SEATTLE — A Seattle woman is seeking answers after she said she was harassed and threatened by a flight attendant over her child’s dirty diaper.
“It’s very frustrating, the whole situation is humiliating, degrading, discriminatory,” Farah Naz Khan told KIRO-7 as she stood on a sidewalk in her Seattle neighborhood Monday.
Just three days ago, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to return to Western Washington, after she said an airline employee threatened to put her on the ‘no fly list.’
Farah said it all started when her 23-month-old daughter soiled her diaper during a flight from Montana to Houston Friday morning.
She purchased the ticket through United Airlines flight, but this specific flight and aircraft was operated through one of United’s express carriers, Mesa Air Group.
“On the flight my daughter pooped, as babies do,” Khan said.
Khan said there were no changing stations in the front of the plane, so she went to the back. She changed her daughter’s diaper, placed the dirty one into a scented diaper disposal bag and then threw it away in the lavatory trash can.
Having done this several times, she believed she had disposed of it properly.
“The flight attendant in the (front) started yelling, ‘Did you just throw away a diaper in the back? You can’t do that, it’s a biohazard!’” Farah said as she reiterated what the flight attendant in her section had told her.
Khan said the flight attendant continued to ‘yell at’ and humiliate her – making matters worse, Khan said the flight attendant then made her dig the dirty diaper out of the garbage, which she described as one of her life’s most humiliating and degrading experiences.
“It’s absolutely disgusting, he didn’t apologize, even in the slightest,” Khan shook her head.
“I still inconvenienced him even though I dug through the bathroom trash in the middle of a pandemic,” she continued. “Pretty sure that was much more hazardous to my health than the diaper in the trash would have been to anybody else on the plane.”
Khan asked the other flight attendant on-board for a garbage bag so she could keep the soiled diaper at her feet for the remainder of the flight, ultimately disposing of it in the terminal.
The second flight attendant told Khan she had already disposed of the diaper properly, but when they tried to mediate the situation the first flight attendant told Khan, “I’m not going to engage with you.”
Khan was so upset by the entire ordeal she filed a customer service complaint with United while they were still in the terminal and thought “that would be it.”
But then, what started as a customer service issue, turned into a violation of privacy.
Three hours later, she received three calls from an unidentified 1-800 phone number.
“When I picked up, it was the same flight attendant saying I had been placed on the ‘do not fly list’ because of a biohazard incident,” said Khan.
Khan said the person on the other end of the line did not leave a message the first two times they called and only identified themselves as a United Airlines employee when she answered.
“I said, ‘If that’s true, I’m going to need to seek legal recourse because I already filed a customer service complaint about this incident,’” she explained. “When I said that, the tone completely changed of the person on the other end of the line from faking this threat about the no-fly list to just humiliating, degrading, and verbally harassing me and my family.”
Khan said the man on the phone began referring to her and her family as ‘you people.’
“He said, ‘You people bring your children everywhere, you people should just drive everywhere, don’t you all know that nobody wants to listen to your effing children?’”
Deeply offended, concerned for her privacy, and having already filed a formal complaint with the airline, Farah then launched a social media campaign, explaining the situation and asking others for help.
“I’m so sorry you had to endure this nightmare,” Khan, said as she read messages aloud from her iPhone.
“Wow, he needs to be fired, nobody deserves to be treated like that,” Khan continued to read from the list of hundreds of comments.
Khan said the airline quickly caught wind of the post and contacted her saying they were going to ‘escalate this within the proper channels.’
She did not hear from the airline again until Sunday, at that point the social media post had gained more steam.
“I got another call from United Airlines on Sunday, still no answers – how did he have my information? What other information did he have access to?” Khan said.
Khan said she is now seeking legal recourse and has already filed a report with the FAA.
Now, more than anything, she wants answers.
“If you throw out the anti-family, if you throw out the discrimination, if you boil this down even to a simple case of privacy violation, that in itself is incredibly egregious,” said Khan. “Accessing my personal information, to call me, threaten me, intimidate my family, verbally harass us… even without everything else, this is a horrific incident that I hope no one ever else has to go through.”
Farah was able to board her return flight to Seattle on Monday.
Mesa Air Group returned KIRO-7′s request for comment Tuesday morning stating, “The details as described by our customer do not meet the high standards that Mesa sets for our flight attendants and we are reviewing the matter.”
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