“I Had Never Seen So Much Blood”: Gruesome Discovery on a Flight

Feel Free To Share:

Jessica is a respected contributor to the Sampling America writing team, eloquently sharing tales of adventures across the country and beyond.

It’s not uncommon to find a bit of spilled soda or food crumbs on the floor or in your seat on an airplane. A passenger on a recent Air France flight, however, found a lot more than that.

Habib Battah, an investigative journalist and founder of Beirut Report, told USA Today that he had seen a lot of things in his life, but that “I had never seen so much blood in Beirut, honestly, in all those events.”

But what, exactly, was going on on his flight? Buckle your seat belt and put up your tray table: this story is quite a wild ride.

A Mid-Air Crime Scene?

Blood spatter
Image Credit: Canva.

The tale begins with Battah, who was traveling with his wife from Paris to Toronto with their two cats, who were tucked in safely beneath the seats in front of them. Suddenly, he began to smell a “manure smell.”

His first thought, understandably, was that one of the cats had had an accident, but when he leaned down to investigate, everything was fine inside their soft-side, backpack-like carriers. It was outside one of them, though, where the trouble began.

One of the carriers was wet, and he got a napkin from a flight attendant to wipe it off. When he pulled the wipe away, his heart dropped as he saw that it was “blood red.”

Was it really blood Battah and his cats were stepping on?

According to the flight attendant he asked, it was.

An Incident on a Previous Flight

Air France Plane
Image Credit: Canva.

According to Battah, the flight attendant off-handedly told him: “Oh, somebody actually hemorrhaged on the previous flight, so it must be that.”

Air France later released a statement that confirmed that there was indeed a customer on the flight just before that one, which went from Paris to Boston, who “became unwell.” The passenger did not have anything infectious and was not asked to isolate, although “passengers in the immediate vicinity of the customer were nevertheless moved for their own comfort.”

All of this, of course, was news to Battah, who had sat in that passenger’s seat — and who, unlike the passengers on the previous flight, was stuck there, since his own flight was completely full.

Two Different Stories

On board a flight
Image Credit: Canva.

According to Air France’s statement, “The crew immediately took action to clean the carpet and installed blankets on the ground to avoid any further contact with the stain, while assisting the passenger in the cleaning of his belongings, providing him with suitable equipment such as sterile gloves and disinfectant wipes.”

According to Battah, though, that’s not how it went down at all. “Nobody was really helping me,” he told the news outlet. He said he was handed some blankets, a couple of bottles of water, gloves, and some wet wipes to take care of the mess himself. He was also told to wash his hands, but that was about it.

He went on to say that, in the moment, he was more worried about the blood stains than the blood itself, but later began to worry about the fact that bodily fluids of that nature could be considered a biohazard — something that the flight’s crew definitely didn’t seem to care about.

But Wait, It Gets Worse

Disgusted man
Image Credit: Canva.

Three days later, once Battah had arrived at his destination and was most likely trying to put the whole incident behind him, he got a call from Air France. They told him that the bleeding passenger did not have any infectious diseases, so there was no need to worry about pathogens in the blood he may have touched.

But that wasn’t it. Then, according to Battah, “they just casually kind of said, ‘Oh, it was also feces.’”

The flight was given a deep clean once it returned to Boston, but many are asking why it wasn’t cleaned better before it took off again — or why that seat wasn’t blocked off if it was covered in blood and other unsavory substances.

To make it up to him, Air France made a public statement and offered Battah and his wife $500 for their trouble and disgust, but it wasn’t enough. Battah declined, as that was only 20% of their ticket price, and the mental toll it took on them was worth a lot more than that.

“I do feel like someone should be held accountable here,” he said, and many other passengers (and probably health professionals) can’t help but agree.

Leave a Comment