JOHNSTON, Iowa -- An Iowa man is upset with American Airlines after he apparently sat on a urine-soaked seat during a recent flight.
Mike Feinberg, a sales representative for a medical supplies company, was on an American Airlines flight on Jan. 12 when he started to feel uncomfortable.
Feinberg asked himself, "What is this feeling?" And then realized, "Oh, I'm wet." By this time, Feinberg had been sitting in his first class seat for about an hour.
"I turn to the gentleman next to me... and I ask, 'Is your seat wet?' And he goes, 'No.' And I said, 'Mine is,'" Feinberg told WHO-TV.
It didn't take long for Feinberg to realize why his pants were wet.
"So, I just kind of reach down between my seat to see what's going on, and I go, 'It's urine,'" Feinberg said.
Feinberg, whose pants were soaked, told a flight attendant who offered him blankets and a plastic bag to sit on. She told him that an older passenger on a previous flight appeared to have trouble making it to the restroom and "must have missed once."
When he reached the gate three hours later, an American Airlines employee provided Feinberg a shower and a pair of pajamas. He was also given a $200 voucher valid for a future flight.
While Feinberg characterizes the pajamas and voucher as "an insult," he said the bigger issue is how American Airlines cleans its planes between flights and how the airline handles bio-hazardous waste.
"I don't know who was sitting there before. He could have been the nicest guy in the world, but could have Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, could have had Ebola. I don't know what the guy had," he said.
When Feinberg asked, American Airlines refused to detail its protocols for dealing with bio-hazardous waste, claiming it’s a privacy issue.
“Biohazard is not a privacy issue. It’s a policy. It’s a procedure,” he said.
When WHO-TV contacted American Airlines, a spokesperson said:
"Our aircraft cleaners are trained to look for visible items like trash left on the seats, floor and seatback pockets. We regret that the cleaners did not detect that this particular seat was wet. If our customer service agents or flight crew had been notified before the flight, we would have removed the affected seat cushion and replaced it with a new, clean one."
The airline also increased Feinberg's compensation to $1,000, refunded the 10,000 frequent flyer miles he'd used on the flight and paid for his $500 suit he was wearing on the flight.
The airline did not provide WHO-TV a copy of its policy regarding the disposal of bio-hazardous waste.
"The biggest issue is what are gonna do in the future when this happens to people?" asks Feinberg.
Feinberg knows what he'll do in the future.
"I'll check my seat first before I sit down. I don't want any more surprises," he said.