Kelly Dehn just endured a nightmare flight on Northwest Airlines. It wasn’t that her four-hour trip from Minneapolis to Orange County, Calif., lasted an extra hour because the aircraft had to be de-iced. It wasn’t even that she was three months pregnant. It was her mysterious seatmate.

From the beginning, my husband and I noticed a smell that appeared to be some sort of passed gas.

These passed-gas emissions occurred every few seconds for the duration of the flight. We tried to identify its source. It seemed like someone was regularly passing gas or that someone with a full colostomy bag was sitting in near us. However, it did not smell human because it was very sulfur-like. We tried to adjust the fan jets on us, but it did little to overcome the smell.

Soon we both developed headaches. As I have allergies (dust, cats, and dogs), my headache became a migraine headache. I thought it was due to the dust on the plane. Neither my husband nor I had ever seen such a cloud of dust as was circulating in the plane when the sun streamed in. It was like the cabin cleaners’ vacuums had no filters and just re-emitted the dust back into the air and onto the upholstery.

I had difficulty breathing due to my allergies and the severe pain I was in. I tried to help alleviate it by drinking a lot of water. At some point toward the end of the flight, I used the bathroom. When I returned, I tripped over the sweatshirt stuffed under the seat in front of my aisle-seated neighbor, revealing a cat cage! The smell must have been the cat’s diarrhea.

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  • Elliott

    Christopher Elliott has been called one of the world’s leading travel experts. But his focus isn’t on the destination, or ev…

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