United passenger Nicole Harper didn’t intend to write about her experiences on an April 9 flight, nor to post the story on Facebook. All she wanted was for someone in United’s customer service department to acknowledge what happened to her. But after enduring a humiliating experience during her United flight and receiving no acknowledgment – much less an apology – from the airline afterwards, she felt she had little choice but to make her embarrassing story public.
“United Airlines refuses to take my call,” Harper wrote. “Now I can’t sleep and just keep thinking about how wrong this is.”
Harper, who suffers from a medical condition known as overactive bladder, alerted flight attendants during final descent that she needed a trip to the lavatory. “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.
Refused permission to leave her seat before the captain turned off the Fasten Seatbelts sign, Harper had no choice but to urinate into the cup while remaining in her seat.
“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,” Harper wrote.” But the way I was treated by flight attendants afterwards was worse.”
Harper reports that flight attends shamed her by saying they would file a report on her actions and that she would have to speak to the pilot after landing. They told her they would also have to call a hazmat team to clean the row of seats where she was sitting. Harper, a nurse, said there was no mess to clean up.
“As an emergency room nurse I completely understand having a bad day on the job and having to deal with undesirable bodily fluids,” Harper posted on Facebook. “What I don’t understand is ZERO customer service. If I treated a patient this poorly I would surely have consequences.”
Reached by media, United issued a statement: “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 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.”