Flight diverted due to the unbearable stench of a passenger

I have been checking to see if anybody had talked about this here, but I haven’t seen any comments, soooo… opening this thread! :slight_smile:

This is a piece of news from a few days ago. A Transavia flight from the Canary Islands to Amsterdam had to divert to Faro (southern Portugal) due to the unbearable B.O. of a passenger, which apparently was of cosmic proportions and made other passengers sick.

The passenger in question was made to debark at Faro, and the plane went on to Amsterdam. It seems that, nonetheless, the person in question left a lingering “scent” in the aircraft.

To any of the resident pilots of this board… Have you had any experience ever that could be compared with this? :slight_smile:

Links to the news, in different publications:

SF Gate: Transavia Airlines plane forced to make emergency landing due to stinky passenger

Business Insider: Transavia Flight Made Emergency Landing, Blamed on Stinking Passenger

La Vanguardia: El hedor de un pasajero obliga a un avión a aterrizar de emergencia

(The “Vanguardia” link is in Spanish but includes a photo taken from inside the plane of the offending passenger being debarked at Faro).

I can’t believe they didn’t realize this was going to be a problem before the plane took off. Nobody caught a whiff as he was boarding? Nobody noticed the reek in the gate area?

If it was “Seinfeld”-level B.O. (“It’s an entity! It’s the Beast!”) they’re just going to have to junk the entire plane. They’ll never get the smell out.

Heh! I found my new favorite subheader in that La Vanguardia article: “La gente vomitaba.”

I had an an adult student who reeked of dirty lady parts. She was mid-40s and a working woman who looked clean and dressed professionally. She smelled so awful there was an 8’ radius of empty seats around her and meeting her in my office was torture – the smell would linger for hours, I went through a lot of Febreze that semester.

She also visibly sweated a lot, even in the AC’d classroom. I’m fairly certain she suffered from “fish odor syndrome”; given the care she took with her outward appearance it makes sense that it was due to a genetic disease and not careless hygiene. What a horrible condition to have:

SharkWife, a retired FDNY EMT, has some magnificent tales about bad smells encountered on the job.

Obviously, we would be remiss if we did not ask for some of those tales… If it were possible to have them, pretty please with sugar and cream on top? ^.^

In the deceased category, a 400lb woman lying on the floor and undiscovered for two weeks in a non air-conditioned Harlem apartment in July is the odiferous winner.

In the “kinda alive” category, the winner was a homeless addict/alcoholic whose foot was literally rotting off. Apparently the only veins he had left to shoot were in between his toes and he’d shoot up then walk around in filthy, wet socks and shoes (January in NYC). The ankle bone(s) were exposed, the remaining flesh was gangrenous, and there were sepsis lines all the way to his knee.

They had scooped the guy off the sidewalk because a 911 caller thought the guy was dead. He wasn’t, and peeled his shoe off in the ambulance to ask if Wife thought something was wrong with his foot(!) She says it was like the smell punched her in the face and she gagged and almost hurled. She lost track of the guy after dropping him at St. Vincent ER, but is pretty sure the gentleman is peglegging it these days (on Earth or, more likely, in Heaven).

And this, friends, is why Lovely Wife is in charge of dog barf and poop clean-up at our house! The person who only “almost” barfed at the smell of advanced gangrene is far more suited to this duty than the person who TOTALLY hurled when she sniffed a rotten milk carton (aka: me).

Maybe the Odiferous Passenger was this guy?

Do we know his username?

Odors on planes are to be expected.

Loaded Baby diapers.

Incontinent adults.

Unfortunate things happen during a flight. Most people don’t have a fresh change of clothes with them.

General BO because someone didn’t shower is different. That can and should be avoided.

My uncle was found dead in his no-AC Florida trailer after a week in July. The EMTs just cut the carpeting around him and carried him out in that. My other uncle took possession of the corpses wallet and wanted to give grandma a pic from it. But he had to get it laminated because the reek had permeated it.

Years ago I worked at a delivery company, and the dispatcher there had a stench that was simply unbelievable. He had his own room and we forced him to keep his door closed, because otherwise it would waft into the rest of the office. On the rare occasions I had to take something directly to him, I had to hold my breath or breathe through my mouth the entire time I interacted with him.

He was a normal-looking, if kinda hippy-looking, guy. Always wore sandals or went barefoot, and none of us were really certain he ever bathed.

I once had a professor in college who was from India, and I’m pretty sure he bathed once a month, whether he needed it or not.

He stank bad enough that you could smell him before you actually made it to his office, and being in his office with him was eye wateringly bad. As in, I only went once, and pretty much refused to go during office hours again, no matter how much trouble I was having.

While working retail, a customer came into the store accompanied by an eye-crossing stench that seemed to be a combination of body odor, urine, and cigarette smoke. Later, I found that that woman owned a small store, but it didn’t last long. I suspect no one wanted to take that stench home with them.

I worked in Vegas with a guy from a certain European country. Nice guy, but just didn’t bathe. Also, wore heavy wool stuff all the time. Never washed or changed it.

In Vegas. In Summer.

His funk was an absolute Force. A Presence. When he came around, it was a stupefying blast of pure olfactory assault.

Years and years and years ago, there was a reality-TV show about airline employees at various US airports, and in one case a manager had to deal with a passenger who stank. For reasons I’m not clear on, he allowed himself to be on-camera (I sure AF wouldn’t have), and he didn’t look unkempt, but for the fact that he could have stood to comb his hair. But apparently he reeked - which obviously didn’t come through on camera. The Southwest Airlines manager gave him some clothes from the employee uniform closet and directed him to the bathroom. I would have hated to be the employee in charge of that conversation.

We had a director in my company who just reeked. He didn’t last long, just a few months, but I swear the stench permeating his office lasted 6 months after he was gone.


I spent a few months working the front end of a local grocery store. Collecting handbaskets from the registers, corralling shopping carts from our lot, helping customers with their bags, etc.

An evidently homeless woman stopped by the store one afternoon and spent several minutes milling around the refrigerated section. That was one time when I was sure glad to work mostly outside! Even outside, my eyes were watering.

I had a housemate for a while who didn’t have a sense of smell, and apparently believed that BO was a myth and we were just making up this whole unpleasant smell thing. He’d shower, if you told him he needed to, after a coupla days when he had some free time anyway :rolleyes:

Luckily he spent a lot of time away, but the room would keep his stank for at least a week and you could tell he was back the moment you opened the front door by the stench increase. He wouldn’t have showered while he was away, regardless of how long that was.

I love English. We have “comb”, which comes from “Kamm”, the German noun for the same thing, and “unkempt”, which comes from “kämmen”, the German verb for combing your hair (with “un-” put in front of it for obvious reasons)… but can we be consistent? Nooooo, of course we can’t, this is English! :smiley:

That particular individual (and I notice that he got 84 “Likes”) has established that “our bodies clean themselves” and so he only bathes every few months or so. Apparently all the chemicals in cleaning products just ruin the natural oils in his skin. He only “smells” bad to other people (his quotes) because they’re apparently not used to the beauty of natural body smells (“natural” is all caps in the original).

I only have two questions:

  1. If our bodies “clean themselves”, why does he bother to bathe every few months? Why not just forget about it altogether? (Perhaps some of the 84 “Likes” have caught on to this idea, and will never bathe again.)

  2. If someone bathes only once every few months or so, and types on a keyboard connected to the Internet, is there any chance that such an intense concentration of cooties can be transmitted from that keyboard over the Internet, so that some of them come flying out of my screen?

I knew a math grad student whose body smelled like burning rubber. I felt sorry for the people who had to share an office with him.