KANSAS CITY, Mo. >> In yet another horror story about the state of commercial aviation, a nurse from Kansas City says she was forced to pee into a cup in her seat because she was not allowed to use the plane’s lavatory.
Nicole Harper posted her account early Saturday on Facebook after, she says, she became frustrated at her inability to get anyone at United Airlines to acknowledge her complaint.
“United Airlines refuses to take my call, now I can’t sleep and just keep thinking about how wrong this is,” Harper wrote.
She encouraged her Facebook friends to share her story.
Harper said her experience happened the same day that 69-year-old David Dao was injured while being forced off a United flight that was overbooked. That incident happened April 9.
Harper said flight attendants would not allow her to get out of her seat and use the bathroom until the captain turned off the seat belt sign.
“After explaining that I have an overactive bladder and would either need to use the restroom or pee in a cup, I was handed a cup by flight attendants,” Harper said in her post.
“You would think peeing in a cup on an airplane in front of my family and strangers would be the worst part of this story. But the way I was treated by flight attendants afterwards was worse,” Harper wrote.
She said attendants “shamed her” by saying they would be filing a report and that she would have to speak to the pilot after landing. She said they also told her they would have to call a hazmat team to clean the row of seats where she had used the cup. Harper said there was no mess involved.
She said her subsequent efforts to reach the customer service department at United were unsuccessful.
“As an emergency room nurse I completely understand having a bad day on the job and having to deal with undesirable bodily fluids,” Harper wrote. “What I don’t understand is ZERO customer service. If I treated a patient this poorly I would surely have consequences.”
KCTV in Kansas City reported that United issued a statement in response to Harper’s allegations.
“Initial reports from our flight attendants indicate that Ms. Harper attempted to visit the lavatory on final descent and was instructed to remain seated with the seat belt fastened per FAA regulations,” the statement said. “The situation described by Ms. Harper and our employees is upsetting for all involved. We have reached out to Ms. Harper and our flying partner Mesa Airlines to better understand what occurred.”
Dao, who incurred a concussion and a broken nose when he was forcibly dragged from a United flight, later reached an undisclosed settlement with the airline.
“We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard Flight 3411,” the airline said in a statement. “We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do.”
There have been a string of incidents recently that have underscored the frustrations of flying. Before the Dao incident, United barred female passengers from boarding a flight saying the leggings they were wearing were inappropriate dress. United has also been under fire after a 3-foot rabbit died following a flight from London to Chicago.
More recently, a passenger who thought she was traveling from Newark, N.J., to Paris was mistakenly allowed to board a United flight to San Francisco.
Also recently, contract security agents at Kansas City International Airport were requiring passengers to remove all paper items from their carry-on bags. The Transportation Security Administration asked the contractor to cease that screening requirement because it was affecting operations.