Smelly Passenger Kicked Off Plane

Man's body odor on an Air Canada Jazz flight overwhelmed his fellow passengers.

February 18, 2010, 10:30 AM

Feb. 18, 2010— -- Few people would argue that air travel doesn't stink on same days, but what about their fellow passengers?

Well, the smell of one passenger was so bad that he was apparently asked to leave a recent Air Canada regional airline flight.

The Air Canada Jazz flight from Charlottetown, on Prince Edward Island, was preparing for the two-hour flight to Montreal when passengers on the plane reportedly complained about the odor coming from one of their fellow travelers. The crew eventually decided to ask the man to leave the plane.

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"As an airline, the safety and comfort of our passengers and crew are our top priorities," Air Canada Jazz spokeswoman Manon Stuart said in an e-mail statement. "Therefore, any situation that compromises either their safety or comfort is taken seriously and in such circumstances the crew will act in the best interest of the majority of our passengers."

An Air Canada employee moved Penny Walsh of Charlottetown to another seat so she would not have to ride alongside the man who was giving off the unpleasant aroma.

"People were just mumbling and staring at him," Walsh told the Prince Edward Island Guardian, describing the man as unkempt. "The guy next to me said, 'It's brutal.'"

She said the incident delayed the flight by only 15 to 20 minutes.

"Kudos to the [Air Canada] staff because it's a very uncomfortable situation," she told the Guardian. "I honestly think in this situation, they handled it appropriately."

Reached on her cell phone today by ABC News, Walsh declined to be interviewed, saying that she didn't want more attention drawn to the man.

Stuart confirmed that a passenger was removed from the Feb. 6 afternoon flight but would not say exactly why the passenger was asked to leave, saying the airline "must respect the privacy of our passengers.

"Our crew dealt with the situation according to our standard operating procedures," she added.

The U.S. passenger was reportedly allowed to travel on a flight the following morning.

An Odoriferous Threat to Order?

Passengers are often asked to leave an aircraft if they are unruly, intoxicated or refuse to follow crew instructions. A series of passengers have also been asked recently to deplane because they were too fat to fit into their seats, the most recent being actor-director Kevin Smith. He was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight Saturday. Being too fat to fit into your seat not only creates a comfort issue for other passengers but also a safety concern.

As for having bad body odor, well, that just creates an uncomfortable situation for everybody trapped next to him or her and unable to open a window.

Air Canada Jazz's Stuart said that in some circumstances it may become necessary for the crew to remove passengers whose behavior is perceived to pose a threat to the safety or comfort of other customers, the crew or even the aircraft.

"They are professionals who are well-trained to handle challenging situations," she said. "It's important to understand that our crew members make every effort to resolve a situation before it becomes an issue."

As airplanes try to squeeze more money out of every flight, passengers are finding themselves cramped and having to interact with their fellow fliers more than ever before.

"Until recently, passengers had gotten accustomed to empty middle seats and vacant overhead storage, those days are over," said Rick Seaney, CEO of airfare-search site and an columnist.

"Airlines have spent the last few years adding hefty checked bag fees, trimming back flights and discounting tickets, filling planes to the gills with bags and bodies and making ample personal space a figment of years gone by. "

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