The Plane Passenger Who Suffered A Severe Case Of Diarrhea Deserves Our Compassion & Support — Not Unfair Exploitation & Cruel Comments

The unknown person was the subject of cruel remarks and jokes. However, they suffered a painful, and uncontrollable sickness.

Plane, passenger Jag_c2 / fizkes / Shutterstock

If you’re an avid social media user, you have most likely stumbled across video clips of an aisle on a Delta airline that is covered with paper towels, plastic bags, and smears of human excrement. 

The clips were recorded by passengers aboard Delta Flight 194 that departed from Atlanta, Georgia, and were en route to Barcelona, Spain on Friday, September 1, 2023.

While in the air, a passenger unfortunately suffered a severe case of diarrhea and could not make it to the restroom in time. Pilots ultimately made the decision to turn the flight around back to Atlanta after they declared the matter a “biohazard issue.” 


“This is a biohazard issue... You know, we’ve had a passenger who had diarrhea all the way through the airplane, so they want us to come back to Atlanta,” the pilot revealed to emergency dispatchers while in the air. 



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News of the flight quickly made waves across social media as the story continued to develop.

After the flight was back on the ground in Atlanta, passengers aboard hopped on social media platforms to recount the experience. “My partner was on that flight!” one user revealed on Twitter (now known as X). “It was pretty bad. It was dribbled down the aisle, smelled horrible.” 

Flight attendants and passengers even sprayed a vanilla scented-disinfectant spray throughout the aircraft to eliminate the smell. However, it allegedly only made it worse. 

As the ill passenger was taken off the plane by EMTs, other passengers were deplaned while the flight crew cleaned and replaced the soiled carpet in the aisle. Passengers were reboarded and the flights arrived in Barcelona eight hours after its scheduled arrival time. 

A Delta spokesperson released a statement regarding the incident on September 5, 2023. “Our teams worked as quickly and as safely as possible to get our customers to their final destinations. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans,” the statement read


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There was a lack of concern from the airline company regarding the situation.

While the airline company acknowledged those passengers who had their travel plans interfered with and addressed the inconveniences they faced, there appeared to be little concern or compassion for the passenger who experienced an uncontrollable medical emergency and had their accident exposed to the world. 

The identity of the passenger is still unknown and, truthfully, it is better off that way.

After several videos of their bowel movement were broadcasted on social media, some people are calling for the passenger to be placed on a no-fly list and have claimed that if they were in their shoes, they would likely never be able to show their face in public again.


Others expressed concern about their vacation plans, with one first-class passenger telling Daily Mail that she and her husband feared that they may miss their cruise ship departure. 

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But the passenger who experienced an uncontrollable medical emergency deserves compassion, not judgment.

As we throw around insensitive comments, many of us are forgetting that the unlucky person could have easily been one of us. Nobody is immune to a case of food poisoning, a stomach virus, or simply just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. 


Diarrhea is not exactly something we have control over and is a cause of fecal incontinence, otherwise known as the inability to hold in stool until you make it to a toilet. According to Cedars Sinai, medical experts believe that one in 12 adults face fecal incontinence, and people are more likely to experience it as they age.

In other words, the passenger did not purposely pass a bowel movement in the middle of the plane aisle. In fact, it is clearly evident that they tried their best to make it to the restroom before things took an unfortunate turn.

In addition to crippling stomach pain and soiled clothing, the passenger was also forced to face the wrath of their fellow fliers, some of whom may not have been so considerate. 

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As the embarrassed passenger had to walk back down the same aisle they had just unintentionally ruined, they were likely the recipient of glares from passengers holding their nostrils and gagging. It is unclear if any of their fellow passengers unblocked their noses and mouths for even a second to check in with the person and ask if they were okay. 

When our own plans are inconvenienced due to the direct actions of another person, intentional or not, we tend to forget that, like us, the other person is human and that stuff happens from time to time. Like their fellow passengers, the person who suffered a bout of diarrhea did not plan or anticipate it to happen and certainly never imagined they would be the cause of a flight diversion. 

While disappointment over a delayed vacation is valid, nobody, especially if they are ill, deserves to be the subject of cruel remarks or continuous stares. This person is likely scrolling through their phone from a hospital bed or at home recovering, horrified that their personal medical issue is now being shared online.

The best we can do is offer our support, empathy and well-wishes. 


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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.