A 27-year-old Frenchman has filed a discrimination lawsuit against American Airlines for kicking him off of a Dallas-bound plane in Paris, France. The Algerian-born passenger who “dreamed of visiting the U.S.” was kempt and sober; he also smelled strongly of cologne that he had sprayed on himself in the Duty Free shop in the airport. Because of his overpowering aroma, other passengers complained.
After getting up from his seat to use the restroom, the man was told by a flight attendant, “The crew and the passengers are complaining about the unpleasant odor you exude. The aircraft commander has a right to deny you a flight.” He was reportedly asked to “take a shower” and get off the plane.
I am the first person to say that I am easily annoyed by other passengers on a plane; I am only human. I try my best to keep my irritating thoughts to myself, but when I am sandwiched next to a person with a strong perfume, I teeter on the edge of sanity — and nausea.
The funny thing is that on most flights, crying babies get the bad rap. Just a few years ago, a toddler was kicked off a flight with his father because he was crying and would not stay buckled in his seat. As a parent, this is something I worry about when I plan to fly with my toddlers. No one wants to sit next to a crying baby — not even parents — but it’s impossible to predict how your kids will act on a plane.
Most of the time, parents spend the entire flight trying to keep their kids happy and quiet, while other annoying passengers run amok — like the Chatty Cathy, the person who falls asleep on your shoulder or the person whose overpowering perfume gives you a blinding headache.
It was unfair that this man was kicked off a flight just because he was a little heavy-handed with the cologne, but as a parent who has frequently been in the position of taming an unruly child in public, I appreciate that crying babies aren’t the only target on a plane.
The next time I fly, I promise to bring the iPad, headphones and snacks to shut my kids up if you promise to skip the cologne.
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