of disgusted,” Starcheski said of the flight attendant’s reaction to the mess.
Starcheski expected to be moved from her seat, for the area to be cleaned and properly sanitized, after which she would return, but none of that happened.
“She ran away and came back with rubber gloves and gave me some wet naps,” Starcheski said, adding she knew the substance was blood, not only from the way it looked, but also because she said there were actual clots in it.
“Once I started cleaning, it smelled like pennies, you know how blood smells rusty,” she said. “It was pretty gross.”
While she was cleaning, a woman in the next seat advised her take a photo to show Flair Airlines what she had to deal with.
Starcheski posted the photo to Twitter on Sunday evening. “Fly @FlairAirlines and get to clean someone else’s blood yourself, for free!” she tweeted.
A number of people responded to her tweet expressing their disgust and sympathy. Some even shared their own experiences of having been in similar situations — with different fluids — and having been handed nothing more than wet wipes.
Starcheski said her experience and reading the comments on her social media feed roused her concern about the processes in place for how the Edmonton-based discount airline deals with waste materials and bodily fluids.
“Was that the only sanitary thing they have on the plane to clean things? That’s gross,” she said.
“How did they clean the bathrooms if something happened? What if someone threw up? Or did they have any processes and supplies for this?”
In a statement emailed to the Star Edmonton, Flair Airlines said after learning about the incident, they immediately reached out to Starcheski when she landed in Edmonton to “acknowledge the situation and offer our apologies.”
“We apologize for the unfortunate incident experienced by one of our passengers aboard a Flair Airlines flight… due to an oversight during our typical sanitation procedures and a miscommunication between flight attendants,” the email read.
“We are reviewing our procedures to prevent this from happening again.”
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Starcheski confirmed that a Flair representative was waiting for her at the airport when her return flight landed in Edmonton on Monday morning.
“I told her my concern for posting it was, why are the flight attendants doing this? Is there no proper supplies or proper processes?”
She said she was assured that they do have proper procedures and that her experience would be used as an example going forward.
On her return flight, Starcheski said her seat was clean.