Blood on the plane floor: passenger’s gruesome discovery on Air France flight

Habib Battah Twitter @habib_b

When Habib Battah took his seat for a Air France flight from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ) on July 1, 2023, he never expected to discover a bloody, revolting mess.

As the Beirut-based journalist narrated on his Twitter account, one hour into his transatlantic flight he kept smelling “something gross” but couldn’t figure out what it was. 

Battah said that, when he looked down, he noticed a big stain that ran across a whole carpet of seats, which was wet when he touched it.

He claimed when he called the attention of a flight attendant, he was just given a shrug and some wipes.  

Image: Habib Battah Twitter @habib_b

“In my broken French, told her it smelled like merde (sh*t),” Battah tweeted.

“I’ve seen a few things in my life, but the horrific blood-soaked carpet on my Air France plane yesterday was on another level!” he said, noting that the wipes came up “blood red” when he tried to clean up the mess.

Image: Habib Battah Twitter @habib_b

Battah’s backpack, which was placed under a seat, also had its straps soaked in blood.. He then “got on his hands and knees” and proceeded to clean for half an hour.

Image: Habib Battah Twitter @habib_b

The flight attendants gave him more wipes and gloves, and casually mentioned that a passenger on the previous flight had experienced a hemorrhage. 

Battah also posted a video clip of him cleaning up the mess that was on his bag.

“The Air France staff crowded around, shocked because they claimed a cleaning crew had removed the seats after the sick passenger incident, but apparently not cleaned the floor,” Battah said.

According to Battah, one of the cabin crew members said that a passenger on the previous flight had internal bleeding and infection. 

Alarmed, Battah tagged France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) and The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, asking if he and other passengers could have been exposed to disease due to the previous flight’s passenger.

He also tagged Air France and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to advise whether he and other passengers might have been exposed to hazardous medical and biological waste. 

The flight’s chief attendant also told him that the incident involving the sick passenger occurred on June 29, 2023 on a flight from Paris to Boston, meaning that the aircraft had flown another flight prior to Battah’s..

Battah said that the airline eventually offered him and his traveling companions bottled water and placed two blankets between them and the blood stain for the remainder of the flight, which took over seven more hours.  “Also they threw in an extra pack of wipes. ‘Taking Elegance to New Heights’ according to their bio,” Battah said, referring to Air France’s latest slogan.

Air France’s statement

Air France issued a statement to CNN and confirmed that a passenger had indeed been unwell on a June 29, 2023 flight from Paris to Boston and was treated by medics on arrival.

“As per procedure in this type of situation, a complete clean-up of the area was requested and the row of seats was made unavailable on the return flight [from Boston to Paris],” the statement said.

The statement continued: “A customer traveling on the next flight from Paris (CDG) to Toronto (YYZ) reported residual traces of blood on the floor, soiling his personal belongings. The crew immediately assisted him in cleaning his belongings, providing him with suitable equipment such as sterile gloves and disinfectant wipes.

Air France said that it was not possible to move Battah and his companion/s because the flight was full. 

“An internal investigation has been launched to understand the reasons for this situation.”

Air France said it “understands and regrets the inconvenience caused by this situation” and that it was in touch with Battah, though “the risk of exposure to residual traces of blood on the carpet is low, if not non-existent”.

In a later tweet, Battah said that doctors disagree that the exposure is low.  “Air France told CNN that the blood and feces I sat in was a ‘low to nonexistent’ risk. Doctors disagree. In a hospital setting this would’ve been treated as contamination and a biohazard…The plane should have been taken out of service until properly cleaned,” he tweeted

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