What happens when a passenger throws up

I walked through the curtains on the way to the Qantas aircraft bathroom and there before me was a man dripping in vomit. He was sitting on the seat reserved for stewards on takeoff and landing, and he had lumpy orange stuff dripping from his eyebrows, his elbows and his chin. It was also splattered all over his t-shirt and the front of his pants. I took all this in for about a second and then turned and fled to the rear of the cabin to the galley, where four of the crew were enjoying a cup of coffee between cabin services, after air turbulence had made serving meals a challenge. I was closely followed by a stench.

“I’m really sorry to disturb you… um… but a man has just thrown up all over himself near the toilets.”

And this is what happens when a passenger throws up: They put down their coffees and jumped into action like a HazMat crew. Out came the elbow length plastic gloves, aprons, face masks, sheets of plastic and a powder to kill the odour. One steward shook his head in disbelief after viewing the scene, which I thought was rather restrained. Fellow traveller Kevin Moloney dubbed the guy Mr Bundy and Fanta, because it smelled as though he’d been drinking Bundaberg Rum and Fanta in large quantities before the flight.

Miraculously, the crew cleaned him up, and the floor and seats, so that when we landed and disembarked, the cabin smelled just fine and you couldn’t tell that anything had happened. Heroism award to the Qantas crew. I wouldn’t have their jobs for 10 million air points.

Not all the passengers noticed the drama. One of our group, Cynthia, SLEPT through the whole thing.

I have other stories about flights on Singapore Airlines and Emirates, and a ferry ride in Greece from the island of Paros to Milos, which I dubbed The Vomit Express, but they’ll keep.


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