Body odor — or as my prim and proper Mother would refer to it, “B.O.” — isn’t typically a topic to discuss in polite company. But when someone’s personal bouquet is so pungent that it forces a plane to make an emergency landing, you’ve got to make an exception to the rule.
It happened this week, on a Transavia flight from the Netherlands to the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. One male passenger smelled so foul — with a lingering, unwashed stench that another passenger aptly described as “unbearable” — that unfortunate fellow travelers on the plane began to vomit and faint. Flight attendants put the aromatic man in the bathroom, hoping to confine the smell and allow other passengers to recover from the onslaught, but it was no use. The flight crew decided the man had to be removed, the flight landed in the Portuguese city of Fargo, the offending passenger was removed by medical personnel, and the flight continued. It’s not clear what medical personnel did for — or to — the removed passenger, but presumably it involved some form of power-washing.
Transavia, speaking with a daintiness that Mom would have approved of, confirmed that the flight was diverted for “medical reasons.” The article linked above notes that this incident isn’t the first time this year that poor Transavia has had to deal with stench-related issues; in February, on a flight from Dubai to Amsterdam, one passenger’s flatulence was so extreme that a fistfight broke out in the passenger compartment and the pilot had to divert the flight to Vienna to stop the disturbance.
In my family, the kids were taught that you always want to be squeaky clean, completely deodorized, and at no risk of bodily emanations that could conceivably be offensive to even the most discerning society matron. Different cultures, of course, have different practices and different tolerances for the human aroma, but I’m not aware of any culture where it would be socially acceptable to board a plane emitting a stench so appalling that it causes people nearby to retch or lose consciousness. I’m just glad I wasn’t on that flight — and Mom wasn’t, either.